At Just Knead It our goal is to inspire you to look after yourself now, so you can continue to enjoy all that life has to offer into the future. Being proactive with your shoulder pain and tightness is particularly important as treatment and rehabilitation from injury can be extensive, expensive and time-consuming. We want to give you some useful information to help you make informed choices and understand why it is so important to get on top of shoulder pain and tightness early.
What are Common Causes of Shoulder Pain and Tightness.
It is important to discern the underlying causes of your shoulder pain and tightness. As Remedial Massage and Myotherapists we are constantly looking into WHY the pain and/ or tightness is there in the first place as well as the symptoms you are currently experiencing.
You shoulder is a complex set of joints, nerves, and muscles that all work together to create stability and movement of the body. To avoid pain and tightness it is important to have a balance between mobility and strength in the area. Your shoulder is influenced by posture, your chest muscles, thoracic spine and neck. If one or more of these areas isn't functioning properly, you get a break down in the kinetic chain which is where pain, tightness and injury can occur.
The key is to work out which link/s in the chain aren't functioning properly and creating a plan of attack to improve their function. Your remedial massage or myotherapist will perform a range of testing including range of movement, strength and orthopaedic testing to understand what is going on with the area and identify contributing factors such a flexibility, joint stiffness, underlying pathologies, muscle weakness or over recruitment, as well as factors of everyday life.
There are many common causes of shoulder pain. Often there are several pieces of the puzzle that need to be addressed to decrease pain and tightness. Some of the common causes can be:
Muscle Weakness Shoulder stability and rotator cuff strength are essential to avoid shoulder pain, tightness and injury. If you do not have the strength in these stabilising muscles it puts additional pressure through the joints and soft tissue, which can cause tightness, stiffness, pain and/or injury to the area.
Neck Stiffness Sometimes there is an underlying joint pathology associated with shoulder pain. What can happen is one more more joints in the neck become stiff or sore. This can causes the nerves that innervate the shoulder to become irritated and affect the shoulder. Assessing the areas above and below the shoulder is important when addressing shoulder pain and/or tightness.
Poor Posture Poor posture is a huge cause of shoulder pain that we see in our massage clinic. Sitting in poor posture for long periods of time put changes away your humerus (upper arm bone) sits in the shoulder joint. Poor posture can also lengthen your traps and posterior thoracic muscles which can cause pain and tightness. Having a remedial massage therapist identify whether or not you need to make a change to your posture is essential to reduce the risk of shoulder injury and treat the initial cause of the problem.
Over use, gym and everyday life jobs! Progressive overload plays a huge role in shoulder tightness and injury. Often we dive back into sport or a heavy day of house jobs underestimating the affect it will have on our body. If you jump into a heavy load of training, excessive lifting (at home or in the gym!) these muscles fatigue become susceptible to pain, tightness and/or injury. Being mindful of getting back into training slowly, using good lifting technique and taking regular breaks is essential to avoid shoulder pain.
Rotator Cuff and Posterior Joint Capsule Tightness Your rotator cuff are are group of muscles that help the shoulder to move in the joint as well as giving it stability. They also form part of the joint capsule that holds the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) in the joint socket. If these muscles become too tight they can alter the mechanical function of the joint causing pain, and changes in range of motion. Loosening off this area with joint mobilisations, deep tissue massage and triggers can help to relieve shoulder pain and tightness.
Bursitis, Bony Spurs and Tendonopathies These are a group of conditions that can cause shoulder pain. If these are not addressed they can cause you significant pain, have long term affects and need significant treatment. There are a certain set of characteristics that these types of conditions present with. Having a remedial massage therapist or myotherapist who understands what to look for and who can refer you on when necessary is essential to ensure you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Poor Technique At Just Knead It we see a lot of different sports. Having a therapist who knows your sport is essential to understand all pieces of the puzzle. If you have poor technique when you lift weights, don't have the correct sequencing when you row, have a poor swimming technique this can cause shoulder pain. Making sure that technique is not a contributing factor to your lower back pain is essential to get you on the mend and keep you that way.
How we use massage and myotherapy to help shoulder pain.
The first thing we need to identify is whether or not we can help. As remedial massage therapists and myotherapists it is our job to make sure we get you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible. Sometimes that means referring you on. We have a network of highly experienced health professionals who we can send you to. We make sure we pick someone who is an expert in the area we believe needs to be treated but also someone we believe you will connect with. We can then work with that health professional to create your a team approach to treatment, with a multimodality plan of attack. Our goal is to get you on the mend as quickly as possible.
Once we have identified if we can help and what could possibly be causing the pain or tightness we create a plan of attack and discuss it with you. We base our treatment on your needs and every treatment is slightly different. We retest as we go to ensure that we are creating a change and are on track to help you to feel better.
Some of the treatment technique we use to treat shoulder conditions:
Neural glides to help relieve nerve tension along the nerve pathways of the neck and shoulder .
Trigger point therapy to your rotator cuff, lats, pecs, traps and additional shoulder muscles.
Strengthening exercises for your shoulder and/ or to help improve posture and shoulder position.
Joint mobilisations for your thoracic spine, neck and/or shoulder.
Stretching of your neck, shoulder and or/neck.
Muscle energy techniques (MET's) which aim to affect the joints.
Myofascial Release (MFR) Fascia is a whole topic in itself. Often tightness in the fascia of the body can impact the shoulder. The technique involves loosening off the fascia that connects and is around all muscles of the body. It can be painful but is quite effective.
Dry Needling of muscles we have identified could be impacting the shoulder due to tightness.
Cupping. Cupping is a technique that involves placing cups on areas off the body and vacuuming out the air from the cup. This causes the tissue within the cup to be drawn up into it. This increases tension in those tissues that can affect the muscle tightness, blood flow and fascia.
If you have shoulder pain or tightness and would like us to have a look at it. Please give us a call or book in online with one of our friendly team of massage therapists and myotherapists.