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Treatments for Shoulder Pain when Reaching Overhead

Learn about treatments for shoulder pain used by Lift Clinic’s team of Vancouver physio, chiro, RMT and strength coaches! 

This post will focus on treatments for shoulder pain used by Lift Clinic clinicians to help you fix shoulder pain and improve sports performance. One way that we measure your shoulder’s ability to reach overhead is with the “arms over head” assessment. Check out our previous post on shoulder assessments to learn more. Once we find the cause of your shoulder pain, the next step is to use hands-on treatment to get you started on beating pain for good.

This post is a continuation of our blog series on our full body assessment. If you haven’t already, visit our blog page to learn more about how we assess and treat other movements in the body.

When you come in for an intial assessment, we will assess these 10 movement patterns in your body. By finding limitations in these movement patterns and by looking beyond the site of your injury, our clinicians can find the root cause of your pain and bring lasting results

For any given movement pattern, our treatment approach follows 4 primary steps:

Techniques used to test ranges of motion and find the root causes of limitations

Hands on treatment techniques used to improve & restore limited range of motion

Exercises or self treatments that help maintain the gains made from the reset techniques. 

Exercises that develop strength, resilience, and coordination for the desired movement pattern.

8 treatments for shoulder pain:

Chest massage treatment for shoulder pain

1) Pec STM

Soft tissue mobilizations (STM) help to desensitize muscles that restrict mobility through the shoulder. Massaging a tight pec (chest muscle) can improve external rotation in the shoulder and improve shoulder pain.

Shoulder massage treatment for shoulder pain

2) Subscapularis STM

The subscapularis is a rotator cuff muscle that sits underneath the shoulder blade. Massaging a tight subscapularis can also improve external rotation in the shoulder.

Book an appointment to get treatments for shoulder pain now!
Lat massage for shoulder pain

3) Lat STM

Massaging the a tight lat muscle can free up external rotation and flexion in the shoulder. Freeing up range of motion can help to treat shoulder pain.

Shoulder blade treatment for shoulder pain

4) Shoulder blade abduction mobilization

Here we are guiding the shoulder blade as we move into arm abduction. Abduction is the movement of moving your arms out to the side. This treatment technique is helps your shoulder blade move more freely and improves shoulder range of motion.

Upper back adjustment for shoulder pain

5) Upper back extension adjustment

This upper back adjustment helps to mobilize the vertebrae and the joints that make up your upper spine. This can help with thoracic spine extension, which is the movement of bending back with your upper back.

Spine adjustment for shoulder pain

6) Upper back rotation adjustment

This upper back adjustment helps to mobilize the vertebrae and the joints that make up your upper spine. This helps with thoracic spine rotation, which is the movement of rotating your upper back.

Shoulder blade treatment for overhead pain

6) Shoulder blade flexion mobilization

Here we are guiding the shoulder blade as we move the arm into flexion. Flexion is the movement of moving your arms upwards and forwards. This treatment technique is helps your shoulder blade move more freely which can improve shoulder range of motion.

Shoulder treatment for shoulder pain

7) Shoulder external rotation mobilization

Here we are guiding the shoulder into external rotation, which is the movement where the shoulder rotates backwards, as seen the picture to the left. 

Dry needling for shoulder pain

8) Dry needling

Dry needling can be helpful in restoring mobility through the shoulder by influencing the muscle, fascia, and nervous system. Relaxing these muscles helps to treat shoulder pain.


What's next?

Treatments for shoulder pain are a great way to alleviate pain and improve mobility in your shoulder. However, without proper maintenance through exercise, the results of these techniques will only be temporary. To lock in these mobility gains, you will need to perform reinforcing and reloading exercises. 

On that note, stay tuned for the next post in the series: Arms Over Head Reinforce

See what our clients have to say

Michael Thompson
I went to see Henry at Lift after speaking with both my doctor and two massage therapists regarding issues in my neck and shoulders and an inability to lift my right arm above the horizontal. Within 10 minutes Henry had identified the main issues, isolated them into acute and chronic types and by the end of our first appointment had developed an exercise routine for me to follow at home. I started to see improvement within days which has continued gradually during the following weeks and follow-up appointments. Henry is professional, helpful and adaptive to different clients’ lifestyles and personal exercise routines. The clinic is also able to charge my extended healthcare provider directly avoiding the need for unnecessary paperwork. I would recommend to anyone.
Nicole McNamara
After needing shoulder surgery back in 2017, I was so afraid that I would be one of those volleyball athletes who struggles with shoulder pain their entire career. Thanks to Travis and his team at Lift Clinic, I trust that this isn’t the case. Travis helped me so much throughout my recovery, and has continued to do so over the years. He has so much knowledge of the human body and the importance of the neck when it comes to shoulder health. After releasing tension in my neck my shoulder felt stronger and without pain. I am so grateful for Travis and Lift Clinic for helping me keep my shoulder healthy over the years so that I can feel my best out on the court!

Meet Lift Clinic - a team of Vancouver Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and RMT Massage Therapy practitioners who believe in strength and movement for life.

Have pain or movement goals?

Lift Clinic is located in East Vancouver at 4030 Knight St. Our team of Vancouver physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and strength coaches is ready to help you reach your goals as efficiently as possible! Click Book Now to get started, or Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to speak directly to a Vancouver physio, chiro or RMT about your situation before you book.

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