Painful Shoulder Relief

Written by Dr. Steve Chaney on . Posted in Shoulder Joint Pain, Shoulder Pain

Surgery Is Not the Only Option

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

painful shoulderI 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!

pull hairYour 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.

flexibility dvdI’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.

pain free dvdFocused 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

shoulder pain treatmentThe 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

julie donnellyAbout The Author

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.

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Latest Article

How to Choose the Right Pillow

Posted April 17, 2018 by Dr. Steve Chaney

Wake Up Each Morning Pain Free

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

 

how to choose the right pillow without headachesThe way you sleep is often a key to discovering the cause of headaches and more. If you wake up with neck pain, a headache, or you suffer from ringing in your ears, dizziness, or ear pain, there is a good possibility that it may be caused by the way you are sleeping. Your pillow may be the culprit.  But if you need to know how to choose the right pillow for you, it’s easy.   It just takes a little “investigation.”

 

How to Choose the Right Pillow if You Sleep On Your Side

Your head, neck, and spine need to always stay in a nice straight line, just as it is when you are standing up, but that takes a little thought and understanding of the way you sleep.  So, get comfy in your bed and then notice how your head is resting.

how to choose the right pillow to sleep painfreeIf you sleep on your side, your pillow needs to be just the right size, so your head doesn’t point down toward the mattress (your pillow is too soft) or up to the ceiling (your pillow is too thick). Either of these positions will make the muscles on the side of your neck stay in the contracted position for hours and pull your vertebrae in that direction, especially when you try to turn over to your other side.

Your SCM Muscle May Cause Serious Problems

You also need to notice if you turn your head a bit, especially if you are turning into your pillow or turning your head up toward away from your pillow. In either of these two cases you will be causing your sternocleidomastoid (SCM for short) to be held shortened for hours.

Your SCM originates on your collarbone and inserts into the bone behind your ear.  When it contracts you turn your head to the opposite side. However, if the muscle is tight (for example, when you’ve held your head turned toward one side for an extended period of time) and then you bring your head back so you are facing forward, the tight muscle will pull on the bone behind your ear and cause havoc.

The symptoms for a tight SCM are tinnitus (ringing in the ear), dizziness, loss of equilibrium, ear pain, headaches, pain in the eye and around the skull, pain at the top of the head, and even pain in the throat. Amazing! What’s even more amazing is that it’s rare that this muscle is considered when a medical professional is searching for the cause of your symptoms.

These are the things to know when considering how to choose the right pillow if you sleep on your side.

How To Choose The Right Pillow If You Sleep On Your Back

how to choose the right pillow for sleeping on your backIf you sleep on your back, your head should be on the mattress (not propped up with a pillow) and you should have a tiny support (like a folded washcloth) under your neck.  Or, you can have a wedge pillow that starts at your mid-back and gently raises your entire trunk and head up while still allowing your head and back to be in a straight line.

It’s always a challenge for people who toss and turn during the night, sometimes on their side and sometimes on their back.  The best thing I’ve found for this situation is to have the pillow below shoulder level so when you turn on your side your shoulder will automatically slide to the edge of the pillow while still supporting your head properly, and when you turn onto your back, the pillow will start at shoulder level so your head and neck are supported, but your head is being pushed in a way that causes your chin to move down to your chest.

hip pain causes and treatment pain freeIt’s tricky, but I can personally attest to the fact that it will work.  I can always tell when I’ve had my head tilted (I toss and turn during the night) because I will wake with a headache. When that happens I’m grateful that I know how to self-treat the muscles of my neck and shoulders so the headache is eliminated quickly.  If you already have Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living,  you can self-treat all your neck and shoulder muscles to release the tension.

How To Choose The Right Pillow If You Sleep On Your Stomach

If you sleep on your stomach, this is the one position that is so bad that it behooves you to force yourself to change your position. Your head is turned to the side and held still for hours, putting a severe strain on all your cervical and upper thoracic vertebrae. Not only will this cause headaches, tinnitus, and a list of other pains, but it can cause problems down your entire spine. It can also impinge on the nerves that pass through the vertebrae on their way to your organs.

If you do sleep that way, let me know and I’ll give you some suggestions that work to change your habit of sleeping. It takes time and energy, but the results are worth the effort.

In every case, the way you sleep may cause neck pain that won’t go away until the pillow situation is resolved.

Now you should know how to choose the right pillow for the way you sleep.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

About The Author

julie donnelly

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.

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