Does your shoulder feel like it’s going to explode?

Advice for when your shoulder feels like it’s going to blow!

Disclaimer alert!

These are all tips from my personal experience and my training as a sports massage therapist. If you’ve got serious pain, especially involving numbness or loss of movement then you need to speak to your GP for advice.

Does your shoulder feel like it’s going to explode? Do you wake up, feel a warning twinge in your shoulder, go to lift something off a shelf, or look over your shoulder, and then BANG, you’ve been zapped! Your neck is frozen and in so much pain you feel trapped.

I had a day that nearly ended up in disaster like this two weeks ago. It’s happened to me enough times in the past that I can now recognise the first warning twinge. I know if I don’t do something straight away then the next day or two are wiped off for me.

Knowing the warning signs for shoulder and neck pain

It all started on the Thursday. I usually find that stress is the first step in stacking up the cards for a perfect storm. I had a crazy busy day in work, plus college in the evening involving a surprise practice assessment. On the Friday I had massage treatments lined up, plus I promised I’d take my daughter ice skating, which involves an hour round trip to Cardiff, and I know if one thing is going to really set off my shoulder it’s sat in a car driving.

Waking up on the Friday morning with the first feeling of a warning twinge in my shoulder, I knew I needed to do some emergency action, or my day would be ruined.

First step, hot shower. Get the water as hot as you can stand it. It’s good for you!

Why is it good for you? Muscles love heat, it helps them relax and expand. What about ice therapy? That’s good if you’re got inflammation from damage and you want to reduce the swelling in the area. But what if it is damage that’s causing the pain? Well, it’s trial and error I suppose. I’m talking from my experience. My shoulders like heat to relax, and I find the taser like pain that I sometimes get is made worse by stress, which causes tension, which constricts the area and compresses the nerves, and then boom. My neck and shoulders are gone.

So just stand under the shower, move your shoulders about in slow circles, bend your neck to each side, slowly nodding yes and no. Because despite what these warning pains are trying to tell you, movement is magic. What you don’t want to do is suddenly strain it, so just nice gentle, slow shoulder rolls.  Turn your head slowly side to side. Get the area to relax. If a shower is not an option, then a hot water bottle, a heat blanket, or a hot bath.

How massage can help shoulder and neck pain

Then what I do is reach around and grab hold of as much skin on my shoulder and lift and roll it off the areas that feel like it’s stuck. This might be something that difficult to do, maybe because you can’t reach around that far, or don’t have enough strength to grip, but that’s where massage therapy can really help. We’ve been trained to work with those areas and apply enough pressure or lift to convince the nervous system that it can in fact relax.

What I was noticing, especially as I got closer to the spine, was a tingling like pins and needles. In between each of the vertebrae is a nerve, running in the spaces of the ribs. It’s why if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to break a rib, (or get a tattoo around your rib) you’ll know just how excruciating it is. It’s the copious supply of nerves. The problem is when those muscles habitually hold tension, then the muscles which move us around are also going to be the ones to compress the very nerves they rely on to give them to signals to move. Then you set up the perfect storm where the nerves are getting compressed with no space to glide, the nerves get pinched and then BOOM you’re tasered.

Thanks to applying heat, keeping the area moving and using massage to loosen the fascia around the muscles I was able to avoid the dreaded shoulder explosion.

If you want to book an appointment to talk more about the movement issues you’re dealing with then get in touch and we can find out which muscles are causing you pain.