Relieve Pain In Front Of Shoulder

In over 90% of the cases you can relieve pain in front of your shoulder with some simple but very effective self-massage techniques.

In the vast majority frontal shoulder pain is caused by too tight muscles or trigger points. Both can be treated by yourself, if you know how to do it.

I will show you step by step which muscles you have to check and how to massage them in order to get rid of your pain.

Even if you experienced some structural damage – like a tossy fracture – through an accident, this page might help you.

Those kind of traumas often create trigger points and protective muscle tension, which leave you in pain even after the damaged structures have been healed.



... Of Your Mid Back

... Of Your Shoulder Blade

... At The Side And Front Of Your Shoulder

... Of Your Chest

... Of Your Upper Arm

... Of Your Neck

Causes: Potentially Responsible Muscles

Further Causes


Follow the instructions on this site and chances are high that your front shoulder pain is gone in a couple of weeks.

If you have any issues using this website, questions or suggestions for improvement, just contact me!

Relieve Pain In Front Of The Shoulder: Your Self-Massage

The reason why self-massage is the way, is that it eliminates trigger points and reduces muscle tension. Here, massage doesn't refer to aimless rubbing on your body, but to exact and precise work on specific key muscles, which I am going to present you in just a minute.

  • Massage yourself daily until your pain is gone. 
  • Only focus on tender (spots in) muscles.
  • Use slow, short and precise strokes.
  • Massage every (tender point in a) muscle max. 15 times per session.
  • At a pain-scale, ranging from 1-10, aim at a pain level between 4-7.

You could not follow along the videos? That's no problem. Below you will find the written massage description.

You have to review a particular muscle? Just click on the corresponding link in the text or in the section “Potentially Responsible Muscles”.

Pain In Front Of Shoulder: Description Of Your Self-Massage

I divided your massage in 6 steps/areas. I know, it is quite a lot and probably all new to you. But try to keep one thing in mind. You are going to develop some beneficial skills here. Time invested in self-massage, is time invested well!

1. Pain In Front Of Shoulder: Self-Massage Of Your Mid Back

Muscle: Latissimus Dorsi

We will start the massage at your mid back, where we will concentrate on your latissimus dorsi, the big muscle that can give you that V-shaped look. A tennis ball works great on this one.

Place the ball at the side of your thorax at the height of your 10 – 12th rib – there where your ribs “end” –.

Now press with the ball against a wall and slowly roll back and forth over that area, concentrating on the muscle that is jumping under your  ball.

Repeat this back and forth motion and try to make out any tender spots in this area.

In this manner, inspect your “body-flank “ up to the lower border of your shoulder blade. Stop at each tender spot and massage it max. 15 times with the ball.

Alternatively you can execute your massage strokes with up and down movements, which correspond to the muscle's fiber course.

It is a little bit more difficult as you are prone to slide off the muscle, but it is also slightly more effective. I recommend trying both variations and then to stick to the one that suits you better, or even to use both...

Palpation Of The Lowest Ribs

Palpation Of The Lowest Ribs

Latissimus Tennis Ball Massage

2. Pain In Front Of Shoulder: Self-Massage Of Your Shoulder Blade

Muscles: Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus & Latissimus Dorsi

This area and its muscles are causing trouble in almost every person that suffers from pain in front of the shoulder. Luckily, frequently applied self-massage can relieve those muscles pretty fast.

We start with the area above your spine of scapula, which is the little bony horizontal line that you can feel at the back of your shoulder blade.

Here you are going to work your supraspinatus with the press and move massage technique. If this muscle is too tight, it may not only give you pain on front of your shoulder but also make it hard, sometimes even impossible to lift your arm.

Form your hand like a shovel and press with your fingertips in the area directly above your spine of scapula. Now slowly lift and lower your arm a couple of times while you search with your fingers for tender spots. As soon as you find one, stay there and repeat the lifting and lowering for about 20 times through your painful range of motion.

Only go as far as your pain allows it and try to keep your massage on this muscle short as it's easy to strain your fingers here.

Palpation Of The Spine Of Scapula

Supraspinatus Press And Move Massage

We proceed with the area directly on your shoulder blade, where you will massage your infraspinatus. It is located directly under your spine of scapula and can contribute to front of shoulder pain.

If it is tight, the massage can be very painful and you might experience some severe shoulder blade pain.

Place the ball on your shoulder blade, under its spine and thoroughly inspect the whole area – don't spare out the corners –.

Sometimes it takes a while until you find the trouble-making spots. But when you hit them, I promise you, you will know!

Infraspinatus Tennis Ball Massage

Last but not least, devote your attention to the lower angle – angulus inferior – and the outer border of your shoulder blade, where some fibers of your latissimus attach.

It is really important that you inspect and massage the whole area from the lower angle of your shoulder blade up to your arm pit, so that you don't miss out on any problematic muscle tissue.

Latissimus - Upper Part - Self Massage

3. Pain In Front Of Shoulder: Self-Massage At The Side And Front Of Your Shoulder

Muscle: Deltoid

Here you are going to massage the front and mid part of your deltoid muscle. The tennis ball massage is again the way to go.

Like the supraspinatus, your deltoid can hinder you from moving your arm through its full range of motion if it contains trigger points or is too tight. So, relieving it not only helps you with the pain in front of your shoulder but also with freeing yourself from movement limitations.

Place the ball on the side of your shoulder and search for tender points in your middle deltoid all the way down to the midsection of your upper arm. Again, massage and roll over each tender spot for about 15 times.

Afterwards, move on to the frontal part of the muscle, which you can feel by placing your fingers on your shoulder and then lifting your arm. Here it's the same story. Search for painful spots and massage them.

Middle Deltoid Tennis Ball Massage

Palpation Of Anterior Deltoid

4. Pain In Front Of Shoulder. Self-Massage Of Your Chest

Muscles: Pectoralis Major, Pectoralis Minor, Sternalis & Subclavius

In this area I recommend using the finger-technique, as well as the press and move massage technique.

Let's start with your subclavius muscle, which lies in a horizontal manner directly under your clavicle/collarbone.

To massage it, press with your fingertips in the muscle tissue directly under your collarbone and search all along its way for tender spots.

Most of the times you will encounter them towards the inner end of the muscle, short before the collarbone meets the chest bone. 

The finger-technique is the best way to access and massage this muscle. Really make sure to inspect it thoroughly as it is often a major contributor to pain front of the shoulder.

Subclavius Self-Massage

Now let us see how your pectoralis major is doing and if it needs some work. It's the big and superficial chest muscle that a lot of men go crazy about. 

The press and move massage really works great here. Pinch the muscle tissue below your arm pit and then move your arm up and backwards.

By doing so, experiment with your finger positions and try to find tender spots – from above your nipple up to your arm pit –. As soon as you find one, stay on it and then slowly repeat the arm movement for about 20 times.

Note: The tender spots that are responsible for pain in front of the shoulder are often located right below your arm pit. So you might inspect that area with some extra care.

Pectoralis Major Self-Massage

Pay attention not to overdo it here and safe your fingers. Frequent rests and short massage sessions are nothing bad!

OK, it's time to move on. The next muscle on your to do list is the pectoralis minor.

You wont be able to feel it as it is covered the pec. major but you will be able to massage it. Still, first you have to locate your coracoid process – the bony knob at your shoulder – as this is where the muscle originates. 

Inspect the underlying 5 - 8 centimeters for tender points and massage each of them for a maximum of 15 times with the finger technique. In order to save your joints, I recommend to support your massaging hand with your free hand.

Palpation Of The Coracoid Process

Pectoralis Minor Self-Massage

Last but not least we have to check the sternalis muscle, which is variable and not existent in every human being, for tenderness.

Roll a tennis ball over the whole area next to your chest bone and try to make out painful spots in the muscle.

If you find one, massage it as you did before with the tennis ball massage.

Sternalis Tennis Ball Massage

5. Pain In Front Of Shoulder. Self-Massage Of Your Upper Arm

Muscles: Biceps Brachii, Coracobrachialis

Gently press with your thumb as high as possible into the inner side of your upper arm. Then press it against your ribcage and feel how the coracobrachialis is contracting. Then let go again and massage it with your thumb by repeatedly moving over the muscle.

The coracobrachialis lies in the vicinity of lots of nerves. So it is important to stay on the muscle.

If you slide off and hit a nerve, it is not the end of the world, but make sure to get back on track. If you massage a nerve too much, it may give you some pain along its pathway for the next one or two weeks.


Coracobrachialis Self-Massage

Let us move on to the front of your upper arm, where you are going to work your biceps brachii with the press and move massage.

To do so, just pinch your biceps. Now bend and extend your elbow a couple of times and search with your fingers for painful spots in the muscle. You are most likely to find them in the mid section of its muscle belly and your upper arm.

As soon as you find one, pinch it and bend and extend your elbow for about 20 times, letting your muscle work between your fingers.

Biceps Self-Massage

Biceps Self-Massage

6. Pain In Front Of Shoulder: Self-Massage Of Your Neck

Muscles: Scalenes

The scalenes are three little muscles at your neck. As it is a bit tricky to find them, I would like to refer you here to their own page.

Causes Of Pain In Front Of Shoulder: Potentially Responsible Muscles

The following list contains muscles that can cause pain in front of the shoulder. All of them got already discussed in the paragraphs above.

Still, you might want to review some of them in detail in order to find out more about their...

  • pain zones
  • attachment points
  • overload movements
  • ...

Note: Muscles that are highlighted with an “!” are the main troublemakers and should be checked with “special attention”.

Biceps brachii!




   Latissimus dorsi

   Pectoralis major!

Pectoralis minor!





Further Front Of Shoulder Pain Causes

Below is a list with activities that are often a cause for front of shoulder pain. I also listed the muscles that get commonly overstressed with that specific activity.

  • Painting ceilings: Deltoid, infraspinatus, supraspinatus
  • Strenuous chest training: Pectoralis major
  • Desk-work: Infraspinatus, pectoralis major and minor, subclavius
  • Rock climbing: Deltoid, infraspinatus, latissimus dorsi, supraspinatus
  • Swimming: Coracobrachialis, infraspinatus, latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, supraspinatus
  • Volleyball: Deltoid, infraspinatus, supraspinatus 

Front Of Shoulder Pain Symptoms:

It is very common that people with pain in front of shoulder experience problems in their activities of daily living and sports such as...

  • Pain when combing their hair or brushing their teeth.
  • Pain when lifting and carrying objects, especially in front of their body – like putting dishes back onto the shelf –.
  • Pain when serving – tennis, volleyball –

I want to thank you a lot for your time and reading my article. I hope you benefit from the information above. In case of any questions, just shoot me a mail.

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