If you have difficulty raising your arm you may have a frozen shoulder. If you didn’t have a problem yesterday but you suddenly do today–or if you became unable to lift your arm following an injury or fall–there’s a good chance that muscles are causing the restriction in your range of motion.
The deltoid muscle is a common culprit. It is at the top of your arm. It is the cap muscle. You can treat it by seeking tender areas of muscle and pressing, massage or pinching them.
The subscapularis is another common culprit. It can be treated by pressing into it. The massage video below will show you on a skeleton exactly where the subscap is located. It is sandwiched between your ribs and your shoulder blade.
The subscap (for short) is not easy to press into yourself but you can still do some self-help.
If you get down on all fours and pretend you are a lion and lift and roll your shoulder blades as you ‘walk’ it will help stretch the subscap. Roll those shoulder blades!
When I fell backward years ago (before I got into this field and know what I know now) I woke the next morning and was unable to lift my arm.
I went to physical therapy for my frozen shoulder. They used an ultrasound treatment on my shoulder. It is supposed to warm the deep tissue. I did NOT feel that it did anything.
Then a technician rubbed gently on the cap part of my shoulder. It was waaaaay too light to warm the muscles below the skin.
And then the physical therapist would come in and wrench my arm upward and bring tears to my eyes. This went on for several sessions until I had most of my range of motion back.
Never were the deltoid or subscap muscles touched. 🙁
And sometimes frozen shoulders are released under total anesthesia. The doctor forces the arm to move and I understand it’s pretty uncomfortable afterward compared to releasing the muscle manually (as demonstrated below) while the client is awake.
Later I learned about the subscapularis muscle and how to address it. I have helped many clients get rid of their frozen shoulders by treating one or both muscles I mention here. It usually takes only one or two sessions when a therapist understands how bodies work and has the appropriate training.
As the instructor indicates in the video, it can be uncomfortable. But the discomfort of pressing into a tight muscle usually lasts only while the pressure is applied. And then there is relief and range of motion is improved.
Here’s the video showing how to release the subscap muscle:
The most common cause of frozen shoulders is muscle and muscles can be treated naturally.
Also, frozen shoulders tend to relax on their own over the course of a year or so even without treatment.