Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Infraspinatus Muscle and Shoulder Joint Pain

Infraspinatus Trigger Points often refer right into the front of the shoulder, and can feel like the pain is coming from deep in the joint itself.  Pain will sometimes even refer down the arm and forearm, and possibly into the back of the neck and head.
The infraspinatus muscle, illustrated in the picture, externally rotates the arm, and stabilizes the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) during arm movements.
Trigger points in this muscle can cause pain while sleeping on either side.  They will also flare when trying to do up a bra behind your back, or when bringing your arm forward to brush your teeth or hair.
This can make it difficult to perform activities such as putting your arm into the sleeve of a jacket, reaching into a back pocket, zipping up a dress with a zipper in the back, or fastening a bra.
Active infraspinatus trigger points can lead to feelings of fatigue in the shoulder, making it feel heavy and weak.  Grip strength and shoulder range of  motion may decrease, and it can be difficult to find a sleeping position, unless you prop up on a pillow or chose the recliner for your bed of choice.
Infraspinatus trigger points often become activated due to repetitive use with movements such as reaching behind you to a night stand or desk if your office setup is less than perfect.  Reaching up for prolonged periods doing activities like curling/straightening your hair can also overtax this muscle.
Corrective Actions therefore would be to limit movements such as those listed above.  Supporting the muscle when sidelying by hugging a pillow may also help, or using a hot pack on the infraspinatus for a few minutes before bed.
Tennis ball self massage is great for this muscle, and can be done either on the ground with the ball under the shoulder blade, or with the ball in a sock or nylon.  Simply hold the end of the sock, resting the ball between your shoulder blade and the wall, and leaning back against the wall to reach the desired pressure.
Infraspinatus can be stretched by elevating the arm parallel to the floor and then drawing it across the front of your body (use the opposite arm to gently pull the affected arm across your body by the elbow.)

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