Shoulder Pain

How Massage & Myotherapy Helps Shoulder Pain

Do you suffer from shoulder pain? Did you know your shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body? The issue here, is that it sacrifices a whole lot of stability to get this mobility. For this reason, it is one of the most commonly injured areas in the body.

It can be as simple as sleeping on your shoulder in a poor position, trying to pick something up that’s too heavy, or an a RSI injury from repetitive movements. Should injuries will occur in a variety of different ways.

The main aim when we are treating shoulder injuries is to improve function. One of the biggest precursors in most shoulder injuries is poor function. This is because tight muscles will cause the shoulder to be sitting in a position that isn’t ideal. This will then place more strain on an area than what it is either used to or made for.

By improving function, we improve biomechanics. This means we have the shoulder moving optimally. This leads to less stress placed on the soft tissues. With this there is less chance or re-injury, and a lower chance os a similar shoulder injury occurring.

So What Can Is Causing My Shoulder Pain?

We find shoulder injuries can occur in a number of different ways. For instance as mentioned above you may awaken to find a severe ache between your shoulder blade and spine, or even from the shoulder up into the neck.

Potentially you may have had a fall. This type of trigger will more commonly cause a rotator cuff tear.

Or you may not have ideal posture, especially if you have a desk job or drive a lot. This will often trigger pain through the backs of the shoulders, as well as the upper back.

You may have lifted something to heavy or tried to catch and object as it fell. This type of onset again tends to cause rotator cuff tears.

We find the most commonly that shoulder pain is a rotator cuff tendonopathy or a chronic tear (shoulder pain plus a referral down the arm). I cannot stress how common these are!

Finally, another issue we see quite often in shoulders is chronic pain due to not having one of the injuries above treated.

In summary, shoulder issues will present in a variety of ways. However, it is so important we treat them, the earlier the better. This is because shoulder issues left untreated have a relatively high risk of becoming a chronic issue.

How We Treat Shoulder Injuries.

As we were saying above, improve function! At the same time we work on your specific injury. By far the most common (we should know, we’ve worked on thousands) is any form of rotator cuff syndrome, we’ve put more about this below.

With this type of injury we would treat the entire shoulder. After all we need to improve the way it is functioning. At the same time, we use massage techniques, and maybe even some dry needling or cupping on the rotator cuff muscles themselves. This helps to decrease pain and optimise the healing environment.

Following the treatment, we will often give some take home exercises. Depending on the injury it may be to help loosen, to help strengthen or both. This is because we want to maximise the effectiveness of this treatment and have these effects last longer.

In summary, we see shoulder injuries all the time. With these by improving function we reduce the risk of rein jury, another injury & it helps to optimise the healing environment for your current issues. Your treatment will target the specific site of your injury & get it functioning as it shoulder. This equals a shoulder issue that heals and a pain free you!

What Is Rotator Cuff Syndrome? Other Than The Most Common Cause of Shoulder Pain

Unlike most other joints, the shoulder is not predominately held within its place by other bones and cartilage. Muscles, tendon and ligaments hold it together. The rotator cuff is a muscle group made up of four muscles that hold the shoulder joint together. This creates support for the entire joint. They will also assist in shoulder movement.

Rotator cuff syndrome is a group of similar conditions which affects the muscles & tendons of the rotator cuff, such as:  

  • Muscle tears/strains of any rotator cuff muscles 
  • Tendonopathy/tendonosis of any rotator cuff tendons 
  • Subacromial impingement 
  • Shoulder bursitis  

These conditions have similar symptoms such as dull ache, swelling, burning, tender to the touch, decrease range of movement, painful on all/particular movements.  

Is a Rotator Cuff Issue Causing Your Shoulder Pain? Here’s How We Help.

As with all RSIs (reparative strain injuries) prevention is always better than a cure. If you have an occupation or training regimen that may trigger an RSI it is always suggested to maintain proper strengthening and stretching techniques, to sustain correct function. 

If you already suffer from rotator cuff syndrome, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to bring back full function and decrease painful symptoms of injury.  

Massage is one of the most effect forms of treatment for conditions such as RCS. Treatment to the soft tissues assist in the rehabilitation by increasing circulation of blood to the affected area. It will also helps to give relief from muscle of hypertonicity (tightness) which, in turn, will unload tendons and decompress the joint itself.  

Trigger point (knot) therapy is also an extremely efficient method of treatment for RCSs, knots can occur anywhere within a muscle belly and tend to send referral pains.

In this case, a trigger point within a rotator cuff muscle will most likely send referral pain down the arm. If these knots are released, they will stop the referral pain response instantly and take pressure off the tendons connected to the muscle.  


ARapid Recovery Clinic we’ve put together this article as a way to give back to our industry. For clients, potential clients, GP’s & other allied health professionals to gain a better understanding of how massage,myotherapy & remedial massage can help shoulder pain. 

Everything in this article is the views of the author and what they have found to be the case in their clinical practice. This information is intended only as a guide. It is up to you to seek your own independent medical advice for your individual circumstances & shoulder pain?