|Stretching the Serratus Anterior effectively can be a difficult task, especially if a client has limited mobility or pain in the shoulder. Many stretching tutorials will have the patient raise the arm over the head and lean laterally in order to lengthen the muscle. While this does partially stretch the muscle, it can be difficult for some to extend the arm over the head. Also, this motion does not stretch serratus anterior optimally. If we look at the action of the muscle, aka scapular protraction, a part of the movement we need to incorporate to gain the most lengthening is scapular retraction; not flexion of the shoulder. By doing retraction, we will greatly intensify the stretch and create much more mobility.
The key when stretching the Serratus Anterior effectively is to use multiple movements to achieve optimal lengthening. First, we will use medial scapular translation in order to retract the scapula and move the insertion of the muscle. Then we will use the movement of the rib cage to move the origin of the muscle, optimizing the lengthening.
Some of you may have experienced weeks where you seem to see the same conditions over and over again. Its as if you should title your work “hip fixing week” or “headache day”. For me, more often than not, it is “pain in my shoulder…fix me” week. Shoulder joints are one of the most treated areas in my practice, which has provided me with a pretty good idea as to some of the common denominators for why they go funky. Obviously, every client is unique and you cannot generalize because each injury or pain condition is its own process. However, recognizing some of the typical traits of shoulder dysfunction can help you assess some areas which can be treated to help restore shoulder function. And by doing this, we can treat a good number of shoulder pain cases.
The condition which is one of the most frequent that I see, and which I want to cover is shoulder impingement syndrome. Although I said that you should not generalize for proper assessment sake, many cases of shoulder pain are due to impingement syndrome. Yes, there are plenty of other conditions which occur in the shoulder, but for the sake of this post, I want to focus on impingement as it is a condition which pops up a lot, and is highly applicable to massage therapy. Continue reading “Shoulder Impingement”
|Stretching the Latissimus Dorsi is important to include in any stretching regimen. Not only does it allow for increased shoulder flexion and mobility, but it can also be important with gaining mobility in the thoracic spine, mainly extension. We are going to use the ability of the shoulder to move the insertion of this muscle to do our main lengthening. In order to maximize our stretch, we will use the thoracic and lumbar spine to move the origin. In other words, we will tension the muscle from both directions.|