Newsletter excerpts: Shoulder and Rotator Cuff May 2016

Michelle Burns
May 23, 2016

Every month I send out a newsletter to subscribers with the most recent evidence and studies on specific body work topics. The newsletter may include summaries and links to studies and articles, videos that provide support information about exercises, new techniques or lectures. There are five main focuses for the newsletters and each newsletter is repeated twice a year. The five main focuses for the newsletters are: Shoulder and rotator cuff, fibromyalgia, fascia and trigger points, upper cross and neck, and business/ethics. If you would like to receive the newsletters with more complete information than is found in the excerpts, please sign up to receive the newsletter on my contact page.



1. An article published in Journal of Anatomy in Jan 2016, titled Fascial bundles of the infraspinatus fascia: anatomy, function, and clinical considerations is an in-depth looks at the connective tissue.

2. A book, published by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,  published a report, Nonoperative and Operative Treatments for rotator Cuff Tears: Future Research Needs in 2013, evaluated studies from 1990 through 2009 on interventions and their effectiveness.

3.  A study published in the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies in 2012, Therapeutic effects of traditional Thai massage on pain, muscle tension and anxiety in patients with scapulocostal syndrome; a randomized single-blinded pilot study is investigating the therapeutic effects of traditional Thai massage on pain intensity, pressure pain threshold, muscle tension and anxiety associated with scapulocostal syndrome.

4.  Erik Dalton provides a very good explanation of joint misalignment in the shoulder in an article titled “The Wobbly Wheel Syndrome”.

5.  A study published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences in Feb 2016, Manual therapy as an effective treatment for fibrosis in a rat model of upper extremity overuse injury, by Voe, Harris, Zhao and Barbe found three outcomes;  therapy on rats over a 12 week repetitive motion task reduced adverse behaviors and improved task performance, manual therapy attenuated increases in collagen deposition in forearm tissues, including nerve, and investigation of manual therapy as a preventive for hand and wrist woe-related musculoskeletal disorders is indicated. 

6.  Rayner & Smale is a blog targeted towards Physiotherapists and other practitioners who are interested in learning about the latest evidence-based research. They have several blog posts focused on Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: The Role of the scapula in Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: Part 1, The role of the scapula in Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: Part 2, Scapula rehabilitation-Which exercise to Choose, and Shoulder Symptom Modification Procedure-Picking the Right Shoulders to Treat.

7.  GuerrillaZen Fitness has a video showing a subscapularis self-release technique and a self-stretch that can be provided to patients for homework.  

8.  Paula Nutting gives a great demonstration of a Muscle Energy technique for treatment of Glenohumeral pathology on youtube.

9. A really nicely done video can be found on youtube that shows the rotator cuff muscles. There is no sound but none is needed.  Anatolia cuff dei rotatori—Anatomie Rotatorenmanschette—Rotator Cuff Anatomy from the Ticinosthetics GainzSchool.  


11.  Dr. Evan Osar of Fitness Education Seminars, has a great video showing a powerful exercise for rotator cuff, rotator cuff injury, shoulder impingement syndrome that focuses on stabilization and centration.


1. A study titled A Multi-modal treatment approach for the shoulder: A 4 patient case series, by Mario Pribicevic and Henry Pollard, and published in Chiropractic & Osteopathy in 2005, combined Soft tissue therapy ischemic pressure and cross-friction massage, 7 minutes of phonophoresis with 1% cortisone, diversified spinal and peripheral joint manipulation and shoulder girdle muscle exercises for 4 clients diagnosed with shoulder impingement syndrome. All four subjects at the end of the treatment protocol were symptom-free with all outcome measures being normal. At 1 month patients continues to be symptom-free.

2.  An article published in Physical Therapy by Dianne Jewell, Daniel Riddle and Leroy Thacker, Interventions Associate with an Increased or Decreased Likelihood of Pain Reduction and Improved Function in Patients with Adhesive Capsulitis: A Retrospective Cohort Study, includes a review of  RCT’s and systematic reviews with a focus on various physical therapy treatments: laser, exercise, ultrasound, deep friction and Cyriax mobilization, heat and exercise.

3. A study from 2002, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine titled Work environment and neck and shoulder pain: the influence of exposure time results from a population based case-control study studies associations between long term and short term exposure to different work environmental conditions and the incidence of neck or shoulder pain. 

4. A study by Bergman, Winters, Groenier, Meyboom-de Jong, Postmen, and van der Heijden, Manipulative therapy in addition to usual care for patients with shoulder complaints: results of physical examination outcomes in a randomized controlled trial, published in Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics in 2010 examines the effect of manipulative therapy on the shoulder girdle when added to usual care provided by the general practitioner. 

5.  “From these six published analyses of somatosensory function, sensitization appears to be a regularly occurring phenomenon in individuals with unilateral shoulder pain.” This statement is the premise for a study published in Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy in Jul 2015

6.  Dr. Andreo Spina addressed the concept of scapular mobility vs. “stability” and offers a demonstration of the Scapular End-Range Rotations exercise to increase functional mobility in a youtube video. 

7.  A video made at the Vancouver Fascia Congress in 2012, Vancouver Fascia Congress Shoulder Study—Myofascial Trigger point release shows the results of a pilot study, Assessment of Myofascial Trigger Point release with a novel Myometer (myotonPRO) in addition to an algometer.

8.  A study published in Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine in May 2015, Structural Characteristics are not associated with pain and function in rotator cuff tears: The ROW cohort study, found pain and functional status were not associated with tear size and thickness, fatty infiltration or muscle atrophy. 

9.  Superior labral tears are diagnosed with high frequency using MRI in 45-60 year olds with asymptomatic shoulders, indicating these may be normal age-related findings. Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, Jan 2016: High Prevalence of Superior Labral Tears Diagnosed by MRI in Middle-Aged Patients with Asymptomatic Shoulders.  

10.  Exercise seen as key in the treatment of Subacromial Shoulder Impingement Syndrome. Study published in Physical Therapy Mar 2016: Physical Therapists’ Perceptions and use of exercise in the Management of Subacromial Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: A Focus Group Study.  

11.  A pilot study to evaluate the short-term effect of kinesio taping (KT) on pain and motor ability of hemiplegic shoulder pain was published in the International Journal of Rehabilitation Research in Apr 2016 (Effect of kinesis tape application on hemiplegic shoulder pain and motor ability:a pilot study.

12. Exercise rehabilitation in the non-operative management of rotator cuff tears: a review of the literature, published in International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy in Apr 2016 presents an evidence-based case for the role of conservative rehabilitation in the management of rotator cuff injuries. 

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