L, from Stockport, had a keyhole shoulder surgery several months ago because of recurrent shoulder dislocation. The surgery went well. His right shoulder stays in its place, which is bliss for him considering his shoulder could come out with no reason in the past and quite frequently. Everything seems good except he can’t lift his right arm forward and upward to full term and without pain, the same goes with lifting the arm sideways, let alone moving the arm behind the back. Since after the surgery, he has seen a physiotherapist for a while, but it hasn’t made any improvement. He likes exercise, kickboxing in particular. This has made him miserable.

When I saw him, he got about 50% of flexion and abduction, about 30% of internal rotation and adduction (reaching the scapula on the other side). He couldn’t move his arm in any direction without pain. He had tenderness on his deltoid and scapula and also tension around neck. I used points on his limbs and moxa on his right shoulder area. When he saw his physiotherapist during the week, she was surprised at his improvement, “what have you done this week?” “ACUPUNCTURE!” he said.

When I assessed him, he could lift his arm forward and upward to full (the same as his left side) without pain, and the same with lifting his arm sideways as well. He could move his arm behind back more, increased from about 30% to 50%. The pain on his deltoid and scapula has improved, but is still there. It is time to tackle this.

He was happy, “I have made more progress in a week than what I had in the past a few months!”

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Postoperative Shoulder Pain