Fingers on the trigger
A torn infraspinatus muscle - widely reported as the second most often injured muscle in the shoulder's rotator cuff - spurred my visit to myotherapist Liam Fitzpatrick. This was after three years of pain, many physiotherapy and osteopathy treatments, and many cortisone injections.
After assessing posture and asking questions about an exercise regimen or the possibility of other injuries, Fitzpatrick went to work on the shoulder, asking where I could feel the pain and pin-pointing it by getting me to show which arm movements were the most painful.
So far, it was pretty much like other manual therapists.
However, he then anchored the top of my shoulder with one hand and used the fingers on the other hand to dig deep into the muscle and fascia on the shoulder to the point where I was clenching my teeth through the pain.
Then he asked me to reach my arm forward and then pull it back, while he continued the pressure. His anchoring hand pulled back on the top of the shoulder to realign it to where it was prior to the injury.
He explained that when one muscle is under-functioning, others take over, and my right trapezius (between the neck and shoulder) was doing all the work, rolling forward in the process.
The idea was to 'train' it to roll back while at the same time 'un-knotting' the infraspinatus.
The deep digging and 'un-knotting' style of manipulation hurts - and my shoulder was sore for a few days afterwards - but not as much as the chronic pain that had affected my daily life for years.
The loosening sensation 72 hours after the treatment was impressive and the old pain is now unnoticeable during normal activity.