Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), is an inflammation and stiffness of the connective tissues that surrounds the shoulder joint. Frozen
shoulder causes formation of adhesions of the tissues in the shoulder, which severely restrict the movement of the shoulder, and causing
chronic pain. This pain is usually constant, and worse at night and when the weather is colder. Also, the combination of the pain
with the restricted movement can make even small daily tasks impossible. Furthermore, certain movements can trigger intense pain and
cramping that can last a long time. The recovery for a Frozen Shoulder is slow, which causes great frustration for the patients
Massage Secrets about Frozen Shoulder - On a Frozen shoulder the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint (Rotator Cuff:
Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, Teres Minor, and Subscapularis) become very tight. We believe that it is possible that a spasm (inflammation)
of one or more of these muscles is what causes the shoulder to become “frozen”. Therefore, at Massage Secrets we believe that by applying
Massage Therapy and releasing the Trigger Points in these muscles, the movement of the shoulder can GREATLY improve and in several
cases the shoulder regains pain-free, full range of motion. We have noticed that many patients with Frozen Shoulder are not even aware
of it, they only feel tension on the neck, upper back and shoulders. And we believe that this is because of the lack of range of motion
in the shoulder joint that they compensate and overuse the muscles around it, making the neck, shoulders, upper back and chest tight
Some of the modalities that have shown greatest results for us at Massage Secrets, are Neuromuscular Therapy, Myofascial
Release, Shiatsu and Craniosacral Therapy. But most forms of Massage will help release tension and increase the Range of Motion.
Photo courtesy of the American Massage Therapy Association 2008.
Here's a possible cause for Frozen Shoulder - At Massage Secrets, we have learned that Teres Minor is in charge of pulling the head
of the humerus down & back, when the arm is being raised. However, this is a small muscle when compared to it's opposing muscles,
like Pectoralis Major and Minor, Deltoids, etc. Therefore, if Teres Minor is not strong enough to perform it's job, it could cause
the formation of Trigger Points in it. At this point Teres Minor cannot pull the shoulder down when the arm is being lifted, so there
could be a compression of the Supraspinatus by the acromion process of the scapula and the head of the humerus. This compression can
cause inflammation (and possible tear) of the Supraspinatus tendon, as well as bursitis at the shoulder joint.
So for us it seems
that the constant hard work performed by Teres Minor, and/or the compression of Supraspinatus, can cause a spasm on either one of
those muscles; or both. This will lead the other muscles of the Rotator Cuff to become tight as well, in order to protect the shoulder
from further injuries. And all of this will limit the Range of Motion of the shoulder making it stiff and painful.
How to prevent
it - At Massage Secrets we believe that there are a few ways to prevent this. One way is to keep the Rotator Cuff muscles storng and
active, by doing excercises which strengthen the pulling abilities of your shoulder (remember the monkeybars?). Now don't go crazy
and try to do things you haven't done in years!!! But, if you ease into it with lats pull downs, light swimming, Yoga and excercises
like that, little by little your rotator cuff would become stronger and more functional.
Another way is by checking the condition of
your Rotator Cuff muscles with your Massage Therapist. He/she can determine if there are Trigger Points in them, if they are tight,
inflamed, or if there's any limits to their Range of Motion. Massage Therapy can keep the muscles healthy as long as they are
maintained on a regular basis.
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