Shoulder Pain: Should You Shrug It Off?

After a crazy weekend of yard work, painting the ceiling, and pitching softball, you notice that your shoulder is a little achy.  Hmm.  In fact, you notice it mostly because it wakes you at night.

It pains you to reach into the backseat of the car.  You’ve stopped reaching for that gallon of milk with that arm – just too risky that you’ll drop it.  Before you know it, it feels seriously tight.  Suddenly you contemplate a shorter hairdo because your arm no longer reaches the top of your head.  That’s it .  Bad hair is the final straw.  You are ready to seek help.

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body.  A good thing, because it controls where we are able to put our hands.   There is a trade off for that mobility.  The shoulder is inherently a very unstable joint.  To function correctly there must be a perfect balance of soft tissue across the front and back of the shoulder and throughout the torso.  Tightness or weakness easily throws off this delicate balance.  Overusing  particular sets of muscles, causes those muscles to shorten.  Muscles in a shortened state pull the joint into less than optimal positions.  Then joint surfaces start rubbing when they shouldn’t.  When bone rubs on bone, you get pain and inflammation.   And that will get your attention.

To fix this problem you need to lengthen what’s tight, strengthen what’s weak.   In my experience, the primary problem of shoulder pain is tightness.  And contributing tightness can be in areas other than just the shoulder.  Tightness across the chest wall is a big contributor to shoulder pain.  Tightness in the neck also persistently tugs on a shoulder.  Even fascial tightness in the lower back and rib cage region can change the line of pull of the delicate shoulder musculature.  All of these areas need to be assessed.  Shoulder pain is rarely confined to just the shoulder.

So the solution is simple.  Loosen up.  Address what’s tight, not just in the immediate vicinity, but in the entire torso.  In the end, it’s all connected.  When the length tension balance of the soft tissues has been restored, you will notice immediate improvements in range of motion and strength.   And once mobility and balance are restored, the pain goes away.  And with myofascial release, this can be done without great heroics on the part of the patient.  Myofascial release never forces the body.  The releases occur layer by layer in a manner that patient’s find easy to tolerate.   In fact, during treatment sessions your pain starts to ease as the soft tissue restrictions release.  No more dreading therapy!   Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to work with the human body than to force it.

Shoulder pain is common.  It’s your body letting you know it has an alignment problem.  Go get some myofascial work done.  Restore the balance.  Ease the pain.  And then go do something with that hair.

Stay healthy!

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