Physical Therapy Paired with Shoulder Pain Massage Therapy @ Bodyworks DW by Meghan Krupka LMT

Tag Team for Your Shoulder Pain: Massage Therapy and Physical Therapy

Meghan Krupka

LMT, Meghan Krupka breaks down the major benefits of receiving medical massage therapy in addition to physical therapy treatments to address your shoulder pain. Check it out!

The newest medical information is now easy to find online and shows that the surgical boom of the 90’s didn’t actually produce better results for patients with shoulder pain. As a result, more patients are turning to alternative, more conservative treatments (ie non-surgical) for dealing with this. These alternative treatments often include massage therapy and physical therapy. 

Surgery frequently relies on images (i.e. MRI, X-Ray) to determine a course of action. However, studies have shown that surgically fixing the anomalies found in these images doesn’t always solve the pain. In fact, for many common pains including low back, neck, and shoulder pain, surgery had similar results to simply doing physical therapy

Pain medication is used to treat your symptoms, but usually won’t address the root cause. Massage and physical therapy look at the whole picture of your history, body alignment, posture, and movements. Both approach the problem from an integrative and comprehensive perspective. They seek to identify the underlying cause of your shoulder pain and give you the tools to move better without pain. 

More About Shoulder Pain and Common Pathologies

Shoulder pain is a common complaint. In primary care scenarios, the reported annual incidence of shoulder pain is 14.7 per every 1000 patients per year. For those with previous shoulder pain, the recurrence rate is about 25%. Additionally, nearly 40-50% of those experiencing previous shoulder pain will still report some pain after 12 months. 

The most common shoulder pain pathology is rotator cuff disorders, accounting for upwards of two thirds of cases. The “rotator cuff” is a group of four muscles. They stabilize and hold your arm bone (humerus) in the socket on your shoulder blade (scapula). The fancy name for your shoulder socket is the glenohumeral joint and the glenoid cavity of the scapula. 

The four muscles are colloquially known as the “SITS” muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. The muscle bellies of these muscles are located on your shoulder blade. The tendons of these muscles (white areas shown in image below) pull your humerus into the glenoid cavity to provide stability and rotation of the arm.

Types of Rotator Cuff Injuries 

Rotator cuff disorders can include: (1) inflammation of the rotator cuff muscle tendons, (2) inflammation of a bursa in this area of the shoulder, (3) impingement of a rotator cuff muscle tendon and (4) partial or complete tears of the rotator cuff muscle tendons. 

Image courtesy of:

Adhesive capsulitis (“frozen shoulder”) accounts for approximately 2% of cases. In this condition, the connective tissue around the glenohumeral joint becomes stiffer, inflamed and potentially thicker. The exact cause is not known. The result of this stiffness and inflammation is restricted motion and chronic pain or discomfort.  

Other common shoulder pathologies include tendonitis, labrum tears and acromioclavicular joint disorders. All of them basically suck in varying ways 🙁 

Why Surgery and Pain Medication Are Not Always the Best Options

In the last decade, medical imaging has taken more of a back seat to more comprehensive assessment. Images don’t necessarily tell the full story. They also don’t always correspond to the symptoms a patient is presenting with. Nor can they necessarily capture the full picture of a patient’s history. 

Surgery primarily relies on this single view of a person’s anatomy to determine an invasive form of action. After a traumatic event, surgery may certainly be indicated as the most viable option. However, research has recently been pointing towards conservative treatment for less traumatic events. For instance, a full rotator cuff tear that completely severs the muscle will require surgery. However a partial tear usually responds better to non surgical approaches. 

Pain Medication Can Be a Useful Crutch But Has Very Negative Long Term Effects

Medication for pain, on the other hand, treats symptoms. Its prescribed for a broad range of symptoms that may not necessarily be specific to your condition or injury. Medication will mask the feelings of pain, but likely won’t resolve them. Pain medication can be temporarily useful if you are having trouble sleeping or performing day to day activities–things you need to be able to do. 

However, it should not be a substitute for receiving comprehensive treatment from physical therapy, massage therapy or preferably both together. Your pain is telling you something important about your body. 

The treatment goals of a physical therapist and massage therapist are to determine a comprehensive approach. We use your symptoms, medical history, daily activities and habitual movement patterns to figure out how best to treat your pain. And we don’t just address your symptoms. We address your whole body to keep them from coming back!

How Massage Therapy and Physical Therapy Go Hand-in-Hand for Shoulder Pain

Physical therapy and massage therapy can complement each other very well. With many shoulder pathologies, shoulder movement needs to be relearned, refined and/or regained. Shoulder musculature also will need to be strengthened in order to protect the structure. Physical therapists are great at assessing your movement restrictions. They will be able to put together a plan for you to gain back your shoulder function from a strength, activation, and motor control perspective. 

A physical therapist’s skill set and education may include some manual therapy but they mainly deal with rehabilitative exercise. Their education on manual therapy is also not nearly as comprehensive as that of a massage therapist. They often prefer to leave any needed in-depth manual therapy  to the hands of experienced medical massage therapists. 

Massage Therapy is best for getting tissue open – PT is best for stabilizing and strengthening

Manual therapy or massage can often be indicated and useful for shoulder pain. Especially in tandem with a physical therapist. Massage therapy is a great way to tell your nervous system to tell it to stop sending pain signals to an area. Massage therapy can also break up and elongate scar tissue and adhesions. And utilize methods such a PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) to slowly gain back range of motion. 

When working based on your physical therapist’s assessment, a massage therapist can be more specific and targeted in their approach and treatment plan. And vice versa. Together as a team they can determine and answer questions. Such as which muscles aren’t firing? Where do you need more range of motion? Which muscles might need to be encouraged to release or “let go”? As the physical therapy slowly be surely builds strength and stability, your massage therapy sessions can catapult you more quickly to increased range of motion and ease. 

Sample Scenario: Partial Rotator Cuff Tear 

Imagine that you are a painter who has been painting interior spaces for over 10 years. Painting requires significant use of your arm in an overhead position. And involves lots of repetitive motion. You started to feel fatigue and soreness in your right shoulder area a couple of months ago. But this has happened before and usually you bounce back in a few weeks. 

Except this time it doesn’t bounce back and gets slowly worse. Now you are having difficulty keeping your arm up and working for extended periods of time.

After consulting with an orthopedic doctor, your decide to get an MRI so they can see what is going on. The MRI shows a partial tear in your supraspinatus tendon (part of your rotator cuff). You decide to explore conservative treatment options that include physical therapy and massage therapy. 

How Massage Therapy and Physical Therapy Get You Back in Action

Your physical therapist works with you to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles, through gentle exercises. Including the one that shows a tear, but also the surrounding ones as well. You work to slowly increase your resistance and load bearing. The goal is to be able to use your shoulder while still remaining pain-free. You also work on your range of motion so that you can comfortably have your arm above your head again. 

In coordination with your physical therapist, your massage therapist works with you to decrease any inflammation and tenderness in your rotator cuff muscles. Your massage therapist also uses stretching and neuromuscular techniques to help complement the strength and mobility work the physical therapist is doing. In addition, they will also identify and help release other areas of your body that may be contributing to your shoulder tightness such as your oblique abdominals. 

Within several weeks, you are seeing significant improvement in your discomfort. After a few months of dedicated work, you feel completely back to normal. You continue to follow exercise and stretching protocols for 10-15 minutes each day and receive maintenance massages about once every 4-6 weeks. This simple and basic routine helps to make sure your shoulders can continue to keep up with the demands of your job for years to come. 

All without surgery and without long term need for pain medication!   

Come Get Your Shoulder Pain Massage and Assessment

Bodyworks DW massage therapists are trained to help with multiple shoulder pain pathologies. They are also trained to work with and understand physical therapists and their jargon. Our therapists are ready to help you find out if massage therapy could be a part of your shoulder pain rehabilitation plan. Already had surgery? Massage therapy can still provide major benefits in your recovery towards normal and healthy shoulder function! Once you’re working with a physical therapist after your surgery, it’s safe to add massage therapy as well 🙂 

Would you like to schedule a shoulder pain massage in New York City? You can schedule sessions for shoulder pain massage in Midtown or in the Financial District. Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at either of our studios!

Omer Unluata Takes on Text Neck

Senior LMT, Omer Unluata talks about “Text Neck”

Omer Unluata, senior massage therapist at Bodyworks DW, is our March therapist of the month! Read his interview below where he takes on "Text Neck" massage, why he decided to be an LMT, and one of his great success stories in this field. 

Omer Unluata

What is the most common pain issue you see with your clients?

Forward head posture aka “text neck”, “reading neck” and related discomfort/pain, by far, is the most common issue that presents itself amongst clients. It is the forward positioning of the cervical spine, resulting in lot of physical problems. This is due to the extra pressure on the neck from altered or weak posture. When you take the subway, you may observe pretty much all commuters in some form of a forward head posture looking down their phones. Text neck is so common that it can be considered normal these days. Text neck massage should be just as common to combat it 🙂

Usually accompanied by kyphosis (hunchback) and rounded shoulders, this is one of the most typical causes of tension and pain in the neck, head, shoulders, and jaw. It can cause tingling and numbness in the arms, headaches and migraines.

How do you work to correct this issue with text neck massage?

With forward head posture, your head shifts forward, closer to your chest. As you still need to look forward, you compensate by lifting your chin up, shortening the sub occipitals, the muscles at the backside of the base of your skull. As well as your scalenes and SCM, the muscles at the front and side of your neck. Accordingly, the treatment involves myofascial release of suboccipitals, scalenes and SCM. This enables the retraction of the cervical spine and brings it back to its neutral alignment.

Non local work includes, but isn't limited to, release of chest, arms, ear, jaw and scalp fascia. It's reinforced by postural work of deep abdominals, hamstrings calves and feet. This will really help clients combat their text neck.

This truly is a case that needs to be addressed head to toes.

One of my favorite parts of the treatment is how most clients state that they feel taller even after the initial session. I end each treatment showing clients easy self care methods that actually resemble the bodywork that was performed to create new & healthier patterns that will prohibit text neck. These are mostly fascia stretches that aim for more functional results compared to local stretches.

For a quick way to help calm your muscles, check out these aromatherapy hot/cold pads:

What inspired you to start a career in massage therapy?

After I moved to New York 17 years ago, I had a restaurant/bar business which was extremely stressful. I had been longing for a stress free environment for a long time. I listened to my instincts and followed the signs. Having studied Civil engineering in college, I’ve always had an appreciation for physics. My athletic background and education in personal training helped me understand the human body mechanics. Samantha, my spouse, who is also a licensed massage therapist/personal trainer introduced me to massage therapy. It all finally made sense to me. I was able to put all 3 careers in one. It helped me advance pretty quickly while giving me the peace I’ve been looking for.

Do you have a favorite area to work on? What do you like about it?

More than any part in particular I have a favorite technique that I like to perform on different fascia lines. Stretching tissue between two different body parts giving it a sheer feeling. Like a simultaneous release on erectors and hamstrings or hamstrings hip attachment and the heel bone. This technique really compliments any local bodywork. It connects the parts making it functional similar to how the body executes a movement.

Do you have a favorite massage therapy success story?

I have a client who takes their marathons very seriously. This person suffered from a knee issue which disabled him pretty badly. He was no longer able to run more than a few miles without any discomfort.

He had never had any serious injuries prior to this which is usually the case for repetitive stress injuries.

You don’t feel any discomfort and all of a sudden you're in trouble. At first, we had minor success but the issue kept coming back. It took us a few sessions to be able to figure out the correct approach. We both were very patient. Finally, we were able to bring him to the desired pain free state. What makes the story special for me is that when he finished the race, he texted me with photos immediately to let me know how grateful he was. I was on vacation in Turkey at the time being. That caught me by surprise. The happiness on his face was priceless. That was a great day!

In my experience, when you're in a healer practice these success stories, no matter how simple they may sound, bring so much happiness to both the healer and the client.

Book an Appointment with Omer!

Shoulder Pain Massage at Bodyworks DW in New York City

Shoulder Pain: What’s Causing Yours and How Massage Therapy can Help

David Weintraub, LMT is the owner of Bodyworks DW. In this blog, he writes about shoulder pain massage in New York City. What causes shoulder pain and how can massage help?

Shoulder Pain Massage, David Weintraub

Shoulder pain is one of the most common issues people face today. The shoulder is a very complex set of muscles and bones designed for a large variety of movements. In order to gain that freedom of movement, evolution had to sacrifice some stability. This makes shoulders especially vulnerable to injury. Both impact injuries such as a torn rotator cuff, and overuse injuries such as a pinched nerve. Thankfully, shoulder pain massage can work wonders on many types of shoulder pain.

How Your Shoulders Work - Two Joints, Not Just One!

The shoulder actually consists of two distinct joints, the shoulder joint and the shoulder girdle.

The Shoulder Joint

The arm bone (humerus) connected to socket of the shoulder blade makes up the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint allows for movement of the arm in many directions. All while keeping the shoulder blade locked in place. Your shoulder joint can move your arm forwards, backwards, sideways. As well as rotating your arm in the socket.

There are many different muscles that attached to the humerus and allow for these movements. The pectoral major, latissimus, and deltoid create forwards, backwards, and sideways movements of the arm. The rotator cuff set of muscles creates rotational movements. Contrary to popular belief there is no “rotator cuff muscle.” The rotator cuff actually refers to a set of 4 different muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres major, and subscapularis.

The Shoulder Girdle

The shoulder girdle is made up of the shoulder blade and clavicle (collarbone) and their relation to the ribcage. The shoulder girdle allow for movement of the shoulder around the ribcage without having to move the arm. When you roll your shoulders without lifting your arms you are moving your shoulder girdle joints.

There are a lot of different muscles that move the shoulder girdle. These include trapezius, rhomboids, levator scapula, serratus anterior, and pectoralis minor. Interestingly, the shoulder girdle bones are basically free floating on top of the rib cage. The clavicle is attached to the sternum by ligaments in the way we think of most joints working. With the bones close together and separated by cartilage. There is a ligament that attaches the shoulder blade to the ribs. However, it is long and allows for a lot of movement. Making it unlike other ligaments in the body. This ligament's basic function is to keep the shoulder girdle from shifting too far in any direction.

Common Shoulder Pain Inducing Injuries and How Shoulder Pain Massage Can Help

Rotator Cuff Tear/Tendonitis

Of all the types of shoulder injuries, we hear about rotator cuff tears most often. The four rotator cuff muscles are especially vulnerable to small, medium, and large tears. Usually due to impact injuries. Slipping on the ice or stairs and catching your fall with your arm is a common way to rip one of these muscles.

Pain usually shows up with certain arm movements and not others and can range from mild aches, to sharp debilitating pain.

I once worked on a mountain climber whose rigging failed and he started falling. Luckily he caught himself with one hand. Unluckily, he managed to tear all four of his rotator cuff muscles. And his labrum (the ligaments holding the humerus or “armbone” to the scapula or “shoulder blade”). The pure adrenaline flood that his body pumped him with allowed him to still pull himself up to safety and finish the climb. Later after he was safe on the ground and the adrenaline wore off, he stopped being able to lift his arm!

Rotator cuff tears can also happen slowly over time with repetitive motions

Tennis players, baseball pitchers, and football quarterbacks run into this injury a lot. Throwing something over and over can eventually stress out the muscles. And lead to small tears in the tendons. Usually after a few years of this, they push too hard in a game and a big tear opens up.

Shoulder pain massage therapy can help a lot with all kinds of rotator cuff injuries. By working directly on the four muscles, as well as the other shoulder joint muscles, a well trained massage therapist can restore range of motion. With most clients a series of sessions can bring back most to all of the original function.

In addition, massage therapy is amazing for athletes who use their rotator cuff who haven’t had the big blow out yet. We’ve worked on pro tennis players and pitchers and seen immediate increases in top serve and fastball speeds!

Bursitis & Frozen Shoulder

Both of these conditions can cause a total immobilization of the shoulder joint making it very difficult and painful to lift the arm in any direction. While technically different, the two terms are often used interchangeably. Pain is usually severe and the loss of movement has a big impact on daily life.

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae. These are tiny fluid filled sacs that basically act as ball bearings for your tendons. They allow tendons to slide over bones at places where the bone might grind the tendon down.

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is inflammation of the joint capsule itself. Like the name implies, it’s a “sticky” inflammation that prevents tissues from sliding across each other.

In both conditions, any movement of the shoulder joint causes inflamed tissues to rub against other tissues causing intense and immobilizing pain

Treating either condition may require medication, either a localized cortisone shot, oral muscle relaxants, and/or anti-inflammatories. In addition, physical therapy is needed to build strength back and slowly but surely unstick the tissues from each other. Shoulder pain massage therapy can help a great deal to speed this process along. Massage Therapy and physical therapy compliment each other very well. Done concurrently clients restore movement much faster than with either modality alone.

Nerve Impingement in either the Neck or the Shoulder & TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome)

Another very common cause of shoulder pain is a pinched nerve. This can happen due to repetitive stress conditions that pull the head and shoulders forward. It can also happen due to an impact injury such as whiplash.

The nerves for the entire arm originate in the spine between the 4th and 7th cervical vertebrae. This set of nerves is called the Brachial Plexus. Brachial means “arm” in Latin. These nerves travel down through the upper shoulder underneath the levator scapula muscles. Then they pass under the scalene muscles of the front of your neck.

Next, under the pectoralis minor muscles, then between the subscapularis and serratus anterior muscles. There is opportunity for a nerve impingement by the bones or muscles of the spine, as well as any of the muscles the nerves pass between. Nerves that get impinged in between muscles of the armpit are often called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Overly tight muscles on one side can be a culprit as well as scar tissue sticking to the nerves due to injury

Impinged nerves can cause dull achy pain that travels throughout the shoulder, to sharp pain, weakness, or muscle cramping. It can also involve tingling, numbness, or burning pain. The pain can be constant or only occur with particular movements.

If the impingement is caused by a structural issue, such as a malformed bone due to a break, surgery may be the only recourse. However, if the impingement is caused due to muscle imbalances shoulder pain massage can do a lot to relieve you. Myofascial release work can unstick scar tissue from nerves as well as create space between the muscles for nerves. Physical therapy to strengthen weaker muscles can help retain the relief.

Treatment With Shoulder Pain Massage in New York at Bodyworks DW

Shoulder pain can range from slightly annoying to truly awful. We forget how often we use our shoulder until simply putting on a coat becomes a painful time consuming affair.

Thankfully, most shoulder pain is treatable and  shoulder pain massage in New York at our studio is here to help. At Bodyworks DW each session is custom tailored to a client’s individual needs. We give you a thorough intake so that we can determine exactly what the cause of your shoulder pain is and how best to treat it.

The number of sessions depends on the type of pain and cause

In addition, we may recommend fewer massage therapy session if you are also seeing a physical therapist. Work usually involves local deep tissue work on all of the muscles of the shoulder joint and girdle, as well as the deeper neck muscles. Follow up sessions will likely also focus on improving overall posture to help the shoulders sit comfortably balanced on the ribcage. This will allow all of the shoulder muscles to relax and heal. And the relief will last much longer with future episodes less likely.

It’s never too late to be pain-free and feel comfortable in daily life again. We offer shoulder pain massage in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City.

If you would like to schedule an amazing shoulder pain massage experience, please contact Bodyworks DW today or click the button to book online at our massage therapy midtown or massage therapy fidi studios.

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text neck massage therapy neck pain shoulder pain

Save your text neck

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about "text neck," what it is and ways to prevent it.

David Weintraub

The perils of “always on” technology:

Okay, so your "text neck" probably won’t actually kill you (unless you are texting and driving). However, it’s becoming increasingly likely that at some point in the next 5-10 years of tech use, you’ll develop a repetitive stress disorder.

The phrase carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain) has been part of the collective conscious for several decades. It's so common as a disrupter of productivity that it has spawned an entire industry of ergonomics solutions. These range from special keyboards to Star Trek styled full desk/monitor set ups. All keep you at your desk longer making trades, typing contracts, writing legal memos.

And then the 2000’s came along. Most of us jumped all in with smartphones and laptops and tablets.

Suddenly we could be productive all the time.

Standing on the subway platform?

Let me check my email.

Taking the train in from CT?

Let me just go over those sales reports.

Date just went to the bathroom?

Let me text my assistant to make sure I’m set up for tomorrow’s board meeting.

Unfortunately, there are costs to constant device use that might change your mind about your phone and tablet.

Looking down at our phone, tablet, or laptop, pulls our head forward and down. This imbalances all the muscles holding up your head (ahem... text neck). These imbalances can cause any and all of the following:

  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain
  • TMJ
  • headaches
  • low back pain
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • anxiety
  • low energy
  • bone loss
  • depression
  • memory loss

Sound scary? Don’t believe it?

Check out this New York Times article: Keep Your Head Up: How Smartphone Addiction Kills Manners and Moods

Like many things that aren’t healthy for us, these costs are not going to suddenly show up tomorrow. They build up over time. In ways that make it hard to track what the changes are doing to your body. However, there is hope for us all!

What can I do about this?

I’m not some Luddite preaching that we should all return to farming. I happen to be a business owner with 20+ employees and have tech in so many screen sizes it’s getting ridiculous. I deal with text neck too. 

I’ve got a smartwatch, smartphone, an iPad for home and one for work, an airbook laptop, an iMac at my desk. Not to mention the 15 other devices I have at the office for the staff to be "productive" on. I’m just as tempted as you to go on my phone on the subway and read articles on Facebook or Twitter to pass the time. So I decided to try something out...

Experiments DW

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve been running an experiment to see just how much I can lighten up my daily commute (see the last blog post on how much we carry around with us and tips to help with that).

I’ve gotten down to just leaving home with the following:

That’s right….NO BAG.

I had to get really clear on what my time is worth to me and what my long term health is worth to me. And I had to spend some extra cash to duplicate certain items at work and at home so that I wouldn’t have to cart them back and forth.

Is it worth it? For me this experiment has been a fascinating eye opener. It’s also reduced my daily stress levels by about 20-30%.

I have less issues with headaches at day end, my back feels better, and my overall mood has noticeably improved.

I’ve got new rules for my text neck, I count em:

#1: I am not allowed to look at my phone during my commute except to choose music.

#2: I am only allowed to work while at the office, or while at my desk at my home office. The couch is only for relaxing and the bed is only for sleeping (and well, you know…).

#3: If I need something both at work and at home, I duplicate that item rather than carry it back and forth. The value in stress reduction and ease of movement on my body is a long-term savings in health and self-care costs down the road.

#4: If I do have to look at a device, I hold it up to horizon level and keep my head up.

#5: When my arm gets tired of holding up the device to eye level rather than looking down, it’s time to take a break and put it away.

You may think I’m crazy for buying a second iPad to keep one at work and one at the office. Really the only reason for me to do that is that it has become my primary note taking device for my life coaching sessions. Sure, I could take notes on paper, but then I’d have to create a filing system for them. The iPad keeps all my notes for each client on the cloud.

Of course, you’ll have to do your own analysis of the following:

- what you can and can’t do without

- how much is your time is worth

- which work can be left until tomorrow or

- what work can be put on hold for the 45 minutes to 2 hours you spend on your commute

You’ll probably come up with different ways to reduce your load and stress than I have. (For instance, maybe it’s spending the extra cash on a monthly gym locker. You can leave your workout gear there most of the time.) Prioritize those ideas and see for yourself how helpful it can be. 

Are you willing to give lightening your load and keeping your head up a try? Yes? Your text neck will thank you.

shoulder pain

Winter & Workouts — A Recipe for Shoulder Pain. Here’s How to Fix It!

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about preventative shoulder pain techniques to get you through the winter.

David Weintraub

Your Shoulders and Winter are not good friends…

Have you booked a massage therapy for shoulder pain session yet? If not, you’ll probably feel like we are psychics in a few weeks…

It’s that most wonderful time of year…okay, actually it’s not all that wonderful right now.
The holidays are over, it’s freezing cold, and it’s a new year at the office with new projects, stress, and pressure.

And the cold just started….we’ve still got 10-14 weeks to go 😬🤒

Add in indoor exercise to that (weightlifting, yoga, boxing, Crossfit) and you’ve got a perfect recipe for shoulder pain and injuries…..

Winter Shoulder Pain Recipe

  • 1/4 cup “lifting shoulders due to cold”

  • 1 cup “stressing at work” which engages our fight/flight response and lifts the shoulders

  • 1 tablespoon “indoor exercise” which impacts shoulders more intensely (due to the other above ingredients)…

This recipe leads to overuse injuries such as rotator cuff tears, biceps tendonitis, and bursitis. 

What you get when this cake is baked is “I don’t know what happened….but my right (or left) shoulder just started hurting…..HELP!”

Shoulder Pain in Winter: What YOU can do about it

If you haven’t gotten to the pain level yet, congrats!

If you don’t want to get there, come see us for massage therapy for shoulder pain (or any other pains you are dealing with). In the meantime, the following will absolutely help to prevent further injury:

Invest in a good winter coat, hat, scarf (no, really)

  • Fashion is cool and all…and usually cold too. You may not like wearing a parka, or messing up your hair with a hat, but your shoulders will thank you if you are warm enough.
  • Your body is dealing with cold that it’s not insulated against.
  • Our nervous system is hardwired to “protect the important bits” (ie your head and your trunk where all of your important organs are).
  • It raises the arms and shoulders in a self hug to bring more body heat to your brain (the most important bit) and lungs.
  • This is brain stem level instinctual….if your body is cold enough to be scared of hypothermia it will raise your shoulders no matter how much you want them not to.

Warm up inside for a few minutes before sitting down (Desk = Death)

  • After you get inside and take off your coat, hat, scarf, spend several minutes walking around your office or house before sitting down.
  • Give your muscles some time to warm up, acclimate, and loosen up before sitting and staying in one position. Otherwise, they will tighten up into a sitting position even more than during the rest of the year.

Stretch (Desk = Death: Part 2)

  • Do some light stretching and moving, especially hip stretching and twists. These tend to get super locked up walking around in boots and trudging through snow and wind.
  • Swing your arms lightly around and roll your shoulders to help loosen up. Normally this happens while walking, but in winter we tend to keep our hands in our pockets. This holds the shoulders locked in place. Hence your shoulder pain!
  • Check out our YouTube page! We have a bunch of self-care at the office stretches to help you out in quick, easy to watch videos 🙂 

Make sure to warm up properly at the gym before going hard

  • Again, when you first get inside at the gym spend several minutes just letting your body warm up. Acclimate after being outside in the cold!
  • It’s even more important during winter months to spend that 10 minutes doing light stretching and warm up exercises. Try light walking or jogging on the treadmill. Before going full out, try a few reps of lifts with much lighter weight than you intend to lift during your workout. (Of course, you SHOULD be doing this throughout the year 🤔).
  • Does your gym have a steam room or sauna? Take advantage of that! Just make sure to bring in water to drink as you’ll sweat out even more fluids in there.

Hydration is vital

  • Winter means heating, which means DRY AIR. It’s going to take more water and fluids intake than you are used to drinking to stay hydrated.
  • Muscles that are stiff from the cold and under-hydrated are WAY more prone to injury.
  • Do you own a humidifier at home? No? Get one (or two or three….). Fluid loss at night while sleeping under heavy blankets and dry NYC heat is guaranteed. And it’s a surefire recipe for muscle injury and getting whatever nasty little flu or cold bugs are floating around the office.
  • Book a massage!
  • Why not take care of yourself? Massage therapy for shoulder pain, hip pain, foot, pain, low back pain, and any other pains that crop up during winter months is a no brainer.
  • And no, it’s not going to just wear off the moment you step back outside 🙂 

What WE can can help you with: massage therapy for shoulder pain

Some of our clients disappear for a while during the winter months. It’s harder to convince yourself to get to the studio when it means extra time outside in the cold and snow. We take on a “this sucks and I’ve just got to make through until Spring” attitude in NYC.

Why suffer?

Getting massage therapy for shoulder pain every 3-6 weeks is even more useful in the winter. You are going to tighten up no matter what you try to do on your own. A few massages during the winter means that you’ll far more likely to enter spring training injury free.

And if you are feeling any sharp shoulder pain during exercise now, don’t ignore it and hope it will get better. We can work on it to keep it from becoming a full blown rotator cuff tear or torn labrum. Not to mention biceps tendonitis…

The advantage to working with our team is that we customize every session to meet your needs for wherever your body is at that day.

Also, we have heated massage tables and delicious ginger tea 🙂