Shoulder and arm pain may be caused by many factors. Some causes may be serious conditions that require medical attention and you should consult your doctor first. There are four very different causes of pain in this area that may be successfully treated with advanced massage techniques.
1) Shoulder and arm pain can originate in the neck being caused by a bulging or herniated disc causing nerve root compression* resulting in pain, numbness or tingling along the nerve pathway down the shoulder into the arm. *Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may be required.
a) the scalene muscles where the nerves exit the vertebrae in the neck (thoracic outlet syndrome and/or protracted head syndrome)
b) between the pectoralis minor muscle and the ribs as the nerve plexus crosses the chest toward the armpit
c) as the nerve passes through the pronator teres muscle in the forearm at the elbow.
3) A third cause of pain in this area are trigger points in the muscles of the neck, shoulders or arm that cause referred pain to the shoulder, arm, wrist and hand. This can mimic pain caused by nerve root compression or nerve entrapment causing numbness, tingling or pain in the shoulder or the arm and is exclusively a soft tissue problem and is very successfully treated with.
4) Joint injury see Joint Pain & Arthritis
All of these scenarios with the possible exceptions of severely herniated discs and severe joint injuries* may be helped with neuromuscular massage therapy and other modalities. * Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may be required.
Other specific conditions causing shoulder pain and arm pain may be successfully treated with therapeutic massage including: minor rotator cuff injuries and strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, forward "slumped" shoulders, shoulder separation- during post surgery recovery or in non-severe cases, bicipital tendinitis, pectoralis syndrome, sub-acromial bursitis may be helped by treating the surrounding muscles, glenohumeral dislocation/subluxation during the recovery phase of treatment, olecranon bursitis, and neuromuscular pain.
Massage therapists do not diagnose medical conditions nor is this information intended to replace medical counsel. It is always advised to consult your physician first when you are seeking pain relief as there are many conditions with similar symptoms and some of them are life threatening and require medical attention.