Ah, the shoulder! This wonderful part of our anatomy allows us to do many wonderful things. It also works very hard!! Pushing, pulling, lifting….well, everything. Shoulder pain is one of the chief complaints we hear from clients. Whether it is a repetitive movement injury, an accident or simply stress.
The shoulder is made up of so many moving parts, it would be a ten page newsletter to cover them all. Plus, the wonderful Latin names of all the muscles would make it almost unbearable to read. So, for that reason, we will keep things streamlined!
The shoulder blade(the scapula), is a large, somewhat flat bone that floats over the rib cage on the upper posterior(back) section of the back. With muscles attaching at almost every point on its border, it is pivotal-literally- to the arm moving. It also has a muscle on the underside (the subscapularis) that when it is tight or inflamed, makes raising and lowering the arm difficult and painful. During our sessions we coax this muscle into releasing. This one is a bit tricky, for a few reasons. One, it is difficult to access, if not near impossible. Being almost completely covered by the scapula itself, we have found that manipulating the shoulder blade up, is the simplest way to ease it into releasing. That brings up the fact that it usually doesn’t like being rushed. So you may feel your therapist slowing down and easing up on the pressure when they are working this area. They may also use a small bolster to aid in this. As with any technique, if this is uncomfortable, please let them know!
In addition to the shoulder blade, the clavicle (collar bone) and humerus (long bone of the upper arm) make up some of the hard structures of the shoulder joint. These hard structures are the basis for all the tendon, ligament and muscle attachments for the shoulder and surrounding area. So it’s easy to see how they all work together to move the arm. However, it’s also easy to see how when one area is injured or weak, that the others pick up the slack; thus causing a muscle to work in a way it isn’t designed to.
We have really only scratched the surface of all the shoulder does, and in subsequent newsletters we will touch on some of the more common injuries and structures of the shoulder.
Dean, Danielle, Angela LMTs
Ashley, Office Manager
Massage should not be construed as a substitute for medical examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Please seek advice from your physician or other qualified medical professional for any mental or physical ailment. Massage therapists are not qualified to perform spinal or skeletal adjustments, diagnose, prescribe, or treat any physical or mental illness, and nothing said in the course of these newsletters or subsequent sessions given should not be construed as such. Because massage should not be performed under certain medical conditions, please consult your primary care giver before receiving massage.