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Elements Client Profile: Frozen Shoulder

Elements Jun 13, 2014

Jim Leverette is a typical 53-year-old professional who works at a desk throughout the day and stays active by enjoying the occasional game of golf. His relatively regular routine, though, was drastically affected 2 ½ years ago when he put on a shirt to start his day and noticed a stiffness in his shoulder area.

At first, he didn’t think much of it, but as the pain steadily became worse and his muscles started locking down, he soon reached a point over the course of a few months where he lost all mobility in his shoulder.

“I was in excruciating pain and I felt crippled,” reflects Jim. “When my hand was hanging freely by my side, I literally couldn’t touch the back of my pants pocket. I didn’t want to be crippled for life so I had to do something.”   

After seeing his primary care physician for the severe pain, Jim was diagnosed withfrozen shoulder and referred to three specialists, two of which recommended immediate surgery. Medically speaking, frozen shoulder is known as adhesive capsulitis. Jim learned from his physicians that it’s a condition characterized by severe stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and may resolve within one or two years, but there aren’t any guarantees. Many who have suffered from this type of health issue are left with a limited range of motion and the condition may even spread to the other side of the body as well.

“The first thing that the two specialists wanted to do is bring me right in for a surgical procedure,” explains Jim. “I looked up the procedure online and afterseeing the surgery on YouTube, I really didn’t want to go that route. Luckily, the third doctor I saw recommended therapeutic massage, time and golf. I chose to follow this wise physician’s guidance.”

After opting out of surgery, Jim’s wife referred him to Tracey Tousley, massage therapist at Elements West Plano. Jim attributes getting connected with Tracey to divine intervention since Tracey has a successful track record of unlocking several dozen frozen shoulders in her career. He refers to the studio as his “Temple of Transformation and Healing.”

From the first session, Jim felt like he was in good hands with Tracey as his massage treatment provider. She focused Jim’s sessions on breaking down built-up scar tissue in the shoulder’s joint area with trigger point therapy and a mix of other focused massage modalities.

“My clients are typically ones with serious chronic neuromuscular pain that medicine doesn’t help with,” says Tracey. “I have a steady flow of frozen shoulder clients and I’ve been able to unlock almost every frozen shoulder I’ve worked on. I pretty much do six modalities on each person I see, but I always customize each massage to the specific body type, tissue type and needs of my clients.

“A lot of what I was doing with Jim was movements that Jim’s physical therapist had told him to do, but he didn’t want to do it on his own because it hurt too much. It was more tolerable for Jim if I was doing the movements for him because I was releasing trigger points and smoothing it out with massage strokes.”

Jim describes Tracey’s approach as "medical massage therapy with a purpose" as she uses multiple modalities during a therapeutic massage session to help her clients find relief from chronic, neuromuscular pain. In Jim’s case, Tracey used a combination of cranial sacral, trigger point therapy, neuromuscular therapy and myofascial release therapy in his weekly massage sessions.

After 1 ½ years of consistently focused massage therapy sessions, Tracey has helped unlock Jim’s shoulder. He is now almost 100 percent pain-free, playing golf and even doing Pilates with his wife to continue his shoulder treatment plan of breaking up scar tissue and improving mobility. 

“Tracey is truly amazing,” says Jim. “She healed my frozen shoulder and was the key difference in delivering a successful outcome through the use of therapeutic massage. During my time with Tracey, I have seen a remarkable increase in my health and quality of life. I am grateful for her dedication, service and contribution as a massage therapist.

"Tracey embodies the ideals of selfless service, integrity, generous compassion, refreshing humility, and a sincere desire to make the world a better place for all.”

“Jim has followed his treatment plan to a ‘T’ and it’s so nice to see his results,” responds Tracey. “There are no guarantees with frozen shoulder, but there are options. If you’re willing to be disciplined and dedicated to regular massage, we can help you get the results you need. All Jim had to do was show up each week and lay on the table. From there, I was able to unlock his shoulder and help relieve his pain.”

Looking back, Jim is thankful that he chose the non-surgical treatment option for healing his frozen shoulder condition. 

“Given the positive outcome I have experienced with Tracey and Elements Massage, clearly, for me, this has been a far better path to have followed than if I would have gone through an expensive shoulder surgery and rehab to fix my shoulder,” shares Jim.

As Jim continues to progress in his treatment plan, he’s enjoying getting back into his regular routine and lifestyle. He is golfing, hunting and still working at a desk. But he also has adopted regular massage therapy sessions into his life every other week to maintain his health, wellness and now pain-free lifestyle.

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Elements MassageElm Grove
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