Infraspinatus trigger referral spots
The infraspinatus has several pain referral sites, depending on which muscle fibres are in spasm:
- Anterior shoulder pain
- Biceps pain
- Mid-scapular pain
- Tingling and numbness into the forearm and hand.
Infraspinatus Syndrome symptoms
- Sharp, dull, burning, or aching
- Tingling and numbness or pins and needles
- Pain at rest or at night around the shoulder blade or hand and arms
- Arm weakness
- Pain when lifting or lowering your arm
- Crepitus or cracking sounds when moving your arm
When the Infraspinatus muscle is in spasm it can deactivate, losing tone with loss of shoulder stabilization. The shoulder can then begin to internally rotate, leading to further rotator cuff injuries with loss of movement and further pain. The shoulders round forward, the shoulder blades rotate or flare out, and the mid-back muscles tighten with more load on the other shoulder rotator muscles and anterior compression on the humeral head. The trapezius muscles tighten, raising the shoulders. The thoracic spine and neck are usually involved and may feel tight.
Chiropractic treatment of Infraspinatus Syndrome
Over the course of my career as a Chiropractor I’ve lost count of how many times infraspinatus trigger points are the cause of the patient’s shoulder and arm pain.
Adjustment to tightness in the thoracic spine and neck are essential to help remove the underlying cause of the infraspinatus muscle tightness.
Deep massage releasing to the infraspinatus muscle trigger spots is often extremely beneficial and my favourite method of treatment. It can reproduce the symptoms – clients often say ‘that’s the pain I get in my arm/hand’
Self-massage to the Infraspinatus can be given using a tennis ball (or cricket, golf or lacrosse ball) by placing the ball on the infraspinatus muscle, and lying down and relaxing into it, to allow release of the trigger spots. Gently move the shoulder to help the ball move and blood to circulate.
This can also be done standing resting the ball on a wall; see this video.
Postural imbalance and overuse correction
Figuring out the activities that are helping to cause the overuse of the infraspinatus muscles is essential.