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Chiropractic Care for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome: OTZ Technique
By Dr. Dean Collins, Edmonton Chiropractor

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (Adhesive Capsulitis) is a very debilitating condition involving intense pain in the shoulder and a significant loss of range of motion and the ability to use the arm.  Patients who have frozen shoulder will also suffer from a significant loss of sleep because of the intense pain.  The condition can last from 5 months up to 3 years or more.

If you do a web search on frozen shoulder you will find its cause is unknown.  Reputable websites like the Mayo Clinic suggest an association between Frozen Shoulder Syndrome and a recent surgery, a past injury, recent shoulder immobilization due to an injury or surgery, thyroid problems, cardiovascular problems, Diabetes Mellitus, and Parkinson’s disease.  Recently, the OTZ Health Education Systems, founded by Dr. Francis Murphy, offers a completely different explanation on why frozen shoulder occurs.

OTZ teaches a chiropractic technique that uses a unique analysis and adjustment of the joint articulation between the skull and the first vertebrae in the neck. Chiropractic is based on the principle that spinal misalignments (subluxations) interfere with the vital nerve flow to and from the brain.  This results in a decline in health as the body can not function and heal optimally.  Chiropractors, by adjusting the spine, restore mobility and alignment to the spine and optimize nerve and brain function so that nerve flow is restored throughout your whole system.  Literally, Chiropractors help you turn your power back on and light up your brain!  There are many ways to adjust the spine and all have their merits.  OTZ, however, makes a specific adjustment to the joint articulation between the skull and first vertebrae in the neck and often has the dramatic effect of resolving Frozen Shoulder quickly.  Clinical neurology professor Dr. Michael Hall at Parker University in Dallas has shed some light on why this specific adjustment is working so well.  It appears that the OTZ Method stimulates nerves originating in the brainstem.  In the case of Frozen Shoulder, he thinks the spinal accessory nerve (cranial nerve XI) is being stimulated, which is allowing the muscles that control the scapula (wing blade) to work properly.  This in turn helps normalize movement patterns of the shoulder so that full range of motion is restored.

Although more research may need to be done to appease the masses, outcomes from applying this adjustment are very encouraging.  Besides the numerous patients I have personally witnessed improve clinically because of this adjustment, there has been a research study published in the Chiropractic Journal of Medicine in December of 2012.  50 cases were treated and followed over an 11 to 51 day period.  Of the 50 cases, 16 resolved completely (100% improvement), 25 showed 75% to 90% improvement, 8 showed 50% to 75% improvement, and 1 showed 0% to 50% improvement.  You can also refer to the following website for actual patient outcome videos and testimonials:

Besides helping frozen shoulder, Dr. Murphy and other OTZ providers have applied the OTZ technique and have found clinical success with conditions such as Bell’s Palsy, Trigeminal Neuralgia, various types of headaches, smell and taste dysfunctions, and other brainstem manifestations.

  1. Chiropractic management of frozen shoulder syndrome using a novel technique: a retrospective case series of 50 patients.  Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, Volume 11, Issue 4 , Pages 267-272, December 2012


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