How Physical Therapy and Sports Massage can help resolve Shoulder Pain.

Shoulder pain is reported to be prominent in approximately 20% of the general population. Shoulder impingement is the most prevalent of all main shoulder issues and occurs in approximately 40 to 60 percent of all shoulder problems, including dislocations. Many shoulder issues are of a degenerative nature, which means that correct exercises regarding the shoulder is of paramount importance.

Sports massage, together with corrective exercises are highly effective in both preventing and treating/correcting shoulder pain, injury and dysfunction.

Shoulder tightness, pain, injury and discomfort are a common reason why people come to see me. It is important to resolve shoulder issues quickly because of the compensatory way the human body alters its way of functioning, and not always for the better. As well as pain issues, clients often come to see me because of shoulder posture issues such as protracted scapula, internal rotation of the humerus, winged scapula and elevated shoulder.

The following is an example of a client who came to see me with shoulder pain. This had stopped him weight training, cycling and doing most things which involved raising his arms.

John is in his 60’s, retired and enjoys weight training and cycling as well as travelling. He relayed to me that his shoulder problems began whilst on holiday 1 month previously when he was weight training, specifically doing pressing/pushing movements. It was the day after when he couldn’t raise his arms without severe pain in his shoulders. He couldn’t sleep much because of the pain, and he was becoming increasingly concerned at how it was inhibiting him.

When I first saw John, it was clear that he was in pain, his body and shoulders were in a forward posture and he walked with an awkwardness and tenseness about him. After carrying out a wide range of sports massage and orthopaedic testing, it seemed that John has strained rotator cuff muscles on both sides, specifically the supraspinatus muscle which runs along the of the top of the shoulder. On this first session I used ultrasound followed by light massage in order to relax the tissues and to investigate further what was happening.

During the following 3 sessions I worked deeper with the contracted injured tissue together with mobility and stretching in order to heal and restore normal function to the muscular tissues. Initially I also used k-taping in order to help reduce pain, stabilise and retrain John shoulder muscles.
Now that the tissues were healing and mobility increasing, the next phase was to begin strengthening the shoulder area, and so I taught and gave John a prescribed corrective exercise strategy that he was to do at home 3 times per week.

John then went on holiday to warmer climates during the winter months, continued with his corrective exercise routine and reported to me that the pain was gone and that he was enjoying exercising and getting stronger.

In summary, from the many cases of shoulder injuries that I have encountered, it is important for people to get the correct advice, particularly exercise advice as a way of preventing shoulder injuries.

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