How Massage Helps with Non-Specific Shoulder Pain
While seemingly universal, muscle stiffness and pain in the shoulders can lead to limited mobility. Research suggests that soft tissue massage can be an effective treatment for non-specific shoulder pain.
Non-specific shoulder pain refers to shoulder pain that occurs without a clear pathology and is not characterized by physical signs. While there are a number of causes of non-specific shoulder pain, some of the most common causes include frozen shoulder or adhesive Capsulitis, bursitis, rotator cuff injuries, and impingement syndrome.
What Causes Non-Specific Shoulder Pain?
Frozen shoulder, or adhesive Capsulitis, is one of the major causes of non-specific shoulder pain. The condition occurs when the capsule surrounding a muscle contracts and the patient develops bands of scar tissues known as adhesions. Due to the contraction of the capsule and formation of scar tissues, the shoulder becomes frozen or stiff. Restricted range of motion (ROM) of the glenohumeral joint, muscle pain, and stiffness are some of the most common symptoms of adhesive Capsulitis.
Massage Therapy and Non-Specific Shoulder Pain
A combination of physiotherapy and soft tissue massage therapy is commonly used for the treatment of non-specific shoulder pain.
Soft tissue massage therapy has shown promising results in improving the ROM and relieving inflammation and pain in patients suffering from non-specific shoulder pain in combination with exercises such as pendulum exercises, overhead raises, and inward rotation using a towel.
Massage therapy can be helpful for a wide range of chronic, non-malignant conditions, especially musculoskeletal pain, including shoulder pain. The primary aim of massage therapy is to get a frozen joint back in motion. Gentle movement along the shoulder joint softens the scar tissue and reduces stiffness resulting from prolonged immobility.
Regular massage therapy combined with physiotherapy and a well-planned rehabilitation program can potentially help a patient fully recover from non-specific shoulder pain.
For the best results, it is important that you openly discuss the goals you want to achieve from the therapy, and any other concerns you may have about the process. Your massage therapist will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the treatment.