Shoulder Impingements Fixed with Thera-Band Exercise Program & Massage



Quick anatomy lesson about the Rotator Cuff 

The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles and tendons (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) that attach to the bones of the shoulder joint, stabilizing it and allowing it to move about freely.

As kids, we got a quick skeletal anatomy lesson with the song Dem Bones stating that “the arm bone’s connected to the shoulder bone.” The shoulder joint is in fact a ball and socket type joint where the top part of the arm bone (humerus) does form a joint with the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff holds the head of the humerus into the scapula, thus controlling the shoulder joint’s movement.

The rotator cuff tendons pass underneath a bony area on their way to attaching the top part of the arm bone. When these tendons become inflamed, they can become more frayed over this area during shoulder movements. Sometimes, a bone spur may narrow the space even more.

What causes a Shoulder Impingement (Rotator Cuff Tendinitis)?

According to PubMed Health, years of poor posture, as well as the usual fraying of the tendons that occurs with age may lead to rotator cuff tendinitis.  There are several ways this could happen…

What are signs and symptoms of a Shoulder Impingement?

Pain can occur doing overhead activities and lifting your arm to the side such as hair brushing, reaching up for objects, or playing an overhead sport.

The pain may be mild at first when performing only certain movements of the arm.  However, over time, the pain may be present at rest or at night, especially when lying on the affected shoulder.

 Good News for Shoulder Impingement Sufferers!

A recent Swedish research study suggests that therapeutic exercise using Thera-Band elastic bands and tubing combined with massage therapy is as effective as surgery for patients with subacromial shoulder impingement (Haar et al 2005, Brox et al. 1993).

The Study:

The 12 week study focused on 102 patients with chronic subacromial impingement syndrome (SAIS) lasting greater than 6 months. The strengthening program included dumbbell and elastic tubing exercises including eccentric rotator cuff and scapular stabilizer strengthening.

All patients attended physical therapy once a week for the first 2 weeks, and once every other week for the next 10 weeks, and performed their exercises once or twice a day.

The Results:

65% of the participants using Thera-Band elastic tubing reported successful outcomes with a 20% need for subacromical decompression surgery after the Thera-Band exercise program.

For the complete exercise protocol, just ask for it at your next massage appointment.

Sources: PubMed HealthThera-Band Academy Blog

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Morgan is a highly skilled masseur with a great deal of experience, and an amazing range of expertise in different massage techniques and traditions. He combines thorough knowledge of anatomy and musculature with excellent instincts and intuition for reading the body. I went to him several times with activity-related injuries (a back problem from skiing, a shoulder injury, etc) and each time, he was able to figure out a treatment that improved my mobility and decreased my pain significantly. I have referred several friends to him, and they have had similar experiences. His office is bright and spotlessly clean, and I suspect anyone would feel comfortable with and confident in his treatment. Best of all, he is a true professional–prompt, efficient, thorough–and seems to really care about the needs, health, and comfort of his clients.

- Steve McCauley