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  • Writer's pictureEmma Hayes

Benefits of Massage for shoulder pain

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 mar major conditions:

Tendonitis or tendon tear

Shoulder instability


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.

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