Therapeutic Massage and Rotator Cuff Injuries

As patients filter through our office everyday, one of the most common complaints we hear is of shoulder pain. Injuries to the rotator cuff muscles and tendons affect most of us from one degree to another. People as young as 14 can experience injuries to their shoulder, typically from sports related issues, so it is important to understand the why and how of those injuries.

There are four muscles that make up the rotator cuff in conjunction with their tendon attachments. Those muscles are the Supraspinatus, the Subscapularis, the Infraspinatus and the Teres Minor. The tendons that attach these muscles to the humerus provide stability to the shoulder joint and they allow us the wide range of motion we expect to have in order to participate in our daily activities. Traditional therapies for rotator cuff injuries include rest, pain medications, corticosteroid injections, physical or occupational therapy and in severe cases surgery.

Massage therapy is unique as a treatment option because it alone can address several of the key factors in healing rotator cuff damage in one session. Firstly, most chronic rotator cuff damage comes from friction and abrasion of the muscles and their tendon attachments. This is typically caused by impingement of the soft tissues within the subacromial space.

While massage therapy cannot correct any structural anomalies such as bone spurs, it can release trigger points which may cause tightening in the rotator cuff and allow the shoulder joint to move more freely.

Second, massage has also been proven as an effective treatment for the type of inflammation that causes pain from these chronic injuries. Providing a safe and effective way to manage pain without taking medications that may have other side effects. Third, it is not uncommon to have a drop off of blood supply to this area in people over the age of 40. Less blood supply means less nutrients to the tissues and less fluid to help transport waste materials out of the area. Massage is an excellent way to boost blood flow both systemically and locally.

Lastly, the muscles of the rotator cuff benefit greatly from the type of stretching techniques utilized by many therapists and it can provide conditioning needed to participate in strengthening exercises needed to prevent future injuries.

In conclusion, if you’re experiencing shoulder pain caused by injury or overuse, call us today! You are not alone in your pain and have options for relief that may not be explored by your primary care provider. Let us help you regain your mobility!

Jenny Orr, LMT
Performance Chiropractic
1055 West Columbia Way, Suite 106
Lancaster, CA 93534
(661) 942-5000