Shoulder Pain and Trigger Points
Shoulder injuries are often more painful at night. This can lead to a damaging "wear, tear, and repair" syndrome.
During the daytime, the weight of the arm itself cuts off some of the blood supply to the shoulder muscles. This is generally not problematic.
However, when shoulder muscles are injured or damaged this has several important implications.
First, any muscle damage is not repaired during the daytime.
This is because muscle damage needs a healthy blood supply to bring reparative cells and products to the damaged tissue and to remove toxins and worn cells from the damage site.
Secondly, this means that repair can only occur at night.
When we lay down to sleep, there is no pull of gravity on the shoulder and the blood supply can flow freely.
Most shoulder problems are worse at night because of the increased blood flow to tissues.
These become readily swollen; the swelling pushes on other tissues and stimulates pain from small nerve endings.
The swelling also attracts reparative cells which trigger inflammation.
In the case of frozen shoulder syndrome this night pain is doubled; partly because of the increased blood supply (in an attempt to repair) and partly because of the nature of inflammation.
Inflammation is sticky. It draws water to the damaged area, and hence causes swelling.
This swelling is worse at night as the arm is not being moved. Once the arm and shoulder are moved, the inflammatory swelling is dissipated, making the pain diminish.
This is why, generally, the shoulder feels better during the daytime when the arm is being gently moved, and much worse at night.
With the more severe shoulder injuries, the damage cannot be repaired in one night, and the next day the arm is used again with a certain amount of damage remaining within the shoulder muscles.
If this process goes on for several weeks, a curious situation occurs.
What seems to happen is that certain areas inside the damaged muscles (known as the critical zones) accumulate calcium molecules (chalk).
This chalk is viewed as an irritant to the already damaged tissues and its presence triggers further bouts of inflammation which in turn leads to further cycles of pain.
The chalk accumulates and if there is enough, it can weaken the damaged muscle so much that it tears further. This process can become a vicious circle.
Too many people allow their symptoms to develop rapidly before seeking treatment. Early intervention should always be advised for shoulder injuries that persist, especially where the client feels they are entering a cycle of "wear, tear and repair" as described above.
There are many types of shoulder injury, some far more nasty than others. Most can be treated more effectively with intervention in the early stage.
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About Niel Asher Education
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Established in the United Kingdom in 1999, we provide course and distance learning material for therapists and other healthcare professionals in over 40 countries.
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NAMTPT AWARD 2017
We are honored to have received the 2017 "Excellence in Education" Award from the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists.
Since 1999 Niel Asher Education has won numerous awards for education and in particular for education and services provided in the field of trigger point therapy.
Award Winning Instructors
Niel Asher Healthcare course instructors have won a host of prestigious awards including 2 lifetime achievement honorees - Stuart Hinds, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, AAMT, 2015, and Dr. Jonathan Kuttner, MD, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, NAMTPT, 2014.
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Niel Asher Technique
Since 1999 the Niel Asher Technique for treating trigger points has been adopted by over 100,000 therapists worldwide, and has been applied to the treatment of a number of common musculoskeletal injuries.
The Niel Asher Technique for treating frozen shoulder was first introduced and published in 1997 and has been widely adopted by therapists and exercise professionals working within elite sports and athletics.
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This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.
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