Andy reported that the pain was near his scapula and his shoulder felt tight serving. He was not pictured gripping his shoulder joint but over the back of the upper trapezius, into the right upper thoracic spine region. His physio manipulated his mid to upper thoracic spine joints, performed similar thrust techniques on the rib angles where they join the thoracic spine as well, and applied some brief trigger point pressure to his upper traps muscle (although this may just have been assessment) and his lats muscle under the armpit. We need every plane of movement available for the tennis serve action, and correct balance of muscle forces as we throw the racket head through the ball.
The manips increase the spinal joint glide (needed for the mechanics of serving); drop the tone in over-active muscles (especially in any guarded muscles running from the scapula to the thoracic spine). The 'few good cracks' Andy reported are 'cavitation'- nitrogen bubbles bursting within the spinal joints. The manips also stimulate the brain to release powerful non-opioid pain relieving chemicals into the bloodstream, using nor-adrenaline pathways - increasing muscle recruitment - part of our fight-or-flight system. And a little trigger point pressure to be sure the upper traps & lats muscles have let go.
Not so mystical! Not quite 'healing' (as nothing was torn or damaged).
Nevertheless the effects were 'magic' - pain reduced or gone, moving well, great muscle control, focused & able to be on his game - the difference between losing 6 games in a row and winning 5 on the trot. Game-set-and match, Murray!
Well reasoned & well applied physio makes the difference. That's what you pay your physio for!
Now to prepare well for the last 16.