Most everyone at some point in their life has had or will experience some sort of shoulder pain and massage is a perfect solution to deal with this discomfort. Sometimes the pain comes from sports related or overuse injuries, but often it is simply from normal everyday use or non-use in some cases that causes our shoulders to ache and be painful. For some, the painful shoulder starts from bein slumped over a computer all day. Another reason is that many of us are always holding our tablets and smart phones in such a way that we are always looking down with our necks bent and shoulders rounded foward while our arms are somewhat raised holding our electronic devices. My General Wellness Massage and/or my massage with added trigger point therapy is just what you need to relieve this type of pain and discomfort.
The shoulder is the most versatile and flexible joint in the body and offers a wider range of motion than any other joint. The main reason for this is it is mainly held together by a network of muscles, tendons and ligaments rather than being connected by bones. It is actually a complex group of four joints to include the ball-and-socket joint.
The major bones of the shoulder complex are the clavicle (collarbone), scapula (shoulder blade) and the humerus. The entire shoulder complex is connected to the skeletal trunk and supported by the sternum and thorax.
The scapula is the most complex of these bones and it attaches to the rib cage only by muscles. It is a flat bone and its main function is to provide a place for muscle attachment for the shoulder. There are a total of 15 major muscles that attach to the scapula and there is a spine on the back of this bone which divides it into two different sections where muscles attach. The muscle that attaches above the spine of the scapula is the supraspinatus and the muscles that attach below the spine are the teres major, teres minor and the infraspinatus muscles. Another muscle that attaches to the inside of the scapula is the subscapularis. All of these muscles except the teres major make up the group known as the rotator cuff muscles and they insert at the scapula and have tendons that attach to the humerus. These muscles and tendons are the most important ones for controlling the shoulder and are subject to common injuries.
The muscles of the shoulder complex can be separated into three different groups. Extrinsic muscles which are superficial or close to the skin, Intrinsic muscles which are deep muscles and shoulder/arm muscles.
The extrinsic muscles include the pectoralis major which is an anterior or front muscle, the posterior or back muscles which include the trapezius muscle and the latissimus dorsi muscle. The lateral or side muscles is the deltoid muscle which originates in three portions, the anterior, middle and posterior of the arm and it is the largest and strongest of the shoulder muscles. Each portion of the deltoid muscle is responsible for a different movement. The intrinsic muscles are situated closer to the bone and a deep tissue massage is needed to relieve pain from these muscles. The anterior or front muscles are the pectoralis minor and the subclavious muscle. The posterior or back muscles are the levator scapulae, rhomboids (major and minor) and the teres major muscle. The lateral or side muscle is the serratus anterior and during my full body massage I cover all these muscles that not only alleviate shoulder pain but help release upper back and neck pain. The shoulder/arm muscles include the biceps brachii muscle, the coracobrachialis muscle and the triceps brachii muscle.
There are many other joints and ligaments that make up the shoulder complex but the focus of this article is to touch on the areas that can be easily manipulated by massage to bring you often immediate results of pain relief and comfort. Check back for a related article when I go over the definition of "Frozen Shoulder" and what I can do to help you treat it.
Chris O'Brien, LMT, a male massage therapist in florida and a former graphic/web designer, social media specialist and webmaster/content manager