Shoulder Pain

Self-care Protocols for Shoulder Strains and Injuryshoulder pain remedy Chinese medicine

The Large Intestine channel and Lung Channel are two of the main channels that traverse the shoulders and points on those related channels are often chosen when applying Aroma Acu-Therapyself-care protocols. However, one of the most effective points for shoulder pain is located on the leg (Acupressure Point Stomach 38) and not the arm due to deep pathways and connections in the body referred to as collateral channels. Self-care suction cupping is also a popular modality for addressing shoulder problems as the area is fleshy and cups easily adhere to the area. For best outcomes using self-care, combine associated Aroma Acu-Sticks® to acu-points, topical remedies, and good lifestyle practices.

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Acupressure Points for Shoulder Painessential oils for acupressure

Learn How to Effectively Activate Acupressure Points Linked Here!


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Patterns of Imbalance Causing Shoulder Pain

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are many different causes of shoulder pain. Qi and/or Blood Stagnation are necessary elements for pain to occur so it would generally be assumed that some elements of these patterns will apply to any condition causing shoulder pain. Where Qi goes, Blood goes;

Where Blood goes, Qi goes according to Chinese medical theory, so when one imbalance occurs the other is implied. However, there could be stronger elements of either Blood or Qi stagnation obstructing the flow of energy of the channels that course the shoulder depending on how the pain syndrome presents. 

Blood Stagnation of the Shoulder Channelssuction cupping essential oils for shoulder

When there is severe Blood Stagnation, the pain tends to be sharp. Add to general Aroma Acu-therapy protocol above: Apply the Earth Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Spleen 10

Qi Stagnation of the Channels of the Shoulder

Qi stagnation of the shoulder is often caused by overwork, receptive strain from sports, or daily computer mouse use. One would want to avoid the activity that led to the injury while pursuing self-care through Aroma Acu-therapy, Suction Cupping Solutions Therapy, and topical Dit Da Jow applications daily.

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Internal Dampness Invading the Channels of the Shouldershoulder pain natural remedy

Damp Phlegm can invade the channels that traverse the shoulders causing dull achy pain, a feeling of heaviness in the arms, and/or pain that worsens with humid or wet weather. Dampness is often caused by Spleen Qi disharmonies which must also be addressed for long-term relief. If this is not cleared up early-on, Damp-Phlegm can congeal into chronic arthritic conditions that are very difficult to resolve.

For Internal Dampness of the shoulder channels, add to general Aroma Acu-therapy protocol above:

Cold Invasion of the Channels of the ShoulderYang Deficiency Topical Remedy

Meat workers whose hands are constantly in contact with cold substances not only develop arthritis of the hands, but the pain often radiates up to the shoulder. Anyone chronically exposed to cold conditions can be susceptible to Cold invading the channels; this includes constant air conditioning blowing towards the neck and shoulder area. Cold can also open the door for an Internal Damp invasion of the channels, so it is not unusual to have both conditions occurring at the same time.

Self-care Strategy for Cold Invasion of the Shoulder:

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Trauma Causing Shoulder Pain

Yang Patterndit dat jow topical pain remedy

Trauma resulting in a tendon sheath tear, rotator cuff tear, or inflammation would require cooling herbs such as the Stage 1 Dit Da Jow. This is typically be the time immediately following an injury and two weeks or so thereafter.

Yin Pattern

Sports injuries, accidents, and surgery are common causes of shoulder pain. If not treated correctly and immediately, these conditions can result in the formation of scar tissue and possibly adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder. These conditions are generally considered deficient, and warming Stage 2 Dit Da Jow would be most appropriate. Because of the chronic nature of these conditions, expect the apply Aroma Acu-Therapy and topical remedies for many months for a full resolution of the pain condition.

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Stress Causing Shoulder Painessential oils for acupressure

Liver Qi Stagnation is often associated with mental stress. The Liver and Gallbladder are the energetic organs of the Wood Element of Chinese medicine. The two acupuncture channels related to the organs are connected through deep pathways in the body. 

When there are Liver constraints, Heat develops in the Liver and can travel up the Liver channel to the Gallbladder channel which traverses the shoulder region and can cause pain and tightness At the highest point between the neck and the shoulder at the crest of the trapezius muscle where Acupressure Point Gallbladder 21 is located.

Gallbladder Channel Shoulder Pain Radiating Up Neck

The Gallbladder Channel continues up the neck and vices the head. Pain radiating from the shoulder up through the neck back to the occipital region at the base of the scull follows this pattern of energetic blockages and may include headaches.

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Using Chinese Medical Channel Theory for Self-care

The channels that are typically implicated with shoulder pain include the Large Intestine Acupressure Channel, the Lung Acupressure Channel, the Gallbladder Acupressure Channel, and the San Jiao Acupressure Channel. Self-care Aroma Acu-Therapy Points can be chosen by Channel Theory as described linked here.

shoulder acupuncture channels

Pro Tips:

  1. It is not necessary to choose points located directly above pain; master practitioners often use distal points to the pain and often state that the points located the furthest from the pain are the most effective.
  2. Palpating points along the channels can help determine an effective protocol as the most tender points are often the most appropriate points to apply Aroma Acu-Therapy™.
  3. We provide detailed information for many commonly used acupressure points; you can research the related articles to see which points are the most appropriate for your specific condition.
  4. Keep in mind that you are trying to apply Aroma Acu-therapy to only 5-8 points daily for a focused therapy.

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Çevik B, Taşcı S. The effect of acupressure on upper extremity pain and quality of life in patients hemodialysis treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2020 May;39:101128. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2020.101128. Epub 2020 Mar 2. PMID: 32379666.

Kang H, An SC, Kim B, Song Y, Yoo J, Koh E, Lee S, Yang HJ. Reduced Pain by Mind-Body Intervention Correlates with Improvement of Shoulder Function in People with Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2022 Mar 24;2022:6149052. doi: 10.1155/2022/6149052. PMID: 35368768; PMCID: PMC8970874.

Lee J. A., Park S.-W., Hwang P. W., et al. Acupuncture for shoulder pain after stroke: a systematic reviewJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine2012;18(9):818–823. 

Koog YH, Jin SS, Yoon K, Min BI. Interventions for hemiplegic shoulder pain: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Disabil Rehabil. 2010;32(4):282-91.

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.