Updated: Mar 27, 2022
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body and for this reason, it is also the most fragile. Athletes who subject their shoulders to repeated stress in all directions will often experience pain and even limitation in movement. Climbing, hockey and racquet sports athletes are particularly prone to this type of problem.
There are 17 muscles that attach to the scapula which allow a wide range of movement. Normally, all muscles are in tune with each other; shoulder pain occurs when there is an imbalance among all or some of these muscles. The pain may radiate to the neck, back, or around the shoulder blade, you might feel painful “knots” in the muscles; our trapezius is well known for that.
Chronic tension or atrophy of a muscle tends to affect the whole body, and then lead to painful muscle compensation and/or joint friction. There may also be numbness and tingling, a pinching or sharp pain in the front of the shoulder; and the pain may radiate to the back of the neck, which could cause migraine.
A qualified acupuncturist is able to assess the imbalances and relieve muscle tensions safely and effectively. The treatment will bring a pleasant feeling of relaxation and lightness. It will allow blood to circulate better in the tissues that were compressed, therefore promoting the body's natural healing.
Acupuncture as a non-pharmacological treatment method can alleviate the following problems: entanglement and thoracic outlet syndrome, supraspinatus and subscapularis tendonitis, rotator cuff involvement, bicipital tenosynovitis, labral lesion, adhesive capsulitis, subacromial bursitis, thrower's shoulder, etc.
In a treatment, the acupuncturist typically uses fine needles (10x thinner than blood collection needles) to relieve tension, but they may also use other instruments depending on the type of problem. You might have seen round purplish marks in Olympic athletes from cupping treatment. Some atrophied muscles can be stimulated by putting a weak electric current on the needles.
If you relate to the above and your pain has been going on for more than 10 days, the chance that it is a simple body ache is very low. The sooner you seek help, the fewer treatments you will need. So take care of it quickly, and get back to your game!