Do you suffer from frequent headaches, shoulder pain, or other forms of chronic pain? Do you just chalk it up to the fact that you’re just a hard working person and pain is normal? What if we told you that your shoulder pain might not be coming from your shoulders at all? Would you believe it? Pain is always a signal that something is wrong, it’s your body’s way of communicating to you, but sometimes the place where your pain is manifesting itself, may not be the same as the origin of your real problem. How is this possible? To answer these questions we need to introduce you to the concept of referred pain.

Referred pain is the phenomena of experiencing pain in another part of the body other than the part that is actually injured. A common example is the pain that an individual may experience during a heart attack. Even though it’s the heart that is having problems, the pain from the attack is usually felt in the shoulder or chest. Why does this happen? The brain gets a little confused sometimes because the nerves of the injured part of the body and the part that feels the referred pain are usually wired closely together on the spinal cord and the pain signals can get misdirected. Another possible cause is that referred pain results from the way your body was developed in its embryonic stages. Your body may have not developed according to the typical nerve road map and you may experience pain differently.

So how do you know if pain in your shoulder is something more serious than just shoulder pain? A good massage therapist with a deep understanding of the body’s anatomy can help you work through the pain and find the connections between your referred pain and the origins of that pain. Your therapist can help you diagnose your pain and recommend further care if they think it’s needed. Most of the time a massage is a simple cure that can solve your most common sources of pain. For example, if you are a person who experiences frequent headaches, a deep releasing massage to your shoulders and back may be the cure, as most headaches are the results of referred pain from your shoulders.

If you are experiencing pain in your shoulders or other areas of your body, this post was not meant to make you worry about having a more serious condition. The most common causes of shoulder pain are, by far, musculoskeletal problems like osteoarthritis, adhesive capsulitis, and rotator cuff tendinitis. Often, with the help of taking it easy, a few rounds of ibuprofen, and a massage, the pain will go away in a few short days. But if you’re still concerned, make an appointment with your family physician. Red flags include more ominous symptoms like fever, unexplained weight loss, and pain in the left shoulder or scapular area that gets worse with exertion.

Here at Structura Body Therapies we are concerned with the overall performance of the body and understand the importance of all areas of health and massage therapy. We treat patients with all types of needs from automobile accident related injuries to sports performance work.

Please contact us today for any information needed related to massage or structural integration.

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