When you think about it, you use your shoulders for pretty much everything.
It's not just big tasks or movements that require shoulder mobility and strength, it's everything you do with your arms.
Try brushing your teeth or even checking the time on your watch without moving your shoulders. It's very hard if not impossible.
The shoulders enable your arms to have a massive range of movement. Unfortunately we're creatures of convenience and live in a world where everything is within easy reach. For many people this means their normal range of movement has become limited.
The most common issue I see in clients with shoulder problems is protective guarding or protective spasms. This basically describes what the shoulder does when it's overly challenged whilst in a vulnerable position.
A simple example: You're walking a dog on the lead when it suddenly spots something to chase, launches itself full pelt only to be stopped in it's tracks by the lead. The jult from the lead quickly transfers through your hand and arm up into your shoulder. If the jult is strong enough or happens often enough, your shoulder will likely react by spasming to protect itself from what it perceives as the potential for damage.
Spasms are how the body protects itself from imminent or potential damage. It's basically like slamming the brakes on to do an emergency stop. Unfortunately, the brakes will often stay on even once the event has passed.
With so many muscles involved in the movement and stability of the shoulder girdle or joint, there are many things to consider when working out why your shoulder is hurting, clicking or not moving properly.
Some common shoulder issues that massage can help with are:
- Rotator cuff spasm
- Frozen shoulder
- Trigger points
- Impingement syndroms
- Muscle spasms
Even in cases such as calcific tendonitis or bone spurs where massage isn't going to fix the issue, it can often be helpful in easing symptoms, reducing pain and improving movement.