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What 10 Minutes Can Do For Shoulder Muscle Pain

Dave, an athlete, recently came to my office with shoulder muscle pain after lifting weights from a few days before.

He had been feeling fine before his workout, then suddenly in an overhead press the pain was so excruciating that he nearly dropped the weights.

Since the incident Dave hadn’t been able to lift his arm without pain and he was also having problems sleeping.

So many muscles either originate (begin) or insert (end) into the shoulder joint or have an impact on your shoulder blade.  I’ll touch on the muscle that was causing Dave’s pain.

The Key Muscle to Relieving Dave’s Shoulder Muscle Pain — the Infraspinatus


In the back of your shoulder, on your shoulder blade, is a muscle called infraspinatus.  The infraspinatus muscle lies on the lower two-thirds of your shoulder blade and inserts on the tip of the upper arm bone.  The muscle originates (begins) on your shoulder blade and inserts (ends) into your rotator cuff making up one of the four rotator cuff muscles.

Since many practitioners focus on just the four rotator cuff muscles (Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Subscapularis), they often miss the muscles that cause pain in the shoulder since the muscles are a distance from the shoulder.

When I pressed on Dave’s infraspinatus muscle he almost passed out!  Even with the slightest pressure he was in pain.  After a few deep breaths I gave him the good news!  The infraspinatus is one of the easiest muscles to self-treat so he would be out of pain in no time and he could also keep treating the area over the next couple days.

It’s just a matter of taking a trigger point therapy ball (or a new tennis ball) and either leaning up against the wall or lying on the floor with the ball right on the tender point on the shoulder blade.

An Easy Self-Treatment for Shoulder Muscle Pain:

As you lie on the floor place the ball directly on the muscle.  Allow your weight to press the ball into the infraspinatus muscle.  Gently move your body around to maneuver the ball covering the entire length of the muscle.

It’s best to go in the direction of the muscle, basically from the lower part of the shoulder blade up toward the point of the shoulder.

Only add more pressure as you feel comfortable.  The pressure you apply should always be tolerable.  It can take a few times to release the muscle knots.

For Dave just the little bit of pressure I applied while I explained the cause of his pain made a huge difference.  I gradually increased the pressure, which is what I suggest you do.  Start lighter and go deeper.  When you find a tender point stay still and allow the muscle to release, then move to another area on the muscle.

By the end of 10 minutes Dave was able to lift his arm comfortably.  And with a few self-treatment sessions over the next few days he was back in the gym without pain.

If you have shoulder muscle pain, this self-treatment is worth a try!  It may exactly what your shoulder needs!

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