4 Benefits of Massage for Shoulder Pain

Jan 20, 2020

Your shoulder is made up of many bones, tendons and muscles that all serve different functions, and stress or tension in them can develop into shoulder pain. The severity of shoulder pain varies depending on where or how it began, and it can limit your range of motion, disrupt your sleep, and make it difficult for you to engage in everyday activities. While the method used to treat shoulder pain will vary depending on the cause, in most cases massage therapy has been shown to effectively treat and prevent shoulder pain. Read on to find out more.

Common causes of shoulder pain

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint consisting of three main bones: the humerus, clavicle, and scapula. These bones are cushioned by a layer of cartilage and are surrounded by many tendons and muscle fibres. When something goes wrong in any of these areas, it can lead to pain and problems with mobility.

Shoulder pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders and is generally caused by four major conditions:

  • Tendonitis or tendon tear
  • Shoulder instability
  • Arthritis
  • Fracture or broken bone.

Other causes of shoulder pain can include a major shoulder surgery (for example, a shoulder reconstruction), tumours, infection, and nerve-related problems.

4 ways massage can help to manage shoulder pain

No matter the cause of your shoulder pain, massage therapy can be used to effectively increase your range of motion, ease pain, and prevent further injury of the shoulder. This is because a shoulder massage delivers the following benefits to anyone suffering from shoulder pain:

1. Increases blood supply

Massage therapy helps to increase the volume of fresh blood supply reaching your muscles, feeding them with oxygen-rich nutrients. This works to naturally lower blood pressure and improve circulation, which helps to increase the range of movement within the shoulder joint. The shoulder muscles are then able to relax so that tension can begin to dissipate, relieving shoulder pain.

2. Increases range of motion

Massage therapy can help release tightness in the muscles surrounding the shoulder, allowing for a more free range of motion in the joint. Working with the deeper layers of tissues surrounding the shoulder, muscle fibres are lengthened and trigger points are released, improving the function of the shoulder joint and relieving pain.

3. Strengthens and stabilises muscles

As mentioned above, shoulder instability or muscle imbalance can result in shoulder pain. Massage therapy can help to strengthen and stabilise muscles, and improve posture and shoulder position. Deep tissue massage and trigger point massage therapy are particularly beneficial for shoulder pain, working to relieve tension along the nerve pathways of the neck and shoulder. The combination of firm pressure and slow strokes to reach the deeper layers of muscle and fascia can treat chronic pain by breaking up scar tissue and relieving shoulder impingement. Massage can also help to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and scapular muscles to reduce the chance of dislocations and shoulder joint instability.

4. Treats sports-related injuries

Progressive overload plays a big role in shoulder pain and injury. Activities like lifting heavy weights at the gym can lead to muscle fatigue, and this can cause other muscles to overcompensate, resulting in injury. Massage can help to relieve sports-related injury and pain, as well as prevent further injury. Sports massage therapy is used to treat sports injuries and muscle strains, helping to correct soft tissue muscle imbalances caused by repetitive motions.

How to find the right massage therapist for shoulder pain

No matter what has caused your shoulder pain, a professional massage therapist will be able to diagnose and treat it. If you’re suffering from shoulder pain, you may want to look for a massage therapist that specialises in shoulder pain and other musculoskeletal conditions. A quick Google search or referral from your family doctor can guide you to massage therapists in your area.

Before making an appointment, check to make sure your chosen massage therapist:

Relieve shoulder pain with massage

Regular massage therapy can be helpful in not only reducing shoulder pain, but also preventing shoulder pain. A professional massage therapist, such as those who carry qualifications from Discover Massage Australia, can expertly treat your shoulder pain and provide you with an injury management plan. A qualified massage therapist will address muscle imbalances, poor posture, and any conditions that may be contributing to your shoulder complaints to provide you with effective relief.

Cameron Aubrey

Cameron Aubrey has over 20 years experience in the massage industry, and leads the team as Course Director at Discover Massage Australia. Cameron holds a Diploma in Remedial Massage, and his expertise runs across a large range of massage techniques, particularly sports, Swedish and whole body massage.