Yesterday I was working on a new client with shoulder pain. When we started he said he believed it was time for him to see his MD. He was concerned he had a tear or a spur somewhere. His pain was mostly in his left middle deltoid, and it was consistent and limiting.
As I was talking to him, I was watching him. His left shoulder, the shoulder with the pain was dropped and the clavicle was almost straight. The right shoulder was raised and the space between the lateral shoulder and neck was decreased. I noticed his trunk was shifted to the right, his right arm was close to the his trunk, and his left arm looked like it was pulled away from his body.
He was very engaged during the session, asking questions about what I was finding and what he could do. I began by working on his right shoulder, which confused him. I explained to him that his upper shoulder and the back side of his right shoulder were shortened or tight, while the front side (the anterior delt, bicep, and pec muscles) of the right shoulder were elongated or weak.
The tension between the scapula and the vertebrae on the right side was leading to or allowing the left scapula to be more lateral or pulled away from his spine. This created a weakness in the left shoulder and his pain was likely from weakness. The lack of muscle tone in his left shoulder was unlikely to be fixed without loosening up the right shoulder.
In order to create balance in his shoulder girdle and help him regain muscle integrity on his left side, I needed to work the posterior and superior shoulder on the right, and his chest on the left, as well as the left lateral rib cage and left elbow.
Sometimes balance is not about working the same areas of each side equally. He came out of the session with his shoulders and trunk more balanced and without pain. I received a text message from his wife this morning saying he still had no pain and felt so much better!
Register now for SMRT: shoulder, axilla, ribcage, & upper back in Wilmington, NC from August 3-5, 2018. 10% early registration discount ends July 3, 2018.