Stress isn’t just something that’s felt at a mental level. It has physical consequences as well. Leading to headaches, inflammation, and fatigue, stress is a real concern for many. An area where it’s held is the shoulders. This part of the body is also common in sports injuries and age-related injuries.
Fortunately, you can massage shoulder pain in such a way that it reduces sensitivity, warms up the tissue, and restores mobility that may have been previously lost.
Here are ten tips on how to massage your shoulder pain:
1. Know your trigger points
Trigger points are knots, lumps, or sensitive areas. They appear everywhere in the body. Trigger points stem from injury, overuse, or referred pain. They can also lead to circulation issues, contractions, and spasms.
If you have pain in your shoulder, be careful to avoid these trigger points unless you have a professional’s help or are being excessively gentle. Massaging them may only cause more pain. They are located around the back predominantly, with charts available online as to what areas to avoid.
2. Be careful with the massage
Massages can cause further pain and injury, when done improperly. Speak with a doctor or physical therapist before starting on a regular massage routine. You want to ensure you’re performing massages correctly. It might be a good idea to book treatments with a registered massage therapist to ensure the techniques are professionally handled.
3. Massage with a foam roller
A foam roller is a great opportunity to do shoulder pain massages without anyone else’s assistance. Place the roller under your underarm, lengthen it parallel to the floor, and roll back-and-forth over the foam roller. Do this again for the overarm. Perform both massages for up to a minute.
4. Give a self-massage
A self-massage is to use your opposite hand. Grip your shoulder. Press into the tissue with your thumb and move it around in a circle. Focus on any areas that seem sensitive. As you do the massage, move your shoulder and arm. Do so gently. This will expose areas of the tissue that otherwise wouldn’t get attention.
5. Electric massage
You can, of course, use an electronic massager to massage shoulder pain. A lot of these you simply hold at the shoulder level and allow the massager to do the hard work. Massagers have proven themselves to be useful at improving mobility and relieving tension. Extra care must be taken with these as they can also cause pain when used incorrectly or too often. For many persons, a gentler approach using the hand might be preferred.
6. Kinds of massagers
There are the Japanese-inspired Shiatsu massagers, vibration massagers, heat massagers, percussion massagers, and compression massagers on the market targeting neck and shoulder pain. For those who can afford these, items like this can make massaging shoulders fun. The intensity levels may be a concern for some, however. When the pain is severe, using hands is arguably better than trying to make things better with a machine. That said, everyone’s different.
7. Best shoulder massage
The best shoulder massage technique there is is a deep tissue massage. Deep tissue uses a safe amount of pressure and is used specifically for chronic muscle troubles, i.e. soreness, injury, tightness, and stress-related muscle tension. A deep tissue massage is arguably best performed using one’s own hands. That said, there are clear benefits to using electric massagers and alternative massage tools, and using them in a deep tissue massage way can provide the desired results.
8. How often to massage
How often to get a massage for shoulder pain varies person-to-person. You can massage your own shoulder whenever you like although too much massage – especially at a deep tissue level – is bound to produce some soreness. In general, when it comes to extended shoulder massage sessions, it’s recommended to start with doing it twice weekly. That is, if it’s a chronic condition. Any acute pain can be handled far more often with shorter sessions of five minutes or less, complete with massaging, heat, and gentle stretching.
Occasionally, after a professional shoulder pain massage, you may notice you’re in slightly worse shape. If this is the case, don’t worry. This is only temporary. It’s normal to feel sore afterward. Certain techniques are very intense though they have to be to stimulate certain muscles that might not be regularly used. There may be delayed soreness as the body heals. Don’t panic. Chances are, within a few days, you will be feeling significantly better.
9. Use heat on your shoulder
This article is about how to massage shoulder pain but let’s be clear in saying it’s not the only action you can take to reduce pain in this part of your body. Afterward, apply heat. Heat will warm up the body and encourage circulation to your shoulder. This is done most popularly using a heat pad. A warm bath works just as well. This will help with any soreness you might be contending with.
10. Benefits of massages
When you don’t overdo it and you perform a shoulder massage correctly, the results are very impactful. Tension and tightness will be relieved, allowing the muscles to relax. This initiates the body’s natural healing mechanism which will help speed up the process of eliminating pain. Mobility and function should be improved. Most important, blood flow will be increased to the area and inflammation will be reduced.