Massage & Bodywork

JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2020

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Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 65 1 h my gosh, I haven't been able to raise my left arm above my head for five years," said the man seated next to me on a recent flight to Seattle once he learned I was going there to teach my "Releasing the Rotator Cuff" workshop. "It's a good thing I'm right-handed!" "My wife's shoulder really bothers her," said the hotel shuttle-bus driver. "She has trouble brushing her hair and teeth. She doesn't want to go to the doctor because she's afraid he'll tell her she needs rotator cuff surgery." "Both my mother's shoulders are messed up," said the front-desk clerk at the hotel when he learned I would be presenting in the hotel's conference room. "It started with her right shoulder. Her doctor sent her to physical therapy. It didn't help, and then her other shoulder started hurting." I hear complaints like these all too often. I also hear, "I tried massage, but it didn't help." Well, if the massage therapist does not have the specific skill set, odds are massage therapy won't help all that much. "O By Peggy Lamb Before we dive into this article on the slippery subscapularis, my comments are not a dig at physical therapy. I'm privileged to know and work with many outstanding physical therapists. However, if the PT clinic uses a paradigm that emphasizes exercise, chances are the rotator cuff issue will not improve. As John Gibbons, DO, says, "Lengthen before you strengthen." THE SLIPPERY SUBSCAP The subscapularis (or subscap) is a difficult muscle to palpate, and—let's face it—one that most clients don't "enjoy" having worked, although they will enjoy the benefits. As one client said to me, "It feels like you just shouldn't be there." He certainly appreciated his pain- free range of movement after the session though! Anterior view of the subscapularis. Image courtesy of Peggy Lamb/Massage Publications. Subscapularis Precautions When working on the subscapularis, please remember to be mindful of: • Breast cancer/lymphedema (Note: this is a precaution specific to subscapularis work. Align yourself with an occupational therapist with expertise in working with breast cancer patients.) • Hypermobile shoulders • Shoulder replacements

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