Chiropractic & Physiotherapy

Infraspinatus Trigger Point: The Culprit of Many Shoulder Pain Cases

One of the more common complaints that we see in the clinic is shoulder pain. Patients presented with such complaint usually seek alternative treatment but to no avail. So, what is this unexplainable pain deep in the shoulder joint? Is there something wrong with the joint itself?

Infraspinatus Muscle

The infraspinatus muscle is part of the rotator cuff muscles that are responsible in stabilizing the shoulder joint and assisting movements such as lateral rotation of the shoulder. It is a muscle that is involved in almost every movement of the shoulder. Hence, a dysfunction to this muscle can restrict the quality of our daily living.

Our muscles need to contract and relax for movement to occur. Without this contraction and relaxation, we will be immobile. When there is a trigger point, the normal movement of the muscle is disrupted due to formation of knots along the muscle.

Imagine our muscle fibre as a bundle of rope. When there is a knot along the rope, the movement of overlapping during contraction and relaxation is not smooth anymore. Hence, the formation of pain.

Infraspinatus trigger points

Our infraspinatus has several trigger points within the muscle fibers, they all refer pain to different parts of the shoulder and arm.

As seen in the diagram above, the infraspinatus trigger point commonly refer pain to:

  • The front of the shoulder
  • Deep in the shoulder joint
  • Shoulder blade
  • Biceps
  • Forearm and hands

Types of pain referred are not limited to achiness. Numbness, tingling, weakness, sharp pain, dull and burning are common symptoms as well.

Due to this pain, daily activities such as lifting the arm to wave “hello”, fastening their bra strap, reaching out to turn the door knob, lifting arms to wash their hair, brushing teeth and disturbed sleep due to sleeping positions can also be affected.

How do we get infraspinatus trigger points?

An overload of the muscle can lead to formation of trigger points. Activities such as raising the arm for a prolonged period of time or repetitive movements of the shoulder can cause muscular overload.

Listed below are common causes of infraspinatus trigger points.

  • Working for long hours in front of the computer without arm support.
  • Driving for long hours with the hands positioned on top of the steering wheel.
  • Starting a new resistance workout routine
  • Rotation of the shoulder in swimming
  • Forehand stroke in tennis
  • Arm swing in badminton

How can Healthworks help with treating this shoulder pain?

After undergoing a consultation by our practitioners, a diagnosis will be derived from the history and physical assessment of the patient. Treatment approach would revolve around myofascial release, spinal adjustments to relieve restricted joints as a result of movement dysfunction, exercises (stretching and strengthening affected muscles) and ergonomic advice.

If this condition sounds like something you are experiencing, don’t hesitate to contact us at 03-6211 7533 for further enquiries. Our practitioners will be more than willing to tend to your questions.