Trigger points in the teres major muscle are associated with many common shoulder injuries
The teres major, along with the tendon of the latissimus dorsi, which passes around it, and the subscapularis, forms the posterior fold of the axilla.
Teres Major and Trigger Points
Trigger points in the teres major are typically associated with frozen shoulder syndrome; pain on reaching above head; pain when driving; and common impingement syndromes.
Trigger points form in teres major for a number of reasons which often include sports related injuries, forceful overhead lifting, post shoulder fracture/ dislocation, frozen shoulder syndrome, sudden unexpected loading of shoulder (trauma), and prolonged immobility (sling).
Treating Trigger Points in Teres Major
Frozen shoulder syndrome, pain on reaching above head, slight pain on rest, pain when driving, impingement syndromes (sometimes misdiagnosed as thoracic outlet syndrome).
Impingement syndromes. Rotator cuff tendinopathy. Cervical neuropatterns (C6-C7). Thoracic outlet syndrome. Supraspinatus calcification.
Referred Pain Patterns
Deep pain into posterior glenohumeral joint and an oval zone (5–10 cm) of pain in the posterior deltoid area (can radiate strongly to long head of biceps brachii). Diffuse pain into the dorsum of forearm.
Referred Pain - Anterior View
Referred Pain - Posterior View
Self Help Tips
Stretching and self-massage can help with pain relief, and sometimes also help dissipate the trigger points. Below are the details of two simple exercises that we often recommend.
Stand with your arm out and your forearm pointing upwards at 90 degrees. Place a broomstick in your hand and behind your elbow. With your other hand pull the bottom of the broomstick forward.
Many people are very tight in the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder. Perform this stretch very slowly to start with and use extreme caution at all times.
1. Take a tennis ball or hard rubber ball. There are also some pressure tools that are specifically designed for this task. They are better, but not essential.
2. Place the host muscle in a comfortable position, where it is relaxed and can undergo full stretch.
3. Apply gentle and gradually increasing pressure to the tender point until you feel resistance. This should be experienced as discomfort and not as severe pain.
4. Apply sustained pressure until you feel the tender point yield and soften. This can take from a few seconds to several minutes.
5. Steps 3-4 can be repeated, gradually increasing the pressure on the tender/trigger point until it has fully yielded.
6. To achieve a better result, you can try to change the direction of pressure during these repetitions.
This Trigger Point Therapy blog and the information on this website is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.
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