Tag Archives: shoulder pain

Side-lying Massage for the Shoulder

A couple weekends ago I attended a side-lying and para-spinal class taught by Brian Utting. Before taking this call I was some what intimidated by side-techniques mostly because of The class came during a time where majority of my current clients were coming to me for shoulder pain. While majority of side-lying techniques are utilized for expectant mothers, massage while lying on the side offers an advantage to the shoulder girdle the typical face up/face down position does not.
Before taking this class I was intimidated by the idea of asking a client to roll on their side for a couple reasons. Properly draping a client so that they feel comfortable takes practice and when I applied the techniques it was difficult to judge pressure and keep consistent. After leaving Brian’s class I had all the confidence to bring these new techniques into my practice.

The biggest advantages of side-lying for shoulder pain are:

1. The ability to take the shoulder into full range of motion.

Because the shoulder isshoulder_ff made up of three bones the collar bone, scapula and humerus side-lying facilitates taking the shoulder in front, behind, above and to the side of the body.

2. Access to the arm pit and rib cage is greater.

3. The client becomes extremely comfortable on the table allowing them to relax and receive the work. (Majority of  my clients sleep on their side and once they are bolstered with a pillow between the arm and legs they are really able to let go of tension and stress.)

As I’ve been using these new techniques clients receive the shoulder  in a deeper way while they remain relaxed on their side with the support of pillows.  Not only is side-lying great for shoulder work, but it also feels great on the neck, low back and muscles along the spine.

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.


Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535




Lower Back Pain, Repetitive Motion and Massage Therapy: A Case Study

This is a retrospective case study of a client who came in for low back pain. I prefer to present the data in a story format without the SOAP charting jargon for those of you who are not familiar with charting terms. If you would like more information on the objective findings and exact treatment please contact me.

The study is a 57 year old female who works full time at UPS in shipment/package processing. She complained of low back, upper shoulder and neck pain. She described a feeling of her breath ‘taken away’ when laying on her back.  Her job at the time was very stressful as it was the beginning of November and the busiest season for shipping.  She describes to me what her job consists of daily. Lifting boxes with both hands and twisting to the left to place them elsewhere. Over and over again.

The postural assessment revealed a short leg of about 1 inch difference.  The left side of the back was severely elevated in comparison to the right (see photo below). She also presented very limited neck, shoulder and hip ROM.

Severe L side elevation causing low back pain and tension in the shoulders and neck.

Over the next 5 months the client received a 30 minute treatment once a week. During the first month we were able to decrease pain symptoms in the low back, shoulders and neck with Swedish Massage and Trigger Point Therapy allowing her to lie flat on her back without the sensation of not being able to breath. We then addressed the leg length discrepancy and balanced the hips with Myofascial Release. Around month 2 the short leg length began to decrease and stay consistent of 1/2 inch. The following months consisted of maintenance massage over the entire back, shoulders, neck and hips.

At month 5 we were able to increase the time between massage to 2-3 weeks. The client began yoga at home, and exercised regularly. She was no longer feeling the neck and shoulder tension, some low back pain on occasion and commented that she was finally able to enjoy the massage without the presence of therapeutic pain.

Change in elevation treated with Swedish Massage, Trigger Point Therapy and Myofascial Release.

This case study was 100% dedicated to finding relief through massage therapy.  With patience and persistence she is now taking control of life with out the pain.


Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Website: billingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebook: facebook.com/billingsmassage/