Shoulder Pain Gets Benched – Recovering After Axillary Nerve Injury

by | Aug 7, 2017

Christian was a young, sporty and physically strong 18-year-old boy, on holiday in Singapore visiting his parents. A keen rugby player, he’d been unable to participate in his beloved game for over fourteen months after a bicycle accident that had injured his left shoulder.

Shoulder Pain Axillary Nerve InjuryUnfortunately, he didn’t see a doctor immediately after the accident. Seven months later, suffering from limitation of active shoulder mobility and extreme discomfort and numbness of the shoulder region, he consulted a specialist in sports medicine, who diagnosed him with a contusion, SLAP (superior labral tear from anterior to posterior) lesion and axillary nerve injury. The recommendation was an EMG test to control related nerves and extensive physiotherapy.

Don’t Wait To Return to Your Best

For more than six months Christian had been seeing a physiotherapist for soft tissue manipulation, stretching and strengthening exercises. The treatments had helped him maintain mobility of the shoulder and protected him from further muscle wasting. Unfortunately, he still wasn’t allowed to play rugby nor any other strong, physically demanding sport.

His mother brought him in to see me. I’ve worked with plenty of young, busy and active people, and I know they prefer a focused and efficient treatment without too much chatter. However, to create rapport, and perhaps get some more detailed and valuable insight into his condition, I asked him about his life at boarding school and his passion of rugby.

I only have one chance to create a positive and remarkable result, so it was important for me to really concentrate on which nerve receptor needed reactivation to facilitate the appropriate muscle release.

I made a quick observation and active physical assessment of the range of motion of the shoulder. Intuitively I decided to focus only on the function of the shoulder. Standing in front of him I mirrored his position to get a physical sense in my own shoulder of which muscles needed to be released.

I got straight to the point, physically examining active shoulder mobility to have a benchmark for the improvement. Christian’s pain-free range of movement was only 90 out of 180 before intense pain was provoked in the deltoid muscle.

I applied very light finger pressure to two points at the front and the back of the shoulder region, holding each for only a few seconds and concentrating on the response in my fingertips that would indicate when to let go of the pressure. After a minute of rest I asked Christian to lift his arm and he found to his surprise that he was able to move it to the fullest extent without any discomfort and with ease.

Suffering is Optional

This positive and rapid change excited him and he was eager to continue, hoping for more and better results. I continued the session, analysing and releasing, one step at the time. Christian was delighted when he suddenly had full range of active motion by rotating his arm.

With a few more moves I was able to facilitate a neutral position that almost immediately created a noticeable correction. I finished the session by releasing the neck rotator, SCM, as it often has been under overload from a shoulder problem and lastly the important ligament Nuchae, holding the head.

Christian had a big smile on his face. He couldn’t believe that he had full shoulder function, no pain nor numbness. Of course, he wanted to know if the treatment would last and if and when he would be able to play rugby again?

His best option was to continue with the stretching and strengthening exercises and let his rugby coach decide the date of active return to full body contact sport.

Confident, Energetic & Healthy

Before Christian and his mother left the clinic I searched the Internet for possible therapists in close proximity to his boarding school to support and comfort him in case he wanted similar treatment.

Six months later Christian came back to Singapore on a holiday and scheduled a second appointment to see me. He entered the clinic with confidence, looking energetic and healthy. He happily announced that the first treatment had lasted and that he was completely free of numbness and pain, had full shoulder range of motion, noticeable muscle gain and had returned to playing rugby two months after our first session.

At the booster session, I gave seven light pressure points around the shoulder and he felt a remarkable lightness of the underlying structure, making it much easier for him to lift the arm. He once again thanked me for helping him get his life back on track, and that is the last time I have seen Christian.

You really can return to your best and enjoy a pain-free fulfilled life. It is just one connection away.

In the next few articles, I will be giving you some true, inspirational stories from my book Pain-Free, because I really think that they will bring you closer to understanding the meaning and purpose of what we do and how you can become pain-free.

Do you have a similar story? Please share it with us.

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