If you’ve ever had an accident or injury which turned into a case of “frozen shoulder” you know it can be frustrating and painful.

This condition results in a limited range of movement in the shoulders and arms. Everything feels as the name suggests, “frozen”. This can also develop into “adhesive capsulitis,” which is best handled through medical interventions.

From a somatic perspective, while the frozen shoulder assumes that the shoulder itself is the problem, there is a wider, more comprehensive issue:

What we think of as “the shoulder” is really connected deeply to the functioning and freedom of the rib cage.

When the rib cage doesn’t move freely – which can occur when habituated to any of the three stress reflexes – it inhibits movement of the scapulae (shoulder blades).

The key, therefore, is restoring full movement to both the rib cage and the scapulae.

Most of the muscles that move the shoulder blade and rotator cuff attach into the center of the body to help us hunch the shoulders, round forward, pull back, or reach up.

Jan Berson, ESMT, shares how she resolved her frozen shoulder through pandiculation and Somatic Movement:

“I realized that the “frozen” was coming from every vector of movement – neck, chest, ribs, armpit (down to my pelvis), shoulder blades (down to my pelvis) as well as the rotator cuff functionality.” She adds that movements that “focused on shoulder blades were also useful to keep me sensing the movements…but in the long run it was the “center” movements that have yielded true “healing.”

So if you are experiencing a frozen shoulder, remember to zoom out and consider your whole system, making sure that your somatic movement practice is well rounded.