The Scapular muscle diagram is compliments of http://www.ehealthstar.com/anatomy/shoulder-blade-scapula
Metaphysical cause of Shoulder Pain
Pain or tightness in the shoulder area often reflects a person’s overall emotional and physical state. A stressful lifestyle, emotional strain, physical injuries, and fatigue can contribute to constriction and pain in the shoulders. When we experience people’s actions and behaviors toward us as aggressive or controlling, it makes us feel powerless, angry, resentful or out of control. If negative emotions are not released, they can become toxic to the entire system, leading to all sorts of complications.
“Stiffness in the area of the shoulder blades usually reveals you are going in the wrong direction in life, or you are doing something in life that isn’t serving your highest purpose. This is actually a positive and predictive pain, showing that you either need to make an adjustment in your life direction or that an important change is about to come into your life and you will have to adjust to align yourself to this new change or direction. This may involve letting go of some old ways of thinking and behaving and adapting to newer, higher ways of thinking and behaving. The change will take place when you become aligned, at which point the energy between the spleen and small intestine meridians will flow freely, removing the blockage between the two. It is the blockage of energy between the two meridians, found in the area of the shoulder blades, that causes the feeling of resistance and lack of mobility.” Emotion and Healing in the Energy Body ~ Robert Henderson
Shoulder pain is quite a complex multifaceted pain as there are six meridians moving through this area. The six *meridians are: the lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small intestine, and heart meridian. These six different types contain a mixture of emotional, mental, and behavioural energies, which manifest as different types of physical pain. These energies cause rigidness, and a sense of heaviness and stagnation in the muscles surrounding the lines of these meridians. This stagnated energy is like a wall protecting hurtful feelings, but can also force us into isolation and separation. Separation from life causes depression, anger, and the inability to forgive a painful past—this could cause hardness and tightness in the rotator cuff and surrounding muscles.
(*The meridians are pathways or networks in which the Chi and blood of the human body are circulated, nourishing skin, muscles, tendons and bones. The meridians pertain to the internal organs of the body, forming a lattice network and linking the tissues and organs into a whole. Externally the twelve meridians connect with the skin, joints, limbs and other superficial tissues of the body. Normal functioning of the various organs ensures a form of balance can be maintained.)
When we feel run down from the way we’re living, we often underestimate our ability to cope with so many responsibilities; we overburden ourselves. This results in feeling anxious, stress and tired, taking a toll on our upper back and shoulders. Shoulder pain can also be caused by being too set in our ways, rebelling against change and resisting new possibilities and perspectives. When we resist, we tense our upper body as a means of trying to maintain control. Wanting to control things, people, and events, often results in chronic tension of the hands, arms, and shoulders. Also, negative self-talk and berating oneself causes tightness in the body, especially the shoulders, trapezius, sides of the neck, below the rib cage and the solar plexus.
Stiffness in the shoulders can also mean we are unable to see our options clearly, we are frustrated by our personal limitations and tormented by either indecision or of making the wrong decision. This creates a tremendous feeling of stiffness and pressure and the desire to escape from deciding.
Pain at the bottom edge of the scapula is caused by taking on, but not releasing the woes of others. In relationships it is the pain of giving yourself to someone who doesn’t love or care about you. It can symbolize emotional sadness from living a life that shouldn’t have turned out the way it did. You cringe at problems and love to complain how others are making your life difficult but rarely take personal responsibility or do anything to change it. On a spiritual level, There is a tendency to ignore the callings of your own spirit due to a lack of trust.
With frozen shoulder, you may literally feel frozen and trapped in your current circumstances. This can make you feel helpless and disempowered especially with authority figures.
“It is time to establish your limitations and personal needs and take on your shoulders only what corresponds to what you want for yourself. Take care of yourself as if you were someone you cared about. Understand that you alone put pressure on yourself; others will respect your needs when you learn to respect them yourself. Allow yourself to be flexible, embrace anyone or anything you want, and let go of your belief to the heart. The consequences will be harsh.” YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU: LOVE YOURSELF ~ Lise Bourbeau
UPPER ARM PAIN
Your upper arm is composed of the humerus, a thick bone surrounded by dense layers of muscle that enable you to life heavy objects. Your forearm is composed of the radius and ulna. The hands and arms are pathways for many nerves and meridian channels.
“In general, the upper arms, along with the elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands, are energetic extensions of the heart. Their condition is mirrored in the condition of the heart. If the heart is weak or closed, they will be weak or closed to. Similarly, the condition of the energy in the arms, reflects back to the heart. Thus if there are blocks in energy in the arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands the heart becomes blocked too. For the heart to be free, the upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands need to be free. Pain in the upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands reveal a blockage in the energy flowing from the heart. This is the root of all arm pain. Arm pain indicates your heart is in pain.” Emotion and Healing in the Energy Body ~ Robert Henderson
Four meridians run through the arms and are attributed to the heart (heart, small intestine, triple heater and pericardium meridian) This is why the arms, in general, are intimately connected to our emotions and actively express our inner feelings.
Our upper arms are used to express strength, power and confidence. Powerful upper arms express strength and power; they help us to defend and block; and to protect our heart and our inner organs from being hurt.
Sometimes it is necessary to exert ourselves with assertion and aggression but many people are afraid of asserting themselves because to do so allows powerful feelings to surge through them. Thus, out of fear, many of us withdraw from letting this energy flow forward, repressing our powerful feelings. We have dissociated ourselves from ourselves and from actively reaching out and grasping hold of life. The problem with this is it causes anger at others for not seeing our needs and anger at ourselves for our inability to assert our desires.
Long-held resentments, anger, bitterness, fear, guilt, etc., all play a role in debilitating our energy in the upper arms. Instead of letting our heart energy flow forward, we withdraw and hold it back. Also, some men and women overdevelop these muscles, which metaphysically can symbolize, resistance of expressing their heartfelt energy.
Upper arm pain, metaphysically, means our personal power, and self-esteem is somehow being restricted. These issues could involve feelings of inadequacy, lack of ‘emotional intimacy’, and difficulty expressing/releasing emotions. People with painful upper arms could suffer from passive-aggressive tendencies, indicating that whatever they try to suppress and control due to fear, shame, guilt, etc., will eventually find their way to the surface.
The 12 vertebrae of the thoracic spine curve outward, strategically placed between the two inward curves of the neck and back. Together, the upper and lower ends of the thoracic spine are subject to stress as is the center of this curving area. The thoracic spine is an intrinsic part of the rib ‘cage’ aptly named as the housing for the lungs and heart, both as protection and for deep breathing in and out.
Just above the thoracic spine is the cervical vertebrae C6 and C7. Metaphysically these also apply to a stiff neck, shoulder pain, frozen shoulder and elbow issues….
“C6 – Feeling overwhelmed by worries, anxieties and stresses. Rather than dealing with your own issues, meddling in other people’s lives to fix their problems and take attention away from yours. Resisting life, feeling stuck, afraid to let go of old fears and change…
C7 – Feeling tired, uninspired, drained, emotionally wound up, mentally unclear. Immobilized by negativity, lack and fear of the future. Feeling numb and disconnected from your own truth and sense of power. On the physical level: thyroid problems, colds, shoulder pain…” The Secret Language of Your Body ~Inna Segal
Many occupations are known to create and reinforce shoulder tensions. Typing, working at a desk, or working at a machine or computer can cause shoulder tension. When you slump your breathing gets shallow and tensions develop. The shoulders are the repository for much of our tension and stress. Eventually the tension becomes chronic, contributing to fatigue, and this also affects other parts of the body. Chronic shoulder tension can inhibit the circulation to the arms and legs, causing cold hands and feet.
The thoracic spine is an integral part of shoulder function. This is the part of the back that stresses from spinal posture and movement and neurological tension felt in the heart and lungs. Long periods of working bent over and poor posture add even more to the problem. Besides severe shoulder and rib strains the thoracic spine tends towards rigidity, with a loss of flexibility and the development of excess forward or sideways curves (scoliosis) The upper back is a frequent area for muscular spasm and nagging pain; it often radiates to front of the body mimicking heart or lung conditions. Ribs are attached, via cartilage to the breastbone, these attachments are subject to stiffness, soreness or inflammation (costochondritis).
“Upper back: This area is behind the heart, so expresses the back side of the heart energy: anger, resentment, resistance, to loving expression, fear or rejection of love. This can be seen in the dowager’s hump an accumulated mass of tissue that can be formed by repressed and frustrated mind states. This part of the back is also a part of the shoulders, so the energy expressed here is connected to our confusion and inability to be doing what we really want to. This is the first stage after conception, so here lies our uncertain purpose, our thwarted ambition, our unfulfilled longing to do or be something different. Pain here is to do with the load we are carrying but not acknowledging openly, the hidden load of repressed and negative feelings. Acne in this area is repressed anger or irritation trying to find release. Often this is because we have become separated from who we really are and what our deeper feelings are. Here also we will experience resentment towards someone who is a ‘pain in the back’; or we will want to turn our back on someone, thereby turning our heart away from them.” The Bodymind Workbook ~ Debbie Shapiro
The shoulders are quite resourceful in willingly moving and overcoming obstacles, even in the face of adversity. Their appearance appears ‘broad enough’ to carry the whole body confidently; it’s just when things become too overwhelming, from too many responsibilities that the shoulders hunch in defiance and start to complain. When the shoulders become defiant, the thoracic muscles contract from shouldering too much. The upper back is where memories of hurt feelings, along with those of fear, guilt, shame and emotional confusion are stored; it’s also where lost desires are deeply buried.
The more we keep our feelings and struggles to ourselves, the more tense and rigid the shoulders will become. How many of you with shoulder pain are doing what you really want to do in your lives? Are you really free to express yourself; are you coming from a space of loving and caring? Are you with someone who you’d love to hug with all your might? Do you really want to participate in life, or is fear holding you back and causing you to procrastinate? Are you afraid to be yourself, to act freely, to do what you want? Do you pull back, withdrawing or holding back personal ideas as a way of avoiding a confrontation? Are you worried about what others may think? All this mental tension and/or guilt and fear cause inflammation to your shoulders. The muscles then change, twist and turn to accommodate these misshapen emotions. With hunched shoulders, you may feel overburdened by the weight of life’s problems, or from the guilt from past actions. Or do your shoulders immediately become rigid with fear and anxiety; made worse by uncertainty and insecurity.
Shoulders held back, pushing the chest out front tend to stiffen from determined stance. So does leaning forward, frantically trying to get a point across and even sticking ones’ neck out in another’s face. You have to stop belittling yourself and trying to control your world. The more you do this, the more your thinking will become distorted and jumbled .. when this happens you’ll have trouble making decisions or taking action.
“From the spine across the shoulders and down to the hands is our doing centre: how we feel about what we are doing, about what is being done to us, about our capability to handle our lives. This area also represents our desire to express ourselves: through the use of our hands we can express our innermost artistic and creative energies; through our arms and hands we can share our love and giving energy from the heart; through caressing, touching and holding we can reach out, pull in or push away.
The shoulders express this on the inner levels – specifically our deeply personal feelings about what we are doing, or what is being done to us. How many of us are really doing what we want to done? And how often are we in real conflict about what we should be doing. It is here that we carry our burdens, begrudgingly doing something even if we don’t really want to, or holding on to guilt and negative emotions from the past to do something we have already done. A ‘cold shoulder’ can be an emotional cold we are experiencing within ourselves towards someone or something, or it may be a cold shoulder being directed towards us from someone else.
The arms move this doing energy outwards, from our inner feelings and desires to their expression in the world. The elbows give flexibility and grace to this flow of energy, adding the necessary effort to ensure manifestation. The wrists move it out further. A conflict in the wrist can indicate there is something we should be or want to be doing but are not; for some reason, we are holding back from that final expression” Deb Shapiro ~The BodyMind Workbook
Pain specifically indicates the pain of not opening your heart. We accumulate everything that has happened to us or things we have done that have prevented or blocked our hearts from opening. For example, blaming others-usually our parents-for our own condition in life. By blaming our parents, we are not forgiving them. By not forgiving them, we are not loving them. Which means we don’t love us, which prevents our hearts from opening.
Upper arm pain is often complex, multilayered intense pain, as the energy that is causing the discomfort runs through six meridians in the upper arm. The lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small in test time, and heart meridians. The types of subtle mental energy running through these meridians can be a mixture of the emotional, mental, and behavioural energies, and could manifest as different types of physical pain emotional energies running through these meridians are usually whole energies, such as loneliness, sadness about life, or the experience of having to live in a loveless marriage. These energies cause contraction, coldness, and heaviness in the muscles surrounding the running of these meridians. Other emotional energies such as hatred for life or anger and apparent or spouse who has never loved you, cause hardness and tightness in the muscles. When the pain of life hurts you to the core of your very being, the accumulated energies can work themselves into these humorous bone itself can be quite intense. Mental and behavioural energies running through the six meridians that blocked the heart from opening the energies of on forgiving this, the need to inflict pain on someone who has hurts you, the need to build a wall of protection around yourself against an unloving parent or spouse, or blaming others for your own circumstances. These energies cause hardness and tightness in the muscles surrounding the running of these meridians. One specific behavioural energy, the one you use it in the holding on to your painful past, causes compression, pain, and weakness in the triceps, to which runs the large in test time Meridian, the energetic function of which is to let go of the past. Impression in the triceps causes the arm to weaken when you try to raise it above your head.
Opening the heart, whether through Reiki (and other forms of healing), yoga, myofascial release, therapeutic massage, etc., will help the meridians in the upper arm to open. If you felt unloved as child and struggle with love now, opening the meridians may cause intense pain at first but will then trigger a release of pain from other areas of the body. Where you’ll notice most of your pain is attached to might be: the deltoid muscles, the rotator cuff, the bottom of the scapula, between the shoulder blades, fronts of the fourth chakra, the back of the fourth chakra. If you are at stage of beginning spiritual counselling, massage or yoga practice you may find that you are not only releasing hurtful energies from your own past but also from the past of your parents.
Emotionally, the heart will only open after the lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small intestine, and heart meridians have opened energetically. This process takes time, patience, understanding, and forgiveness. When the heart meridian opens, it releases an enormous amount of heat and warmth running along the inside of the upper and lower arm, through the wrist, and out through the centre of the hand. It is a wonderful energy.
When we’re stressed, our muscles contract causing the blood in our system to stop flowing properly, disconnecting our upper and lower energies of the body. The muscle responsible for connecting our upper and lower chakras is a large dome shaped muscle called the diaphragm, which is directly under the lungs. When we take a deep breath, the diaphragm stretches out to allow air into the lungs. As you exhale, the diaphragm curves inwards and upwards to help force all the unwanted air out of the lungs. The diaphragm is one of the most under-used muscles of the body, reason being, most of us breathe from the upper part of the chest, instead of letting the diaphragm do its work.
Many of us when stressed become chest breathers. What happens when we do this, we tighten our abdominal muscles creating a mild form of hyperventilation (discharging too much carbon dioxide from the blood). This causes the heart to work harder.
Many of the restrictions in your breath come from muscles tightened in a holding pattern. Our old tensions and pains cause us to move our muscles less. They become taut when we feel disappointed or disillusioned or betrayed, deflated or defeated. Diaphragmatic breathing eases the process of letting go, of releasing unnecessary emotional attachments so life can flow more easily.
If you can do 15 minutes of conscious breathing each day, in just a few weeks your breathing will shift permanently into your lower abdomen. The deeper you breathe into the center of your body, the more you’re whole body will participate in the process, restoring balance to your whole system. You’ll feel calm and energized as this new energy breaks up old habits and patterns and flows freely, through your body.
- stand with your feet slightly apart and your arms at your sides.
- breathe in and draw both shoulders back and upward toward your ears as high as you can without forcing or straining.
- as you exhale, roll your shoulders down and forward to the starting position.
- as you do this gentle movement slowly and smoothly, relax your shoulders, feeling the tension being released from the muscles.
- repeat up to 10 times, 3 – 5 times a day (from the excellent book HEALING BACK PAIN NATURALLY by Art Brownstein M.D.)
SHOULDER SHRUG AND DROP