Frozen Shoulder


Frozen Shoulder, medically known as Adhesive Capsulitis, is a condition that causes inflammation, stiffness, decreased mobility and pain to the shoulder region. This condition is more common in woman and generally occurs after the age of 40. Many people will often get frozen shoulder on one side and later on the other side. 

Frozen Shoulder is thought to be caused by scar tissue that forms in the shoulder that causes the shoulder joint capsule to thicken and tighten, leaving less room for movement. Some of the causes of frozen shoulder are side sleeping, repetetive over the arm motion like throwing a ball or even kettle bell swinging. There is also a correlation with people who have diabetes and thryroid conditions to be more likely to develop frozen shoulder.

Orthopedic massage done reguarly can alleviate the pain caused by frozen shoulder by loosening and relaxing the stiff shoulder muscle and releasing the scar tissue and adhesions that build up as welll as increasing blood circulation to that region. 

Bob has been seeing a client for several years that first came to him post surgery for frozen shoulder. She did physical therapy then was referred to BWM. With orthopedic massage the client got increased range of motion to her shoulder and alleviated the pain. Years later frozen shoulder developed in the other shoulder, this time she skipped the surgery and continued with the orthopedic massage, with time and consistent massage her frozen shoulder is thawed. She has no pain and has full range of motion. 

The most STRESSFUL time of year

As the song goes, the holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Visiting with family, big meals, running errands, preparation for all these activities…. While this can be a magical time of year, it’s also often stressful.

The most common injury I see during this time of year is strain on the shoulders. The increase in shopping – long walks on harsh concrete surfaces – the increase in driving for longer distances between errands and family gatherings, and even stress from all those wonderful family gatherings tends to manifest in the neck and shoulders. A tight neck and shoulders leads to neck pain, headaches, and shoulder pain as the tension tightens fascia and starts to spread out.

Bodywork sessions can help stretch and release tension caused by these tight muscles. Between sessions, however, there are some tips to help relieve tension:

1. S-T-R-E-T-C-H! Get out of your chair every 30 minutes or less. Stand up and reach your arms up over your head, bring your hands together and reach over to the right and left sides while taking deep breathes. Next, bring your arms behind your back and lace your fingers and pull your arms down. Lastly, in your seat take several rounds of deep breathing while shrugging your shoulders toward your ears then back down.

2. HEAT IT UP!: Using soothing heat is another great de-stressing strategy.  Heat will increase blood circulation to the muscles, and promote a relaxation effect through the nervous system.  15 minutes of heat a day (using a shower, bean bag, or heat blanket) will have a positive effect.

3. LET’S GET PHYSICAL: Although you may be doing hours of walking while shopping make sure you do not make that a replacement for daily exercise. Routine is important as well as keeping your cardio and muscles in shape.

4. DRINK IT UP: Water is our friend, make sure to drink water throughout the day. We all have been to the mall with our winter coats on and carry lots of bundles. Dehydration will make you sluggish, cranky and overheated. Take a water bottle and sip a few ounces every 30 minutes.

5. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…SCHEDULE YOUR BODYWORK MASTERS APPOINTMENT IN ADVANCE!: Taking care of you is an important during a time of year that we are so focused on others. Be sure to schedule your bodywork in advance since this is a busy time of year and appointments book up fast.

Throughout this holiday season we’ll be sharing tips to keep your tissue healthy so stay tuned!

Tennis Elbow: Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Some of the most common injuries we see are Tennis or Golfers elbow. The interesting thing for each of these ailments is that we see it even in people that don’t play tennis or golf. So what does each look like, and what can you do to prevent it?

Tennis elbow pain is felt on the outside of the arm, often making it difficult to lift or grip items. Despite the name, only about 5% of patients treated for tennis elbow actually get it from playing tennis! Ultimately, this is caused by small tears in the muscles of your arm, which decrease blood flow to the elbow area, causing inflammation. The inflammation is what causes the pain and difficulty in lifting or gripping. The good news is with bodywork treatment it can be cured in 2 to 3 visits rather than several months to a year.

On the flip side we have golfers elbow (also known as pitchers elbow), where the pain is felt on the inside of the arm. This has been aptly named as it is most commonly caused by overuse of the muscles during motions such swinging a golf club, throwing a ball, weight lifting, or even carpentry work.

As you can imagine, with a lot of athletes and weekend warriors I see one of these two issues. By having the patient extend their arm, I can look at the fold of the inner arm to determine if the muscles are pulling either inward or outward which would indicate one of these ailments.

Once identified, the muscles need to be stretched while the adhesions and stagnant tissue are palpated through the arm. Often imbalances are found in the wrist and shoulder as a result of the tight, inflamed elbow muscles. Once adhesions are stretched and released, the joint returns to a balance point with greater range of motion and often the patient experiences a reduction in pain.