It’s been long believed that massage can help alleviate shoulder pain– so much so, that a sufferer is likely to absent-mindedly attempt to massage an area of discomfit should they suddenly start suffering. But what causes pain in the shoulder in the first place? Is massage actually that effective? And, if so, whom should you look to deliver it?
Why am I experiencing shoulder pain?
There are various reasons why you might experience discomfit or pain in the shoulders, but first, consider this – together, your shoulders and neck hold up the heaviest part of the body: the head; in some ways the body’s ‘payload’. When the head finds itself resting at unnatural angles for any period of time, physical stress inevitably results for the shoulder’s muscles. In which case, a vast number of daily activities, many of them sedentary (like driving, working on a computer and even writing) can cause harm to shoulder muscles.
Quite frankly, any ‘incorrect’ posture can create or exacerbate shoulder problems, as can unnatural sleeping positions. Perhaps most obvious all causes of stress for shoulder muscles, however, are strenuous sport activities, such as tennis, cricket, basketball or weightlifting – all of these can ask a great deal of the humble shoulder. And then, at the other end of the activity scale, is hunching over – something that so many people tend to do when they’re suffering from emotional stress caused by too much pressure in the workplace or at home – sadly it’s an inescapable part of everyday life.
Is shoulder massaging the answer?
The late Elaine Calenda, a hugely respected massage teacher for at least 30 years and former faculty member at Boulder’s College of Massage Therapy in Colorado, identified three leading causes of shoulder pain: weak muscles, bad posture and occasional bouts of intense activity. And she was once quoted as saying that consistent massage of the shoulder’s muscles could work to both alleviate symptoms and cure the problems behind them: “By increasing neck and shoulder range of motion, massage helps prevent future strain”, she commented.
The truth is that people often turn to massage to ease their shoulder pain after it’s come on, but while massage techniques provide relief after the fact, continued therapy can help prevent the likes of poor posture, unnatural sleeping positions and over-strenuous physical activity to cause stress on shoulder muscles and force pain to return.
Can I perform a shoulder massage myself?
Now, of course, you can attempt a shoulder massage yourself when you feel discomfit – who wouldn’t? Millions if not billions of us have reached up and behind our back to rub our shoulder and neck. It’s a very natural reaction. But is it affective? Well, when doing so, if you’re lucky you might feel a lump or two giving way under the pressure of your thumb and fingers (indicating muscle and tissue adhesions are breaking up and the pain will dissipate somewhat), but without knowledge of what you really ought to do, that’s most likely all this very do-it-yourself approach is going to achieve.
Ultimately, there’s no getting away from it,a makeshift, self-massage can bring temporary relief, but only an expert will really know how to direct the correct pressure to the correct muscle areas and points to bring the best results. In short, you need to consult and put yourself in the hands of a professional massage therapist, such as one you’d find in a highly respected venue like the Spa at the Montcalm in the heart of the West End, of which shoulder massages (of different types) are just some of its spa body treatments London.
What difference will a professional massage bring?
Delivered by someone who definitely knows what they’re doing then, effective shoulder massage therapy can not only bring pain relief, but also restore motion in an affected shoulder. Providing deep relaxation to stressed muscles, it importantly stimulates the flow of blood through them, as well as improving the lymph system’s functioning. Moreover, a massage can lay claim to being a natural analgesic (pain reliever) as it also fuels the central nervous system to release endorphins, which inhibit the transmission of pain signals and play a role in generating and spreading a feeling of wellbeing, helping to make an individual feel relaxed and recharged.
Will massage work on a frozen shoulder?
The short answer to this is yes; although, should you have been diagnosed with adhesive causalities (more commonly known as frozen shoulder), it’s most likely a medical practitioner will have advised or even proscribed you to undergo specific massage therapy for the condition, as part of treatment that will likely last a year or two to heal the shoulder effectively.
However, two types of massage, in particular (which are commonly performed by therapists for less serious complaints), are very effective in treating frozen shoulder too – namely Swedish Massage(which, by increasing blood oxygen level, can decrease muscle toxins and improved blood circulation) and Trigger Point Therapy (identifies a pain’s location and intensity to provide chronic pain management).