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Shoulder Pain



  • The client is a 62-year old female with left shoulder and neck pain.
  • She describes the pain as coming on gradually about ten years ago during a time of her life when she was traveling frequently.
  • She began to notice that her left thumb would go numb when she would look straight up.
  • She occasionally gets shooting pains in the back of her neck.
  • The pain radiates down the inside part of the arm.
  • The pain is worse in the morning, with numbness in both hands.


  • The initial postural and range-of-motion assessment reveals the left side of the client’s neck is contracted and left shoulder is elevated compared to the right.
  • Head is positioned forward relative to the tops of the shoulders.
  • Significant tension is observable in the posterior left shoulder.
  • The client has restrictions in her range of motion looking to the left.



  • The client begins with one 30-minute session and four 60-minute sessions.
  • Each session is spaced one week apart. Soft tissue manipulation includes Chinese medical massage rolling, pressing, pushing, kneading techniques applied on the entire neck and back, along with specific work on left shoulder rotator cuff and neck muscles.
  • Cupping is performed from Session 3 onward, with cups placed at SI11 and BL13.
  • Gua sha is performed along the posterior neck muscles and rhomboids group in both shoulders at Session 3 and 4.
  • Pain referral path down the arm follows the LU/LI meridians, so HT1/PC8 acupressure point combination is held for about 2 minutes.
  • Left arm is also rotated in shoulder joint as pressing is performed at LU2 on the anterior shoulder.
  • SI9 and SI11 are also held in combination to reduce posterior shoulder pain on the left.



  • The client reported minimal pain for about one week following the initial 30-minute treatment.
  • Following Session 2, the client reported minimal pain levels, although still experiences stiffness in her neck and upper shoulder right away in the morning when she gets up.
  • Following Session 3, the client reports that she was pain-free for the entire week.
  • The client reports that the left shoulder pain appears to be resolved following Session 3 and the client continues with maintenance work on an infrequent basis.