Shoulder Pain

Common Questions About Shoulder Pain

  • How can massage therapy help me with my shoulder pain?
  • Can massage help my shoulder function better?
  • What can I do to be able to reach behind my back, or over my head like I used to before my shoulder surgery?
  • How can I avoid injuring my shoulder in the future?
  • What specific muscle, bone, or movement causes my shoulder pain?

Muscles Involved:

Supraspinatus

Infraspinatus

Teres Minor

Subscapularis

Long head of the biceps

Pectoralis

I have to admit that working with a client who has pain and limited range of motion in their rotator cuff is often one of the most rewarding experiences as a massage therapist. In many cases, a client who walks into a therapy session with a frozen shoulder, will walk away with a drastic improvement in their range of motion, along with the surprising experience of saying goodbye to their shoulder pain.

The rotator cuff contains a complex system of muscles that do a wonderful job allowing us to move our shoulders in so many different directions. However, when a rotator cuff is infiltrated with scar-tissue as a result of injury or a long period of time without movement, the muscles that govern the rotator cuff can struggle to maintain their dexterity. Scar-tissue can fill up valuable space inside a shoulder. If one muscle of the rotator cuff has an impingement, the other muscles struggle to compensate. This results in pain, rotator cuff tears, and even some uncomfortable nerve-related sensations that run down the arm, and into the fingers. A neuromuscular massage therapist has the understanding of where these muscle or nerve impingements occur, as well as the ability to target and manipulate these tissues in order to restore their functionality.

Some Common Rotator Cuff Injuries Include:

  • Supraspinatus rupture, or impingement of the supraspinatus tendon. (seen below)

Improper shoulder mechanics can cause the supraspinatus tendon to get impinged between the head of the humerus and the acromion process during vertical abduction of the shoulder, particularly when the arm is medially rotated (thumb facing down).


Subscapularis muscle impingement, strain, or immobility in the scapula caused by trauma or scar tissue.

If the scapula cannot upwardly rotate, then full range of motion is lost when reaching over-head.


Impingement of the biceps tendon, or pectoralis muscle groups.


A strained infraspinatus muscle due to tense antagonist muscles (pectoralis), overexertion and hyperextension of the shoulder, or prolonged desk posture.

 If you have read enough information, and you are ready to give massage therapy a try, click the “booknow” button below to book a session.

Read about other muscular conditions by going back to the main menu.

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Or read more from this textbook by clicking on the Myofascial Pain link below.


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