Infraspinatus Pain: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
Deep Intense Shoulder Pain
Do you have deep, intense shoulder pain in the front of your shoulder that may run down the outside of the arm into the fingers?
Does it hurt when you reach back to your nightstand or put your seat belt on? You may have a hard time reaching for your wallet or zipping your dress…maybe even when you put your arm in your coat. If this sounds like you, you probably have trigger points in your infraspinatus and teres minor. These two muscles are part of the four rotator cuff muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint along with the subscapularis and supraspinatus.
The teres minor is like a little brother to the infraspinatus so I will talk about them as one.
Causes of Infraspinatus Pain
Rotator cuff muscle injuries can range anywhere from sports injuries to wear and tear with age. The older your age the more likely you are to have rotator cuff tears. Tissues become weakened and dehydrated. Smoking and repeated cortisone injections also increase the chances of having a rotator cuff tear.
Although it’s not common, the suprascapular nerve can become impinged upon by weakened rotator cuff muscles most specifically the infraspinatus muscle.
Tendonitis is an overuse injury that results in inflamed tendons. When your tendons are inflamed, you have a greater chance of tearing your tendons.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
This occurs when trigger points in the infraspinatus muscle are what are causing the pain. You will usually have referred pain to other areas of the body. Meaning you can feel pain in other areas than just your rotator cuff muscle. This is the most common cause of pain in this area. The pain may travel down from the shoulder muscle into the arm to create upper arm pain.
Symptoms of Teres Minor & Infraspinatus Pain
One of the biggest symptoms of trigger points in the infraspinatus and teres minor is if it hurts your shoulder when you sleep. Laying on it
hurts because you are compressing the trigger points but also not laying on it hurts because it’s putting it at a stretch. Hugging a pillow will help that.
Another symptom is a grinding or catching feeling when you move your shoulder joint. You may also experience weakness and a limited range of motion.
How to Help Intense Infraspinatus Muscle Pain
If you suspect a rotator cuff tear, do not stretch it. Avoid doing repetitive things that irritate the infraspinatus muscle such as rolling hair in curlers and reaching back to the bedside table. A heating pad on low while you sleep may help you sleep better. If the muscle is not torn, you can stretch it daily under a warm shower. One other thing you can do is loosen it by laying on a tennis ball. You may want to visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis. They will usually suggest a massage or physical therapy. In some cases, they may suggest corrective surgery.
We can help relieve the intense infraspinatus muscle pain with a massage! It usually only takes one or two massages to relieve acute pain. If you have had chronic pain, it will take 5-6 massage treatments. Come see us before visiting a physical therapist! Getting out myofascial trigger points out of the shoulder muscles is our specialty! Give us a call to schedule your appointment or you can schedule online! 614-604-6358
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