Shoulder injuries are a common complaint, and there are a wide variety of causes. At my Eastbourne clinic I often see at least one of the types below daily, and see a great response to Sports Massage Therapy.
Common injuries are easily treated
A shoulder injury can happen at any time. As Eastbourne has a competition pool, lawn tennis club and busy working community, the incidences are high. Whether you are pushing a lawn mower, lifting boxes or paddling a canoe, the shoulder joint is vulnerable to damage or injury.
Massage can bring relief
Sports Massage Therapy gives good results with most shoulder injuries, using myofascial techniques to mobilise the body’s connective tissues and break down fibrous adhesions.
This smooths and lengthens muscle fibres damaged during the injury, promoting good healing conditions in order to bring the muscles back to full functioning capacity.
Alongside this, swelling and inflammation are reduced.
Deep fibrous tissue adhesions and tendon pathologies respond well to a variety of Sports Massage techniques.
A couple of assessments can be made to see where the root cause of the pain is, and to work out what has happened. These include;
- Postural check (relevant to the shoulder injury)
- Range of movement test
- Check strength / weakness in the rotator cuff.
- Check surrounding muscle tone for spasms, hardness and imbalance.
Types of shoulder injury
Some of the most common shoulder injuries have specific names such as:
Frozen Shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
Characterised by chronic pain, especially at night, this can result from trauma to the area. Range of motion is limited due to the shoulder capsule and surrounding tissues of the Glenohumeral joint becoming inflamed. Responds well to massage therapy although can be painful to begin with.
Rotator cuff tear
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles of the upper arm attached to the bones by ligaments acting to keep the shoulder together. They allow the arm to rotate and be lifted up and out. Symptoms include difficulty and pain performing normal shoulder movements. The shoulder may look high up or forward compared to the other (misshapen), and may feel weak doing daily tasks. Mild tears respond well to the release of the surrounding muscles and fibrous adhesions using Sports Massage Therapy.
Post-Surgery Mobilization, e.g. Acromion/ Clavicular repairs
Some sudden severe injuries require surgical intervention to join severed tendons back together. During this surgery, the surrounding tissues can become stretched or damaged and some scar tissue is the result. To protect the joint, the body can go into ‘lock down’ where we feel unable to use the arm and shoulder and hold it close to the body.
Recently an Eastbourne gentleman came for Sports Massage to mobilise and release surrounding soft tissue. With some encouragement to use the shoulder normally, his confidence grew and range of motion quickly improved.
Sporting Hazards, e.g.swimmer’s shoulder/ thrower’s shoulder
Impingement Syndrome – During repetitive sports like swimming or bowling, the surrounding tendons can become squeezes as they pass through a narrow bony ‘sub-acromial’ space. Repetitive pinching can irritate the tendons and cause them to become inflamed and thickened, which makes things worse as there is very little space and they can become impinged further.
The pain comes on gradually at the front and side of the shoulder joint. When swimming or taking the arm across the body. Impingement responds well to Sports Massage Therapy alongside some swimming technique changes and healing time.
Posterior Deltoid Strain
The deltoid is a large muscle on the back of the shoulder. It lifts the arm up and backwards (extension) My guests from the Eastbourne racket clubs are familiar with this one.
Contributing factors can be; tightness and restriction in the upper back, which can spread across the scapula and into the posterior deltoid. During a sudden lift or smash with a racket, fibres of the deltoid are pushed to their limits and can tear, resulting in pain and restriction. Myofascial techniques used to stretch out the fibres work very well, and can alleviate a lot of the initial pain.
Pectoralis Minor (pecs-across the chest into the armpit)
Resulting in protracted or rounded shoulders this is one of the most common Shoulder Injuries that we see among our Eastbourne guests. This is classed as a shoulder injury, as dysfunction in this muscle can have a negative effect on the surrounding rotator cuff muscles. All the time the ‘pecs’ are weak and underused, the opposing rhomboid and trapezius (upper back) muscles become overworked, and are more likely to get injured.
Release of the Pectoralis Minor muscle during Sports Massage, followed by strengthening the opposing muscles, is very effective in improving posture and limiting adhesions and strains in the rotator cuff.
For more information for managing your shoulder pain follow this link to a previous blog that we have written. As I said before exercises are very important and different exercises are introduced at different stages of recovery.
For a look at what to expect from treatment read a patient’s case study with rotator-cuff treatment here.
To find out if we can help you, make an appointment to see me by calling Lushington Chiropractic on 01323722499.
Want to find out more about Shoulder pain and the rotator cuff?
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and want to find out more about shoulder pain and the rotator cuff, then please check out one of our other blogs on the shoulder joint below.
By James Revell
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