Case histories

From a frozen shoulder to getting back on the golf course

Client: Cathy F

Challenge: Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

Number of sessions: 10

Outcome: Full recovery

Cathy came to the Wells Clinic three months after her GP had diagnosed adhesive capsulitis.

She was experiencing pain in her shoulder which was causing disturbed sleep, and her range of motion was severely reduced. Her doctor offered her the choice of cortisol injections or surgery followed by two years of recovery, but she was keen to find a faster, less intrusive alternative solution.

Cathy had already tried acupuncture before the formal diagnosis without significant improvement and came to the clinic to explore the myofascial release approach.

The body always tries to keep us moving as much a possible, and in Cathy’s case was making multiple compensatory moves to allow her to move her arm and shoulder — albeit in a very restricted way. Her neck muscles were also involved and she was suffering further pain because they had become so tight.

To get her moving properly again, we scheduled in a series of weekly treatments at the clinic. The goal was to combine myofascial release techniques with deactivating trigger points using hot and cold stones.

I worked not only on her affected shoulder muscles — especially the rotator cuffs — but also on the arm and pectoralis muscles and the shoulder blade.

My goal was to break down the muscle memory by releasing the fascia surrounding the muscles, ligaments and bones in and around her shoulder. We needed to stop the muscles going into protective spasm every time they felt a twinge, a vicious circle that’s often hard to fix.

I also gave Cathy a self-treatment programme to complete between clinic sessions encompassing specific movements, trigger point deactivation, and some specific biomechanical exercises and movements.

The main objective of using biomechanical movements is to activate specific muscles that have gone into spasm and allowed another muscle to do their job. These are highly specific movements designed just to activate the targeted muscle.

For Cathy to regain full use of her shoulder it was vital that she completed these exercises between treatments to encourage the release and reactivation of her muscles. They were key to getting her muscles to perform their roles correctly again and breaking down the muscle memory cycle of pain.

I also showed her how to make day-to-day activities easier to manage and control without discomfort. For example, she began filling the kettle with just enough water to make a cup of tea so her arm could gradually become accustomed to carrying some weight. I demonstrated each of the activities, so she knew exactly what to do as it is always easier to learn and remember once you have had the experience. I provide illustrated cards for my clients to take home which show exactly how to perform the self-treatment, exercise, or stretch I’ve recommended.

Some conditions respond best with a multi-disciplinary approach, and that includes frozen shoulder. So as well as having myofascial and trigger point release massage sessions at the clinic and committing to my self-treatment programme, Cathy used yoga and worked with a personal trainer to hasten her recovery.

Within four months of first coming to the Wells Clinic and after 10 sessions, Cathy had full movement in her shoulder once more and was completely pain-free.

Cathy F. recommends the Wells Clinic…

My GP offered cortisol injections, surgery and pain killers to resolve my frozen shoulder, but none of them appealed as I knew I had to address the underlying cause. After 10 sessions at the Wells Clinic, my shoulder was 90% improved and after two months of following the exercises I was given, I progressed to a 99% recovery.

Cathy’s personal programmes are constantly adjusted to reflect progress and setbacks, and it is important to follow her advice between treatments to get the maximum benefit.

I’m now back playing golf, I’m back in the gym, and I have a full range of movement with no pain.    I cannot recommend her approach highly enough.

From disabling pain to climbing Annapurna

Carmen came to the clinic suffering from frequent headaches, pain in her shoulders, and a forearm injury that stopped her lifting her arm beyond her shoulder. After a series of regular sessions, the headaches had gone, her shoulder was greatly improved and full movement was restored to her arm. As a result she was able to achieve one of her bucket list goals — climbing Annapurna (the world’s tenth highest mountain), carrying her own backpack in difficult conditions and reaching a height of 5416m on the Thorung La pass.

A full recovery after suffering car crash whiplash

Claire was already being treated at the clinic for lower back pain when she was unfortunately involved in a car accident and suffered severe whiplash injuries. She was unable to turn her head and was experiencing extreme pain in her neck and shoulders. It took two sessions to restore full movement to her neck and a few more before her recovery was complete. She has suffered no lasting ill effects from whiplash.

Laptop ‘tennis elbow’ resolved with mix of treatments

Katy sustained a ‘tennis elbow’ repetitive strain injury (RSI), along with neck and shoulder tension, after using a laptop without proper forearm support. She was finding driving painful and had been advised to switch to an automatic. Painkillers made no difference, and nor did resting. After a series of regular sessions, complemented by a specific exercise programme that Katy followed at home between treatments, we were able to resolve all the issues and prevent a recurrence. By taking on board our recommendations for safe laptop use, she can now work for long periods without any discomfort and still drives her manual car.

John O’Groats to Land’s End challenge a success

Alan first sought relief from lower back problems, but then began experiencing a lot of leg stiffness and pain as he cranked up the training for his latest challenge — cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End. He had two family members lined up as his back-up crew, but no one on hand to keep his legs in good shape. So we put in place a JOGLE survival plan! Before he left, we drew up a programme for him to follow on the road comprising a mix of self-treatment — including the use of a small massage ball — and stretching. With these techniques, Alan was able to cycle 70 miles a day and complete the journey without incident despite some atrocious weather. He’s now working on his next challenge, with the clinic on board as his ‘training partner’.


RICE to the rescue after dog yanks on his lead

A dog tugging hard on his lead left Debbie with the front of her shoulder aching badly. It felt a lot like the pain she had suffered years earlier with whiplash, and she tried adapting some stretching exercises she had been given at the time. But to no avail — neither the exercises nor painkillers brought any relief, so she sought advice from the Wells Clinic. She was urged to apply a soothing gel strip such as Kool ‘n’ Soothe to her shoulder and to adopt the RICE recovery approach — Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Debbie’s discomfort was immediately reduced and she was close to pain-free after a single session at the clinic a week later.