Shoulder pain can occur for a number of reasons. When it does, it can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. Most of these shoulder pains can be helped with massage therapy.
Reasons for shoulder pain
Almost anything ending in ‘-itis’ can be the cause of shoulder pain: arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, and osteoarthritis are a few of them. Other more common causes of shoulder pain include:
1. Brachial plexis injury – The brachial plexis is the nerve network extending from the spine to the shoulder. When these nerves are damaged by being stretched, compressed or torn, a brachial plexis injury results.
2. Broken arm – Not only can a shoulder injury occur with a broken arm, but having to have the broken arm in a specific position during healing can cause the shoulder to freeze and be painful.
3. Dislocated shoulder – When the bone in your upper arm comes out of its cup-like socket, this is a dislocated shoulder.
4. Frozen shoulder – Signs of a frozen shoulder include pain and stiffness in the shoulder that are usually caused by lack of use of an arm, and improve with range of motion exercises and cortisone injections.
5. Impingement of the shoulder – This is a very common cause of shoulder pain. It occurs in a lot in people who play sports on the weekends, and those who do repetitive overhead movements. It happens when the rotator cuff is accidentally pinched by the humerus and the scapula.
6. Sprains and Strain – When ligaments are stretched or torn, a sprain results. Ligaments are bands of tissue connecting two bones together. When muscles or tendons are stretched, it is called a strain. Tendons connect your muscles to your shoulder bones.
How massage therapy helps with shoulder pain
A massage therapist can help any shoulder pain condition that does not require surgery. Massage therapy is not a cure for any of these conditions, but it will help you establish a more normal movement in your shoulder. It relieves the underlying strain and stress on your tendons and muscles. It also helps with the tension that most of us carry around that makes the pain worse.
A shoulder massage can:
• Use trigger points to decrease your pain
• Loosen muscles that have shortened due to pain tension and increase your range of motion
• Stretch your shoulder joint gently, increasing your range of motion
• Break down scarred muscle tissue around your shoulder so it can be offloaded by your body
• Encourage proper shoulder motion
• Increase circulation to enhance healing
Trigger points are an under-diagnosed cause of shoulder pain. Little muscle knots called trigger points result when the tissue that covers the muscles (myofascia) is stressed or traumatized creating tears that adhere together. These trigger points irritate the muscles, causing pain and interfering with the correct working of the muscles. Massage therapy can break up these adhesions and relieve the pain.
Massage therapy is an excellent way to relieve your neck and shoulder pain. With many of us sitting at computers all day, neck and shoulder pain is a given.