Surgery Is Not the Only Option
Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert
Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney
I was at my sailing club and a man was sitting watching the water, rubbing his painful shoulder. I asked him what was wrong and he said he had a sore shoulder for the past three months. He told me he desperately wanted to find some pain relief. He loves to sail and this sore shoulder pain was preventing him from going out on the water. He’d already been to a massage therapist, a physical therapist, and a chiropractor. He finally went to an orthopedic surgeon and was told that surgery was the only way to get relief from his painful shoulder. However, he had decided that he didn’t want to take that path…yet.
Why Muscles Can Cause a Painful Shoulder
I use an analogy that makes it clear why muscle spasms in your shoulder will cause joint pain. If you pull your hair, your scalp will hurt. But, you don’t need to massage your scalp or take aspirin for your headache, and you definitely don’t need brain surgery. You simply need to let go of your hair!
Your shoulder has more muscle attachments than any joint in your body.Each muscle pulls your shoulder in a different direction. As any of the muscles get tight it puts pressure on the bone. Your painful shoulder is the end result – just like pulling your hair hurts your head.
To get relief all you need to do is release the tension in the muscles.
Stretching WON’T Help Ease a Painful Shoulder!
It is important to untie the knots (spasms) in the muscles before stretching. Think of what happens if you take a 12″ length of rope, tie enough knots in it so it is 11″ long, and then try to stretch it back to 12″ without first untying the knots. This is what will happen to your muscle fibers if you stretch without first releasing the spasms.
I’ve worked for years with people who not only have sore shoulder pain, but also have pain in every joint. Frequently pain is caused by repetitive muscle strain while working or playing sports and it needs to be released. Working with athletes it was vital to teach them how to do self-treatments they could use during a race or competition. And my other clients have found self-treatments give them permanent relief from aches and pains.
This has led to several books and DVD programs, including Focused Flexibility Training. On one DVD I demonstrate how to self-treat every muscle, from your head to foot. And then, on two DVDs (1 Upper Body and 1 Lower Body) Ana Johnson, a fantastic yoga instructor, leads you through self-treating the muscles you will be stretching followed by a 30-minute yoga program. It works to quickly eliminate a painful shoulder, as well as pain and stiffness throughout your body.
Focused Flexibility Training has a foundation of self-treatments that come from my book, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living. The exciting part is people from all over the world have confirmed that the treatments really work!
There are several treatments for sore shoulder pain. Each addresses a different group of muscles that move your shoulder and arm. There are uncountable motions you make every day without even thinking about it, and each muscle can be strained.
Treatment for a Painful Shoulder
The photo to the left show you how to treat your infraspinatus muscle. This muscle brings your shoulder back, like you’re taking a tennis serve. When your Infraspinatus muscle is in spasm, it causes shoulder pain as you try to bring your arms forward.
Place the Perfect Ball as shown in the picture, and lean your weight into the ball. Look for the “hot spot,” which will be tender. As you lean into the ball take the pressure off, and then lean again. You’ll find the painful shoulder becoming less and less painful each time you again add pressure.
Move the ball to different areas of your shoulder, finding the various painful points. Each one is a spasm that is causing your sore shoulder pain. You can enhance this treatment by slowly drawing your arm across your body while you are still pressing into the ball. Since the spasms have been released, this movement will safely stretch the muscle fibers. As you release each spasm, and then stretch, you’ll find pain relief and you’ll know how to stop pain quickly and easily should it return.
As for the man mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I taught him how to do the self-treatments. I’m happy to say that today he told me he slept through the night for the first time in weeks. He’s getting better every time he does the self-treatments and he’s back to sailing again. That is so fulfilling — I LOVE my work!
With some knowledge of how to find spasms, how to self-treat them, and how to stretch properly, you can Stop Pain FAST! This, of course, goes for a painful shoulder as well.
Wishing you well,
Julie Donnelly is a Deep Muscle Massage Therapist with 20 years of experience specializing in the treatment of chronic joint pain and sports injuries. She has worked extensively with elite athletes and patients who have been unsuccessful at finding relief through the more conventional therapies.
She has been widely published, both on – and off – line, in magazines, newsletters, and newspapers around the country. She is also often chosen to speak at national conventions, medical schools, and health facilities nationwide.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.