Massage, Bodywork, Health and Fitness

Shoulder Pain

Massage therapy can play an important role in healing shoulder pain.

It seems that specific problems come in waves and right now we are seeing a lot of clients with shoulders that are in pain. Massage helps to relieve the tension in the muscles that articulate the shoulder joint. The supraspinatus is an important muscle for your massage therapist to work on if you are experiencing pain or weakness in lifting the arm.

I have had clients who had frozen shoulder or unexplained shoulder pain get relief with massage treatments. One of my favorite stories is of a client who had a work related overuse injury to her shoulder. She was unable to move her arm or even give someone a hug. It took a lot of time and unwinding the tension and scar tissue throughout her shoulder, pectoralis major/minor, arm, back and neck but she was able to gain full function of her arm with no pain at all. Another great example is someone who broke their humerus (upper arm bone) in 7 places. He had fully healed and been under doctors care seen physical therapists and acupuncturists but no one could get to the root of the excruciating pain he was having. It was quite a project getting through the layers of overly tight muscles but we got rid of the pain when we got the muscles of the posterior rotator cuff to release. I love stories like these they are the most gratifying part of our job.

Wikipedia has a great pics and descriptions of the origin, insertion and movement of the supraspinatus: The supraspinatus (plural supraspinati, from Latin supraspinatus) is a relatively small muscle of the upper arm that runs from the supraspinatous fossa superior of the scapula (shoulder blade) to the greater tubercle of the humerus. It is one of the four rotator cuff muscles and also abducts the arm at the shoulder. The spine of the scapula separates the supraspinatus muscle from the infraspinatus muscle, which originates below the spine.

supraspinatus muscle

Getting the supraspinatus the traps and the pectoralis muscles in the front can really help balance the shoulder out and get it free from pain.

The other important part of healing the shoulder is proper exercises. Some time with a physical therapist would be a great idea if you have experienced pain.  A good exercise routine for the shoulders is also very important for the rest of us to keep our shoulders healthy as well.

I found the most wonderful stretches and strengthening exercises from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons give them a try! My favorites are the pendulum which is great for warming up the joint and increasing lubrication and the internal and external rotation strength exercises. Also important is to stretch the front of the pecs such as the doorway stretch which we wrote about in this post.

The shoulder is a very complex joint. Take very good care of them and get good massage therapy when the muscle tension starts to set in because preventing shoulder pain is far better then having to treat it.







Massage Works Los Gatos brings massage therapy that does just that, it works, to help you get relief from chronic or acute pain as well as stress and strain. Our mission is to help active women and men incorporate massage and a healthy lifestyle into their lives to live with positive energy and vitality.

1 Comment

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