By Adena Mai-Jardine, B.A., PFT, RMT

“Even small problems can quickly become debilitating if not taken care of immediately”.

Your shoulders are incredibly flexible joints that allow your arms to move through a large range of motion. They are used in almost every activity and they take a lot of punishment on a daily basis. As a result, they are prone to a wide range of injuries. It’s important to take good care of your shoulders because even small problems can quickly become debilitating if not taken care of immediately.

Shoulder Problems

The shoulder is prone to a variety of problems that can give you pain and limit your range of motion. Many of these are simply caused by wear and tear. For example, a common injury is tendinitis of one of the rotator cuff muscles called the supraspinatus. Through poor posture or overuse, the tendon becomes inflamed and painful. When the bursa becomes inflamed you develop what is known as bursitis. This can be extremely painful. Trigger points, small knots in the muscles, are very common around the shoulder and can refer pain and tenderness into the muscles or joints. The referred pain can mimic other shoulder problems like tendinitis and frozen shoulder.

Sprains and dislocations typically result from falls. It’s natural to reach your arm out to catch yourself when falling, but the impact can strain or tear the shoulder ligaments. If the impact is severe enough, the humerus may be knocked right out of the socket and the shoulder becomes dislocated.

With a severe trauma, the bones may actually fracture or break. The collarbone is most likely to break, although the humerus can sometimes break as well. When this happens the arm needs to be immobilized. Fractures can take up to three months to heal.

Whenever you have a shoulder problem, you tend to limit your movement to minimize the pain. This can lead to frozen shoulder. Your shoulder becomes stiff and you quickly lose mobility. It can soon become extremely painful to lift your arm. If you develop a frozen shoulder, it will take a long time and lots of therapy to regain your normal movement. Sometimes the only option is surgery. The best medicine in this case is prevention. As soon as you develop any pain or discomfort in your shoulder, see your massage therapist immediately for assessment and treatment. Don’t risk getting this serious and debilitating shoulder condition.

Next Month—Part 2—a quick anatomy lesson / massage can help / shoulder care checklist / shoulder exercises (source: www.bodyworkBiz.com)

Published with permission from the Author: Adena Mai-Jardine, B.A., PFT, CMT, Massage Therapy & Holistic Centre – 780-738-4769.