I have terrible knots in my shoulders, and a perpetually over-stretched subscapularis nerve under my right shoulder blade. I mean, like, this is a decades-old injury. My friend E, who is a massage therapist, used to tell me she wanted to spend some quality time with her fingers in my armpit, which I always thought was a joke until she got her hands on me and spent some quality time with her fingers in my armpit. Turns out that, since the subscapularis is entirely covered by bone, the way you get to it is not by digging around the edges of the shoulder blade, but by going through the armpit. I spent a magnificent day and a half without a knot, when she was finished with me. (Then I got on an international flight, and, well, that was that.)
Anyway, it turns out one of the women at the massage centre I go to is a PT, and I mentioned the knot and E’s stretching instructions and she, the therapist, leapt up and ran to the wall to demonstrate (the same) stretch, that she give people for that injury. And then a friend of mine happened to mention that she goes to the PT regularly and thinks she’s wonderful. So I thought I’d go see her for a proper session. We talked about my injuries, and I repeated what I had learned from E, and said my goal was to, well, not undo, because I’m not likely to stop typing for a living :p, but to mitigate and alleviate the injuries and the tension and to do my best to work to minimize the exacerbation of them. She was like “yay let’s go!”
She basically smashed my back around for a while, finding all the really bad spots (by which I mean my entire back, pretty much), and had a go at the Rock Solid Knot in my trapezius that nobody can loosen, then said something like, “Most massage therapists don’t like going through the armpit because it’s really not very comfortable, in fact it can hurt, tell me when you can’t take any more and I’ll stop.”
And then she utterly murdered me, OMG. I did a lot of deep breathing and hissing while she worked on my left armpit, but my trapezius was *noticeably looser* when she got done. Then she went after my right, which was much much much worse and I got through that with groaning and whimpering and gasping, “you…should tal..ook..oh god…*breathebreathebreathe* to my fri…*wheeze hoo hoo hoo* my friend E, you’d..*gasp* have a…*wheeze* lot…of…oh god…fun OH GOD,” which she thought was funny. She also thought I was remarkably tough, as, she said, most people would have stopped her LONG before she stopped (of her own volition) working on me. I was like, “…*wheeze* i can…*gasp*…*pantpantpant* put up with…*whimper* a lot if…*wheeze* it’s OH GOD OH AH HAHAHA OH GOD OW going to do…long…term…oh god…good…” :)
She also rolled me around and mashed my hips (which are a disaster) and stretched me and all kinds of things which were very uncomfortable but good for me and boy do I need to start doing yoga and/or ballet barre and/or pilates and/or just STRETCHING some, omg.
By three hours later my armpits were so sore I was walking around like C3PO, but my head turned a lot farther than it did before, and surprisingly, today, the day after, I’m not NEARLY as sore as I was last night.
I’m going back, obviously. She said her experience is that usually to really loosen up a long-term repetitive stress injury like this usually it takes 3 once-a-week sessions and maybe a follow-up session or two 3 to 6 weeks later, which, hey, well, if I can mitigate this injury, that would be well worth it.
And as for today, while it would be an overstatement of dramatic proportions to say my shoulders are not *tight* this morning, they’re so much looser they actually feel weird. That PT had magic hands.