Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Pain – Part 1: Structure and Function

Written by chris on June 8, 2013 – 6:51 pm - No Comments

Shoulder pain can come in many degrees from debilitating to annoying. It can have a phantom like presence, there one moment, gone the next. It can give you headaches or disrupt your breathing. Stretching can sometimes remedy the pain. Rolling on trigger points of the shoulder blade (scapula) with a tennis ball or a racket ball can be effective. If you’re searching for relief you’ve probably tired some of these things without success. It’s my job to help you understand shoulder pain from an unconventional point of view. I’ve had great success alleviating it, here are 7 reasons why.


rotator cuff

  1. When pain comes we get myopic. Above is a good picture of some of the rotator cuff muscles. You can see that they converge into a single tendon that wraps the head of the humerous. The cause of shoulder pain can be elusive, often our first reaction is to dig into the shoulder at one of the muscles. You’ve probably done it, the rubbing feels good, but surprisingly, relief is as temporary as the rub. Why?
  2. The shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in the body. Its ingenious design is for dynamic movement. Because we’re able we put our shoulder’s through all sorts of stuff. If you’re an athlete its range of motion might be challenged. If you’re a student tension from stress can build up in the shoulders. So it’s unstable and is affected three dimensionally.
  3. Our arms are anatomically behind us. If you look at the picture above, the shoulder blade rests on the back of the rib cage. The problem is that we focus so much on the world in front of us that we use our arms as though they’re located in front of us and they’re not, so we spend our lives pulling them forward and out of place, then when we sneeze or pick up a kleenex and throw out our shoulders we’re baffled.
  4. Three dimensional forces. Now, if we turn the picture around here’s the shoulder blade from the front. So, in our minds we’re building up the three dimensional image of the shoulder, super important in understanding this complex area. I talked about the shoulder blade’s home being on the back of the rib cage, here we see four friends calling that shoulder blade out to play. The coracobrachialis and the pectoralis minor drag that scapula forward.
  5. The foundation. We think of the shoulders as unstable, but the other way to look at them is that they are made to have a wide range of motion and be responsive. The structural foundation of the shoulder is the rib cage. The ribs don’t lend much support to this overused tool, but really they aren’t supposed to, however when there are imbalances in the shoulder blade it will hunker down to anchor for stability. Wrong move. The shoulder is supposed to float on the ribs like a ship on water. It’s supposed to be responsive not stuck and fixed.
  6. Distant relationships. Connecting at the highest point of the shoulder blade its position can be easily influenced by the clavicle. The sternum and first ribs are distant anchoring points for the clavicle and if they feel a tug of war from the other areas we can see how the rotator cuff muscles would be overstretched and their optimal tension being compromised. If the clavicle is frozen medially, you’ll be sure to hear protests from the shoulder blade.
  7. The central connection. Let’s return to the back and look at one more area of influence.The medial border of the shoulder blade is taken up by the Levator and the Rhomboids. The Levator can become tense pulling the shoulder blade up. Doing that opens up the door for the scapula to go up and over the ribcage and that affects the Rhomboids. They become compromised because they’re actually weak muscles. The Rhomboids are better at stabilizing the scapula, pulling it back is too laborious and so they weaken and give up.

When you have shoulder pain and there isn’t a clear causation, you’ve been to everyone and tried everything consider the dimensions outlined here. The shoulder dynamic is three dimensional but it’s elusive because pain doesn’t always feel that way. If you want the best shoulder fix it’s 3-D reality must be balanced.


“It’s Mystical, but it’s Physical”

Written by admin on January 14, 2009 – 7:24 am - 1 Comment

“It’s Mystical, but it’s Physical” (The way one client expressed his experience of Rolf Structural Integration)

In my practice, MedicinEvolution, I’ve heard clients say some of the most interesting things after experiencing Rolf Structural Integration.  I want to share some of what I can recall with you.
•    Since the session the world has been more vivid, my senses seemed to be more acute.  That goes for every sense, my hearing, sight, smell, etc.  I notice things I didn’t before although they’ve always been right in front of me.
•    For some reason I have access to a wider range of vocabulary.
•    I felt a sense of spirituality.  I became Muslim.
•    This work has will help develop your intuition.
•    I’m an athlete, I know my foot, but I’ve never been able to feel my foot like this before.  The awareness that it has brought, amazing!
•    I’m much more aware of my body.
•    Before the work I used to live in the attic (pointing to her head).  Now I feel like I’ve come down to live in the house (pointing to her body).
•    I wanted to get married, and now I’m engaged.
•    His confidence is better.
•    She’s happier!
•    That night after the 6th session all of my symptoms the night of the car accident returned i.e., vomitting, back pain, headache, etc. just like they were.  By the time I woke in the morning they were gone.  My back pain is gone.
•    Don’t take your hand off my back, I can feel the pain leaving through your hand.  Keep it right where it is.  (A very good friend during his bout with cancer, I miss you)
•    My asthma went away.
•    I totally forgot that I wore leg braces.  That was 20 something years ago, and right now I am recalling the Dr. and his exact address.  That’s weird.  (While reestablishing balance in his lower legs)
•    Emotions could no longer anchor themselves to flesh, they’d come and go.
•    I grew an inch.
•    I feel stronger.
•    I feel younger.
•    I feel skinnier.
•    My old pants fit me again.
•    What I’ve learned from Structural Integration is that I can prevent my own future ailments.
•    I don’t get sick like I used to, I would’ve expected to get sick this winter.
•    I’ve experienced a new level of health and fitness.
•    I consider it a part of my training (as a triathlete).
•    I’ve been to a lot of reputable people but no one ( like a Structural Integration practitioner) waits for the body to move, I feel like this does something.
•    I can sleep better.
•    I didn’t feel a thing after the ten sessions.  After returning from a 200 mile hike on the Pacific Coast Trail I don’t think I would’ve made it if I didn’t go through this work.
•    I was shy, the uprightness that I feel makes me feel better about myself.
•    After only a few sessions I could already feel the results not only in the way my back felt but my posture, breathing and the way I was moving. I knew that the underlying postural imbalances were beginning to correct themselves.

If you read through the literature of alternative medicine you can find interesting things like this.  What I love about the Rolf work is that its focus is to release, clarify, define, communicate, support, and organize the physical body.  As a result, the purity of the physical work can sometimes lead to a sort of veil being removed between different aspects of one’s being, the direct correlation, then, becomes clear.  Here are some physical goals during the ten session process of Rolf Structural Integration:
•    Bringing length to the front of the body.
•    Stacking major segments more appropriately.
•    Increasing the vital capacity (breath).
•    Helping the (3) foot arches to function properly.
•    Balancing knees over ankles.
•    Lengthening the back and supporting the spine by restoring correct position of muscles and soft tissue.
•    To win back “sides” of the body
•    Coaxing length in inner legs and revitalizing the pelvic floor.
•    Awakening deep structures and relating anatomy superficial and deep.
•    Freeing the sacrum from the pelvis and restoring it as part of the spine.
•    Horizontalizing the pelvis (the “seat of the soul” as Dr. Rolf described it).
•    Enabling micro-movements to the bones of the head and unifying the spine and all its complexities.
•    Integrating movement of the limbs into the body and empowering a broader more unified range of motion.
•    Establishing optimal joint function, nervous system health, organ space, structure and function, function and structure, three-dimensional body.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten

Written by admin on May 28, 2008 – 8:06 am - No Comments

Statistics say that 90% of people who divorce end up remarrying, and 60% of them end up in a second divorce.

While MedicinEvolution isn’t psychotherapy or counseling, it is important to gain deeper insight into your make up and to treat your constitutional disposition. The Center for Disease Control states the 85% of all diseases are caused by emotions. Our relationships are mirrors reflecting idiosyncrasies that are inherited, learned or imposed (i.e. by a trauma).

MedicinEvoltion is a great beginning for addressing causations which in turn can give individuals better success in controlling illness. Removing causations should ALWAYS be foremost on the path to greater health.

I’ve come to believe that when our health is undermined either through illness or injury or some form of trauma the source of those seemingly distant mechanisms are very closely related, they are rooted in the bodymind – the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual unified human complex. Affecting one of these aspects can and often will affect at least one, if not all the others.

I’ve entertained this idea for a long time now. Last week after a rolfing session I felt it in myself. The session focused mainly on lengthening my neck/head/shoulder area as well as a general balance. At the start of the session I was oblivious to the mental and emotional stress that I was holding and focused more on the physical.

The session was excellent and the work continues to hold. My Epiphany was this: Any feelings or stress I was experiencing prior to the session seemed to float away. They tried to return but couldn’t anchor themselves in flesh. Like a summer rain they came and went. Emotions being a root cause of many diseases, MedicinEvolution provides a means of helping prevent, better and relieve health issues holistically.

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