Sarah Oliver Osteopathy, 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) 07708 130 319 (Fulham)

An Exercise for Painful Acute Frozen Shoulder

In the early stages of a frozen shoulder, you may find your arm ‘catching’ on certain movements and giving you a sudden burst of sharp pain.  The muscles at the top of your arm may go into spasm for a short time.


Luckily there’s an easy way to control that pain.

Shoulder Spasm Exercise from


1. Rest the hand on a table or chair back palm up.
2. Allow the weight of the arm to rest on the hand, causing slight compression at the shoulder joint.
3. Breathe deeply and slowly. It helps to apply the pressure as you breathe out.
4. It is as though you were about to lean your body weight on your hand, while only applying a fraction of the force.


This will help your muscles to relax and the spasm to pass.  Remember to keep your arm as mobile as possible during day to day activities.


If you’d like treatment for Frozen Shoulder, call me on 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Fulham)


What Causes Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen Shoulder, or Adhesive Capsulitis, is characterised by severe pain and stiffness in the shoulder. It typically appears during middle age, with 3-5% of 40-70 year olds suffering with the condition.


Frozen Shoulder lasts on average for 18-30 months, usually starting with a period of intense pain and sudden loss of movement.  There is then a period without pain but with marked stiffness.  Eventually movement returns and the shoulder goes back to normal.


The cause of Frozen Shoulder is unclear, even after over 100 years of research!

However, we do know that frozen shoulder may be triggered by an injury, even a minor one, to the shoulder.  This can include:

- Falling on to the shoulder or outstretched arm.

- Fracture of the arm or shoulder.

- Damage to the rotator cuff muscles or biceps muscle.

- Reaching behind you, such as to the back seat of your car.

- Surgery to the shoulder, particularly if the shoulder was immobilised.

There are also factors which increase your risk of getting frozen shoulder.  These include:

- Medical conditions such as: Diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Thyroid disorders.

- Middle Age

- Menopause



If you think you may have Frozen Shoulder,  take the online symptom test.

I use Niel-Asher Technique to treat shoulder problems and have worked on many cases of frozen shoulder.

To book an appointment call 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Fulham).

Weekend Reads: August. X-Ray Gifs, Bananas and Avocado Chocolate Mousse

It’s the last weekend of August so it’s time for my monthly links round up.  Enjoy!

Paracetamol  could be no better than placebo for back pain.


wrist xray

These Xray gifs are AMAZING.  I wish I’d had them when I was a student.

I’ve said before that carrying heavy luggage is a big cause of back pain, so I was very excited to see this life hack.   The easiest way to pack one night’s worth of clothes.

I made this avocado chocolate mousse and it was not only very easy but delicious!

10 interesting banana facts

I love this scarf; it is printed with a slice of human bone tissue.

Low vitamin D levels may increase your risk of dementia.

The Telegraph interviewed an osteopath this month.  I don’t agree with everything she says but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.



Maybe this seal needs some osteopathic  treatment after being jumped on by a penguin? (Via Cheezburger)


What have you been reading this month?



Healthy App Review: Moves, Pedometer and Exercise Tracker

There are so many health and fitness apps available that it is tricky to choose between them.  Every month I’ll b testing one app and giving you my honest opinion on it.

App Name: Moves

Platform: Android 4 and up (Google Play), iOS (App Store)

Cost: Free!

Size: 2.6m

Tested on: Google Nexus 5 running Android 4.4.4

What they say:

Moves automatically records any walking, cycling, and running you do. You can view the distance, duration, steps, and calories* burned for each activity. The app is always on, so there’s no need to start and stop it. Just keep your phone in your pocket or your bag.

Moves app screen shot

What I say:

Moves is basically a fancy pedometer.

I’ve been testing Moves for just under a week and it has been surprisingly useful.  I consider myself to be quite an active person but the app has revealed that actually I am quite lazy!  It has definitely encouraged me to plan more exercise in to my day, and I’ve enjoyed seeing my step count creep up.   It seems to be pretty accurate; other than missing the end of one run it looks to have recorded everything.  I’d like to know how it compares to other trackers and pedometers.


+ Automatically recognises your activity.

+ Always on so you can’t forget to record.

+ Label places so you can track usual routes easily.

+ Very easy to use – you don’t even need to sign up, no confusing menus or extensive options.  It just does what it says it’ll do.

+ Pretty to look at and easy to understand.  Displays your day as a timeline, with total steps and activity time totalled in a colourful circle at the top.

+ Displays your journeys on a map.  You can review them to work out new routes.

+ Doesn’t take up much space on your phone.  The app is currently using only 7.36 mb on my phone.

+ Easily share your activity on other apps.  Moves will prepare an image of your daily summary for you to share with your friends.


- Only understands walking, running and cycling (on Android) so no good for recording other forms of exercise.

- Always on so maybe a bit stalkerish!

- Might drain your battery, but I’ve not really noticed much of a difference.

- Bulkier than a wearable pedometer/activity tracker.

- I don’t usually walk around indoors with my phone in my pocket.  If you do, well done.  If not, you will miss out on some activity.


The bottom line: Recommended. I really like Moves and will be keeping it for the time being, but I’ll look at testing some alternatives.

Download it from Google Play or App Store.

Treatment for Shoulder Pain: New Research on NAT

New research has shown promising results for osteopathic treatment of frozen shoulder, a major cause of shoulder pain and stiffness.


Niel Asher Technique (NAT) is a form of manual therapy for shoulder pain.  It is based on trigger point and deep massage style techniques and was developed by osteopath Simeon Niel-Asher in 1997.

There are currently about 5,000 NAT practitioners world wide, one of which is me!

adhesive capsulitis causing shoulder pain

In a recent study, 154 frozen shoulder sufferers were treated by 4 independent  NAT therapists.  During the course of treatment the patients showed a significant improvement in shoulder movement (in flexion and abduction) and a significant reduction in pain levels.

On average the participants had 7 sessions of treatment over an 11 week period, demonstrating a much quicker recovery than in an average frozen shoulder sufferer.


Restore shoulder movement with NAT in Walthamstow

Photo Credit: Muffet via Compfight cc

Frozen Shoulder is a relatively common shoulder condition, affecting 3-5% of 40-70 year olds.  It is characterised by severe pain and stiffness in the shoulder.   Frozen shoulder is usually a self limiting condition, typically lasting for 18-30 months.

Various treatment options are available, including surgery, but to date few have been shown to be effective.



Want to know more?

Do you have frozen shoulder? Take the online symptom test.

Read the abstract of the study on the IJOM website.

Learn about NAT on the official website.

*Book an appointment with me for frozen shoulder treatment.  Call 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Fulham).*

Stretch: Supine Spinal Twist

This is a very nice stretch for loosening the whole spine, but particularly the low back.  It is important to take this nice and slowly.  You may not feel a lot at first, but this is a powerful stretch and you could hurt yourself if you try and force this movement.

loosen your back with a spinal twist stretch

1. Lay on your back.

2. Bend both knees up and gently lower them down to your right.

3. Place your right hand on your knee and press down towards the floor.

4. Turn your head towards the left.

5. Stretch your left arm out to your left.

6. Rest in this position for 30 seconds.

7. Slowly turn your head and legs back to a neutral position.

8. Repeat in the opposite direction.

9. Perform 3 times, once a day.


Keep breathing normally while you stretch. Do not hold your breath.

Stretch gently and slowly. You should be able to feel a stretching sensation but it should not hurt.

If a stretch becomes painful, stop immediately and seek advice from your therapist.

Only perform stretches which have been prescribed or approved by a qualified individual such as your GP, physiotherapist or osteopath.  This information is provided for reference only.



Download a pdf of this stretch ▶


*If you suffer with back pain and would like professional osteopathic treatment, call me on 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Fulham).*