Here is an interesting case that I had recently. A delightful lady came to see me in the office complaining of left shoulder pain. She had a mastectomy and since then had been unable to lift her left arm without severe pain. She had limited range of motion as well, as she could not move the arm more than half way from her side without being limited by pain. She could not rotate her arm behind her back, and had to use her shoulder accessory muscles to use the arm.

It seemed she had developed an adhesive capsulitis in the shoulder, commonly called frozen shoulder over the last 2 years post operatively. I explained that we could try QT before going to an orthopedist to have surgery done to clean out the shoulder joint as she had failed physical therapy and nonsteroidal medications. We worked for 20 minutes and she had no pain on movement, but still had limited range of motion. She was so excited about the lack of pain that she scheduled another appointment to see what else could be done. Next time we worked for 30 minutes. I had her standing up with her arm extended and fingertips touching the wall. Using the classic physical therapy exercise I had her walk her fingers up the wall to the point of pain while I ran the energy. She was only to move the arm upward if there was a cessation of pain. After 30 minutes she was able to move her arm above the shoulder, and even up to about 120 degrees of abduction. Even more interesting was that she could now reach around her back (rotate the arm) enough to touch her bra (had not been able to do this simple task). I saw her back in follow-up one month later for another problem, and her range of motion was the same, and again without pain. I asked her if she wanted to try and get the full range of motion back, but she said no, she was happy the way this turned out. This was an interesting lesson to me that not everyone needs to have a complete healing to feel whole again.

Dr. B (Bridget Bongaard, M.D.)
Ardsley Medical Clinic, Harrisburg, NC.
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