If your supraspinatus contains trigger points, you might feel pain right at these spots. But you also might feel an ache in more distant, seemingly unrelated areas of your body.
The most common area of pain which comes along with trigger points in this muscle is the side of your shoulder. Besides that, pain can radiate down the whole side of your arm – especially to your elbow –.
This way it can contribute to the following aches. Click on the corresponding link to learn how to get yourself out of pain.
The intensity of the red colour in the pictures below indicates how common it is to feel pain in the marked spots. The darker the red, the likelier it is to experience an ache in the respective area when your supraspinatus contains trigger points.
The muscle attaches planar on the shoulder blade just above your spine of scapula. From there it connects to the tuberculum majus at your humerus – the outer side of your upper arm –. The Xs in the picture below display common areas where tender and trigger points in this muscle can develop.
known function is the abduction of your arm. Furthermore it
helps to keep your shoulder stabilized when moving it.
I want to give you an example of how this muscle stabilizes your shoulder. When you carry a shopping bag, its weight is pulling on your shoulder. Here, it prevents your upper arm from sliding downwards too much. Thus while carrying a bag it is very active and acts as a counterforce of the bag. This scenario of course, applies every time objects are pulling on your arm.
Now please imagine how much it has to work in order to stabilize your shoulders if you are doing deadlifts for example or pull anything heavy off the ground. Another common scenario would be your dog at a leash or your child pulling on your arm and thus stressing this muscle. Here again, the muscle prevents your shoulder from pulling apart.
Stress this muscle too much and it may give you pain while doing some of the following movements. Please remember that those are just examples and do not display a complete list. In general, you may have problems with all movements that require lifting your arm at and above shoulder level. In more dramatic cases it may be even difficult to elevate your arm at all.
Here are some common movements and activities where you have to lift your arm.
Locating and feeling your supraspinatus is pretty easy. Just put your fingers slightly above your spine of scapula. Try not to go too high as you will then reach the middle part of your trapezius. You want to put your fingers between your trapezius and your spine of scapula.
Now slowly start to raise your arm to the side. While doing this movement you should feel it thickening under your fingers. If you cannot feel it right away, do not stress. Just repeat the slow raising of your arm a couple of times while searching for the right spot.
recommend massing this muscle with a cane. This is the easiest way to
access it and to exert pressure. You also can use a tennis ball but it
is a little bit more difficult and not that convenient for massage,
still effective and doable.
It is possible that you do
something good to one of your shoulders while stressing too much the
just mentioned parts.
with tennis ball: You are facing the wall sideways. Put the ball on
your shoulder and press it against a wall. Now roll the ball over your
shoulder till you find your supraspinatus. Massage it with little
Calais-German, Blandine. Anatomy of Movement. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993. Print
Davies, Clair, and Davies, Amber. The Trigger Point Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide For Pain Relief. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2004. Print
Simons, David G., Lois S. Simons, and Janet G. Travell. Travell & Simons' Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1999. Print.
Schünke, Michael., Schulte, Erik, and Schumacher, Udo. Prometheus: Lernatlas der Anatomie. Stuttgart/New York: Georg Thieme Verlag, 2007. Print