A few days ago I did something that cause my left upper trapezius muscle to completely spazzed out which caused all kinds of pain. Eventually, the pain crept up into the side of my neck, down into my shoulder and down in my arm. Worst of all, it was interfering with me getting a good night’s sleep. No matter how much I tossed and turned I just couldn’t find a comfortable position.
As a massage therapist, I thought I’d be able to handle the problem. I deployed all of my best techniques; massage, Chinese cupping therapy, a heating pad, I even put on various Chinese liniments and popped ibuprofen – all to no avail.
Finally, after another night of terrible sleep I turned to the almighty Google to see if I could find an answer to my problem. I stumbled onto an osteopathic doctors blog, and in this blog post the doctor discussed how one
of the things that’s often overlooked when there’s a trapezius spasm is the acromioclavicular joint. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try his DIY technique
to mobilize and release the AC joint.
So, I tried the technique and lo and behold – it worked! I could literally feel the pain evaporating out of my shoulder joint, upper trap and neck. The muscle is still a bit tight, sore and tender due to being locked up and tense for a few days however I feel that I have discovered the source of the problem.
I’m going to see my chiropractor in a couple days and she will do a proper exam and diagnosis as well as prescribe an appropriate treatment plan for the problem. However, in the meantime I am very grateful that I will be able to focus on doing my job of taking care of my clients and not focus on how much pain I’m in.
Outlined below is a step-by-step guide to the AC joint Release Technique as described by Dr. Daniel Lopez, DO:
Check the trapezius: Grab onto your trapezius between your neck and shoulder joint and give it a squeeze. Tenderness here may be indicative of an AC joint dysfunction. Also, it gives you a starting point to know how things have changed afterwards.
- Find your collar bone and trace it outward until you feel the end of it. There may be a digit there or a bump. That is your AC joint. Another way of finding it, is simply to on the top of your shoulder and look for a bump.
- Grip your AC joint with your thumb and index finger and slowly wiggle it back and forth. You may notice that at first it is not tender, but as you do this an underlying tenderness will show up. Do this until you feel that the bump can move a little more freely.
- Recheck your trapezius and see if it feels different.
- Do this once a day until it stops feeling tender and is freely moveable. You should notice your trapezius will likely feel less knotted and less sensitive.
This post is for informational purposes only and in no way is intended to be a substitute for proper medical attention. Please visit your licensed health-care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.