The arms are our dexterity limbs that do most of our daily work, from brushing our teeth, making breakfast, steering the car, and doing our daily work. We use our arms constantly, they are relatively light, quick to move, and attached by a complex set of muscles to the upper torso, shoulder and neck area. The range of movement of our arms is part of the reason humans developed so quickly. The range of motion allowed us to hunt and make tools etc. and work and travel effectively. Today however, with industrialisation and technology advancements, we have lost much of the everyday movement and range of our arms. We see clients with a range of issues, especially in the shoulder joint area such as shoulder pain, shoulder stiffness and shoulder immobility including frozen shoulders. We also see other issues lower down the arms such as Tennis elbow, elbow stiffness, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and hand pain and wrist pain.
The Body Stress Release technique has a primary focus to address issues relating to the spine and locked-in tension. We find working on the spine, at every BSR session, there is the best chance to affect the working of the whole body. To that end, working on the spine in the neck and shoulder area, effects the Brachial Plexus nerve which controls and effects all the sensations in both arms. Many of the issues described by clients are radiated pain or transferred sensations originating from locked in tension in the neck and shoulder area.
As our body is symmetrical, often issues may relate to both arms. As one arm or shoulder locks in tension, so it might affect the other arm or neck area causing neck pain or neck tension. This is especially so with computer workers who often spend 8 hours per day straining arm muscles, neck muscles and shoulder muscles. As practitioners we can test and release individual muscles and by this method can trace lines of tension connected across sets of muscles in the neck and shoulder area. In cases where we are not able to release tension in the neck area to affect the arms, the practitioner will work directly on the arms and at the site of the actual pain or sensation.
There are two primary causes to locked-in tension in the arms – mechanical under-use and mechanical overuse. Under-use of our arms has been a progressive trend in society as the very many devices, in the workplace, home and outdoors, allow us to do things more easily, with reduced activity and mobility. In moving from the typewriter to the computer, the telephone to the cell phone and hand-whisk to the food processor all made life easier but prevented our muscles in the arms and shoulder from becoming strong and very mobile. In essence, we have weaker and more vulnerable arms to complete long term repetitive tasks such as computer work, driving and exercise.
Often to compensate for our lack of strength and mobility, we exercise in a variety of activities such as gym, weightlifting, walking, swimming and cycling. With an underdevelopment and sometimes a lack of warming up or preparation of muscles by building them for the exercise in particular – we see locked-in tension arising from an overuse in the arm and shoulder areas. Overuse can also result in issues described as tennis elbow and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome resulting from overexertion, poor exercise techniques or poorly fitted equipment such as cycles.
We see clients suffering from a variety of complaints in our practices such as arm pain, arm numbness, stiff arms, burning arm sensations, cold arms, or frozen arms. These types of sensation are often radiated sensations travelling down the Brachial Plexus Nerve, from its origin in the cervical or neck area and branching out as the nerve supply spreads out down the length of the arm. Locked in tension often causes and an interruption of the nerve pathways, hence these types of sensations. Through a series of body stress release (Body Stress Release) sessions, tailored to the client’s case history, these sensations dissipate as muscles relax and return to their optimal state.
Shoulder pain in general relates to the muscles holding the ball and socket joint in place and in the shoulder blade (or scapula). The shoulder joint and blade are meant to be the most dexterous and mobile joint in the body, but often shoulder pain results from the over or under use already explained. Shoulder pain takes many forms and can be dull creeping aches to sharp stabbing pains through arm movement. These can often be reduced with Body Stress Release and sometimes linked to suggested computer station changes in posture and operation to reduce mechanical stress from sustained use.
Shoulder Stiffness often results from prolonged mechanical use, often linked to poor posture positions in the workplace, such as at computers or even whilst sleeping. We spend about 8 hours per day asleep, that’s around a third of our life, and a poor posture during sleep can lead to tension building up. Clients often report waking with stiff shoulders or immobile shoulders and this may be caused by this mechanical stress. A good mattress and pillow positioning can alleviate this, and linked to good sleeping posture, can also assist clients in having a better night’s sleep. Our practitioners work to both release locked-in stress and advise on simple lifestyle changes to reduce day-to-day stresses.
A frozen shoulder often exhibits three main symptoms – shoulder pain, shoulder stiffness and shoulder immobility. A frozen shoulder may result from other medical issues such as a stroke, diabetes, or a mastectomy. Traumas to the body from operations or illnesses such as these can lock in tension. Body Stress Release in these situations, and over a period, may gradually reduce the symptoms of a frozen shoulder and return it to a more natural pain free mobile state.
Arm stiffness usually exhibits stiffness down the entire length of the arm from the shoulder joint to the elbow joint and may include a painful condition called Tennis Elbow. Tennis elbow is associated with both the overload and overuse of the elbow, resulting in pain in the connecting tendons, and not only associated with athletes as the name suggests. Often locked-in tension and pain are protective measure the body uses to signal issues. In releasing stress and tension, our partitioners monitor and record progress of all these indicators on an a client record card.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is often diagnosed by doctors and our clients come to our BSR practices with these diagnoses. Body Stress Release is a complementary technique and non-therapeutic, so we cannot diagnose or treat medical complaints. We do however take this information, as reported by our clients, to focus on areas of concern such as the wrist pain associated with CTS. CTS usually exhibits as intense wrist pain which may be referred pain from the spine, shoulder, or elbow tension. CTS may result in the need for operations, and we recommend coming for Body Stress Release before scheduling operations, as often the symptoms clear after some sessions. We have case studies of clients avoiding planned CTS operations after a few BSR sessions, wrist pain having been caused by locked-in tension.
**Information presented here is not qualified medical advice, as BSR is a non-medical and non-therapeutic technique. Nothing expressed herein creates a BSR Practitioner-Client relationship.
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