“Often try what weight you can support, and what your shoulders are too weak to bear.” – Wentworth Dillon, 4th Earl of Roscommon
Physical pain is an unavoidable reality of living. From those minor, almost imperceptible twinges that we endure at work or at play, to the intense pain that comes with injuries or illness, it is a condition that is inherent with being human.
However, most of us have learned how to minimize, mitigate, and avoid most physical pain in life. But there are times when chronic or recurring pain seems to arise from nowhere.
And shoulder pain is one of the most common and, many times, one of the most debilitating.
Our Shoulders Can Literally Take on the ‘Weight” of Our World
Our society has been talking about stress for decades now and, as a result, most all of us are familiar with the causes and effects of stress on our minds, emotions, and bodies.
In a world filled with “stress relieving” concoctions, activities, and tools (think “stress ball”) it is somewhat distressing to many that stress never seems to subside or disappear. In fact, for many in our world of 24/7 media and an emphasis on doing more, acquiring more, and “being” more, it’s small wonder that we create much of our own excessive stress.
And, interestingly, it seems that one of the most common physical effects of this added stress shows up quite literally in our shoulders.
For example, as one orthopedic clinic website notes,
“The American Psychological Association reports that 50% of all Americans experience chronic stress. They also report that one in 10 people suffer from neck or shoulder pain. So, what’s the connection here? Studies show that high levels of emotional or psychological stress can contribute to chronic physical pain, most often in the neck and shoulders. This type of chronic pain has subsequently been linked to irritability, fatigue and even depression.”
Left untreated – whether that’s dispelling of the sources of stress or treating the pain – shoulder pain can progress into much more.
As the website at Healthline.com points out,
“The areas where you’re likely to feel stress or anxiety-related tension are in your neck and shoulders. Over time, this can lead to chronic pain as well as other health issues… According to the APA (American Psychological Association), ongoing muscle tension in your neck and shoulders can lead to more serious issues like back and shoulder pain, body aches, and migraine and tension headaches.”
How Shoulder Pain Occurs and What You Can Do
If you are suffering from recurring or chronic shoulder pain, you’re certainly not alone.
It’s been estimated that 10 percent of people, or 1 in 10, suffer from shoulder or neck pain. And the most common trigger is stress. In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) has reported that 25 percent of all Americans are subjected to elevated levels of stress while an additional 50 percent state that they regularly experience moderate chronic stress levels.
So, it would be safe to say that over 75 percent of us are dealing with significant levels of stress on a regular basis. And what does this do to us? It triggers what is known as a stress response.
According to Healthgrades,
“When the brain is triggered, the body releases cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones that prepare your body for action. Physical changes include a higher heart rate, increased blood pressure, rapid breathing and tensed muscles. When this happens repeatedly, it can cause aches, pains and irritated nerves.”
While stress is not always the root cause of chronic shoulder pain, it can aggravate other pain issues.
As the Healthgrades article explains, the body’s response to stress can result in pain. Here’s how it can impact your neck and shoulders and neck:
- Enlarges the blood vessels in your large muscle groups to allow faster oxygen delivery
- Causes you to clench and tighten muscles in the neck, jaw, and shoulders
- Increases tension in the trapezius muscles that run across the top of the back
- Restricts neck and shoulder movement
- Heightens your perception of pain and makes existing pain feel worse
Awareness is a key element in preventing or, at the very least, addressing the effects of the stress response upon your shoulder muscles and other soft tissues. In addition, there are several stretching and breathing exercises that can be utilized to help bring tension relief to your shoulder region.
But what do you do if the pain has “gotten away from you” and stretching, massage, and OTC pain medications aren’t bringing pain relief?
Lifting the “Weight” of Pain from Your Shoulders – Pain and Performance Solutions
No matter whether you work out regularly and consider yourself in “decent shape” or have a more sedentary lifestyle, chronic shoulder pain can still sideline you from many everyday activities.
The good news is that you don’t have to live with it.
By making an initial appointment with Pain and Performance Solutions, you are taking the first step to finding relief from that crippling pain and discomfort. The first thing we do is to sit down with you and learn about your present discomfort as well as your history of pain.
After completing a full examination, we are then able to determine the best form of treatment and start you along your road to recovery.
The source of shoulder pain, like many other types of pain, can be challenging to identify.
This is because, when pain occurs, our bodies will often try to compensate for the pain in order to allow us to get through the day with less pain. However, because our bodies have altered our normal movement patterns to compensate for our discomfort, this often leads to other areas of pain.
Fortunately, it is possible to accurately locate and identify the true source of your pain and apply the best therapies for bringing relief.
However, attaining chronic pain relief with therapies such as Active Release Techniques® and Anatomy in Motion (AiM) can only begin when we can understand where your pain started. That could mean it started previously with another injury you might have sustained.
When it comes to finding pain relief with Pain and Performance Solutions, your trust in us and your transparency are key. Getting your body to work properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any, and all questions that you may have.
You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.