Self Myofascial Release of the Shoulder: Deltoid

The deltoid muscle, capping the shoulder joint, is made up of three parts.  There is an anterior (front) part, lateral (middle) part and posterior (back) part.  It is used in all forms of movement of the shoulder

Action of the deltoid

The anterior deltoid flexes the shoulder forward while the posterior deltoid extends the shoulder.  The middle portion abducts the arm out to the side; assisted by the other two portions.

At least one part of the deltoid muscle is involved when performing shoulder press, pushups, bench press, chin ups and rowing activities.

Causes of pain in the deltoid

The deltoid can be a source of pain as a result of trauma or from over exertion. When experiencing pain into the shoulder the deltoid muscle is not the only possible cause of pain.  Possible causes include rotator cuff tears,biceps tendonitis, subdeltoid bursitis, shoulder impingement syndrome, and C5 radiculopathy.

How to release the deltoid

If all other possible causes of pain in the shoulder have been ruled out by a professional you may gain a benefit by just finding the tender point and holding pressure on it but I like to add a stretch to it. 

Anterior portion

The anterior deltoid is found on the front side of the shoulder.  Its main action is to aid in flexing the shoulder forwards. It originates on the collar bone and attaches onto the outer portion of the upper arm along with the other parts of the deltoid.  Underneath the anterior deltoid is the long head of the biceps tendon. When treating this muscle you might end up aggravating the tendon.

Standing facing a wall. Place the ball on the anterior deltoid.  Have your arm out to the side. Rotate your shoulder inwards so your palm faces outwards and then bend the elbow. Pin the muscle down and then rotate your body away from the shoulder. This helps take the stretch off the biceps muscle. 

Middle portion

The middle portion originates on the shoulder blade. It is active when lifting the arm out to the side (abduction). To stretch it you will want to adduct the arm. Place the ball on the wall and press the middle deltoid into the ball.  Take your arm and reach behind your back. Use your other hand to pull the hand further across the body and down towards your back pocket.

Posterior Portion

The posterior portion also originates on the shoulder blade. It is active in extending the arm backwards. To stretch you’ll have to flex the shoulder forwards. In this case you’ll be horizontally flexing or horizontally adducting the shoulder across the body

Facing away from the wall,  with your arm at shoulder height, place the ball between the wall and the muscle.  Rotate your body away from the wall. Use your other hand to help pull the elbow away from the wall.

Dr Notley

Winnipeg chiropractor and athletic therapist

Make sure to take a look at these related articles

https://drnotley.com/self-myofascial-release-of-the-shoulder-teres-major/

Circles (CARs) for healthy elbows

To keep our joints healthy we need to move them, on a daily basis, throughout their full range of motion. This helps stress the ligaments and muscles supporting the joints, as well as, distribute the synovial fluid throughout the joint. The synovial fluid helps to reduce friction and provide the cartilage with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Elbow circles (CARS)

This is another one of my exercises that I give to athletes/patients in the controlled articular rotations (CARs) category. The training method and acronym is popularized by Dr Andreo Spina. It was taught to me at a Functional Range Conditioning course in Winnipeg.  I call them “circles” to my patients because it’s easier for them to understand.  What I like about CARs is that they are easy, yet challenging, and expose to my athletes areas of mobility that they are lacking in.  I recommend performing this exercise on a daily basis to help self assess your mobility.

The elbow joint is actually made up of 3 joints. These joints allow the elbow to bend and straighten as well and pronation and supination (turning the palm down and up when the elbow is bent).

To perform this exercise:

  • Begin with your elbow straight and your palm facing forward. Begin to bend your elbow. During this time supinate (turning the pinky side of the hand up towards the ceiling) the forearm as far as you can.
  • Once you have bent your elbow completely, turn the palm over towards the floor, attempting to rotate the thumb to the floor as far as you can (pronating).
  • While you are pronating straighten out your arm.

These are purposeful slow movements. In the beginning, imagine you are fighting against an imaginary opponent who is trying to move you in the opposite direction at about 20 percent of your maximum strength.

Enjoy healthy elbows, wrist and hands, with these circle exercises

The elbow joint is actually made up of 3 joints. These joints allow the elbow to bend and straighten as well and pronation and supination (turning the palm down and up when the elbow is bent).

To perform this exercise:

  • Begin with your elbow straight and your palm facing forward. Begin to bend your elbow. During this time supinate (turning the pinky side of the hand up towards the ceiling) the forearm as far as you can.

  • Once you have bent your elbow completely, turn the palm over towards the floor, att

  • empting to rotate the thumb to the floor as far as you can (pronating).

  • While you are pronating straighten out your arm.

Wrist, thumb and finger circles 

 

For the wrist:

Flex the wrist down as far as you can and then try and scribe out the largest circle

If you place you hand down on a table with the palm up your thumb can move up and down (abduction and adduction), in towards the pinky and out away from the pinky (flexion and extension) and it can rotate so that the pad of the thumb can touch each finger (opposition).

Start by lifting your thumb up towards the ceiling as far as you can and then towards your pinky circling around to the pads of the fingers and then away from the pinky finally ending up pointing back up towards the ceiling.

This can be performed in the other direction as well

 

The base of each finger can also create a circle as well.

Self Myofascial Releases of the Teres Minor Muscle (rotator cuff)

The teres minor  muscle is one of 4 muscles that make of the  rotator cuff muscles. It aids in stabilizing the shoulder joint and externally rotating the shoulder outwards

Often when this is a problem you will experience discomfort in the back of the shoulder. Reaching up and backwards can aggravate your symptoms.  This muscle can be aggravated during a motor vehicle accident while holding onto the steering wheel. This muscle can be overused by Rock climbers, overhead exercise (snatch, overhead squat), swimmers,or  baseball players

Trigger points in this muscle will refer to shoulder.

To locate the teres minor, reach under your armpit and feel the lateral border of your shoulder blade. Feel for a bony ridge that runs vertically.  Covering up the upper two thirds of this ridge is the teres minor..

Self Myofascial Release of the Teres Minor muscle

Place a ball over the muscle and pin the muscle by leaning against the wall.  Then reach over head. To get a little extra you can turn the elbow pit away from the wall.

*** Disclaimer *** This video is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are in pain, please visit your local health care provider or contact Dr Notley if you are in Winnipeg

Self Myofascial Release to the Muscles on the Back of the Neck

There are a number of muscles that reside in the back of the neck.  They are mostly covered by the trapezius.  Some of these muscles of the neck travel straight up the spine while others travel diagonally up and towards or away from the centre of the spine.  Many of these muscles start in the upper part of the thoracic spine and either end up in the neck or end up on the back of the head.

The main action of these muscles is to extend the neck and if they attach onto the skull they aid in extension of the head. Because some of these muscles travel diagonally they will also aid in rotation of the spine.  Therefore, when releasing these muscles, a rotation of the neck will provide a little more stretch.

Depending on the muscle involved pain can be referred to the neck, the top of the skull, behind the eyes.

These muscles can become over worked from head forward postures or from lifting heavy weights off the floor while hyperextending the neck.  Straining the neck to lift the weight up. These muscles are often associated with upper cervical joint dysfunctions and a hypomobile thoracic spine.  It is also important to check the muscles of the front of the neck as well.

There are a number of ways to release these muscles.  Acupuncture,  Active Release Techniques, dermal traction (cupping) instrument assisted soft tissue manipulation,  along with changing movement habits.

Self myofascial release of the muscles on the back of the neck.

There are a couple of ways to release these muscles on your own. You can use a ball or half ball help you with this.  Look up slightly and place the ball anywhere  from the base of the skull or down the back of the neck.  You can even extend this down into the upper back.  You will have press down through the trapezius muscle. Once you have made contact with the muscle bring your chin down towards your chest.  You will feel tension pulling on the ball resist this tension by directing your pressure in the opposite direction.

To get a little more out of this movement slightly turn your head left or right and feel the tension.  When turning make sure you maintain contact in the same spot.  Feel the tension and hold for 30 seconds to a minute twice a day.