Frozen shoulder - client story

Address the deeper 'why' behind shoulder pain and immobility

My client had struggled with a frozen shoulder for three years. The movement of her arm behind or out to the side was reduced – and painful.  The pain and restriction would come and go, sometimes fading for weeks and then returning out of the blue. It was always worse at night and this made finding a comfy sleeping position tricky at times. She had tried physiotherapy, which relieved her symptoms, but nothing so far had permanently helped – until we looked deeper and addressed the ‘why’.

The world on our shoulders

Most of us know that feeling of carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. Too much responsibility is often connected to shoulder issues.

During an experience, we may felt or thought the following…

  • I need to do more for my loved ones, or at work. 
  • I’m not doing enough. 
  • I’m not good enough or strong enough. 
  • I need to put others first. 

These can create a conflict in us that leads to a constant state of push-pull tension in our shoulders. We may want to do or give more, yet also know that this would be at our own expense. Our shoulder can get locked in the chronic tension of pushing and pulling at the same time.

Holding it all together

My client’s shoulder was in a state of chronic tension – and it was not interested in being physically coaxed into letting go. Instead, the answer came from within her. Her shoulder believed it had a good reason to hold on. It was likely to keep holding tight until she connected to it, learned why and addressed the underlying root cause.

For my client she had learned from a young age to put others first. In close relationships, she had willingly and unknowingly taken on more than her share of responsibility. Deep down she believed things would fall apart if she didn’t single-handedly hold it all together. Over time, the balance of responsibility would always shift more and more onto her shoulders. 

But three years ago when her pain flared up, she had been beginning to develop a sense of boundaries and was starting to dislike this imbalance of responsibility. The more she tried to rebalance how much responsibility she took, the more  guilt and fear came – as well as resistance in her shoulder.  Part of her believed she was “heartless” and that she “should” always be the one to make everything OK.  Taking responsibility was an ingrained survival habit she learned at a young age. As she began to loosen this pattern, three years ago, her shoulder entered a state of conflict – pushing and pulling in two different directions, creating chronic tension, pain and immobility.

Letting go of carrying everything

As my client was gently guided to listen, feel, see and connect with why her shoulder she discovered why her shoulder was so stuck. We used evidence based techniques to address these long held habitual patterns of thinking and feeling. She released the fear and guilt. 

Her thoughts about needing to carry everything then had the space to transform into something more empowering. She realised that it wasn’t loving to try to carry others, that she was disempowering them.  She saw that she could love and support loved ones without taking more than her share of responsibility. She stepped back and from that day forward and her shoulder felt safe to let go. 

Her pain, fear, guilt and limiting beliefs all healed – and her relationships continue to heal and rebalance as she develops a deeper connection with herself. 

The root cause of chronic shoulder pain

If you are experiencing recurring or stubborn shoulder pain or immobility, there is likely to be a deeper cause. There may be something in your life that is creating a constant state of tension. 

What in your life do you feel carry a lot of responsibility? What do you reach for yet also feel compelled to push away?

When we listen and ask why, our shoulder may have some lessons for us. It  

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