Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Infraspinatus Muscle and Shoulder Joint Pain

Infraspinatus Trigger Points often refer right into the front of the shoulder, and can feel like the pain is coming from deep in the joint itself.  Pain will sometimes even refer down the arm and forearm, and possibly into the back of the neck and head.
The infraspinatus muscle, illustrated in the picture, externally rotates the arm, and stabilizes the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) during arm movements.
Trigger points in this muscle can cause pain while sleeping on either side.  They will also flare when trying to do up a bra behind your back, or when bringing your arm forward to brush your teeth or hair.
This can make it difficult to perform activities such as putting your arm into the sleeve of a jacket, reaching into a back pocket, zipping up a dress with a zipper in the back, or fastening a bra.
Active infraspinatus trigger points can lead to feelings of fatigue in the shoulder, making it feel heavy and weak.  Grip strength and shoulder range of  motion may decrease, and it can be difficult to find a sleeping position, unless you prop up on a pillow or chose the recliner for your bed of choice.
Infraspinatus trigger points often become activated due to repetitive use with movements such as reaching behind you to a night stand or desk if your office setup is less than perfect.  Reaching up for prolonged periods doing activities like curling/straightening your hair can also overtax this muscle.
Corrective Actions therefore would be to limit movements such as those listed above.  Supporting the muscle when sidelying by hugging a pillow may also help, or using a hot pack on the infraspinatus for a few minutes before bed.
Tennis ball self massage is great for this muscle, and can be done either on the ground with the ball under the shoulder blade, or with the ball in a sock or nylon.  Simply hold the end of the sock, resting the ball between your shoulder blade and the wall, and leaning back against the wall to reach the desired pressure.
Infraspinatus can be stretched by elevating the arm parallel to the floor and then drawing it across the front of your body (use the opposite arm to gently pull the affected arm across your body by the elbow.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Find your Little Piece of Heaven - Simple Health Idea #4

Lives are hectic.  They are filled with work, running kids/elderly parents to activities and appointments, fitting in exercise, errands, groceries, and planning/preparing healthy meals.  Just when you think that the schedule has no budge room, you add on volunteer hours and that big project that your son/daughter, or you need to get done by a certain deadline.

Frazzled doesn't even begin to explain the way most of us feel by the end of the week.

Stress accumulates and accumulates, and silently picks away at our reserves until we are at a breaking point.  Tempers flare, emotions run wild, only to cause more stress, and so the cycle continues.

We need to find something, a little piece of heaven, that we can retreat to when we feel the tension rising.  This is such an individual thing, but try out a few different things, and once you find your heaven, make it a priority in your week, or your month.  Make it an appointment that is non negotiable.

It might be a bubble bath with the door shut, soft music playing, and a good book.  It might be going for a run with your dog, or a buddy, or all by yourself to your favourite viewpoint.  A Thursday night yoga class, a massage once every week or two (my personal favorite - ha ha), coffee in bed on Sunday morning, going for dinner with your significant other (or a friend if your significant other is the cause of your stress ;)

No matter what resonates with you, and brings you that moment of pure bliss, make it a habit and take the time to stop, let everything else go, and savour the moment.  Take a deep breath, and then hop back on the crazy train!

One of my favourite running viewpoints.