Shoulder Trigger Point Therapy: Benefits and Risks

Shoulder Trigger Point Therapy: Benefits and Risks

The frozen shoulder syndrome occurs when your shoulder joint’s mobility is limited to feeling frozen. Specific movements are difficult or painful to perform due to your shoulder joint’s limited range of motion.

Trigger points cause pain and stiffness in various shoulder areas; these symptoms can spread to other parts of the body, including the spine.

Tension can cause muscles to weaken and make them more vulnerable to injury. Trigger point therapy may be beneficial if you suffer from shoulder pain.

What is Trigger Point Therapy?

Trigger point therapy, also known as myofascial trigger point therapy, is a massage that targets knots in your muscles (trigger points) to relieve pain and improve function.

Trigger points are muscle knots, lumps, or sensitive areas that can develop due to an injury, overuse, or pain from another part of your body.

They can result in pain, decreased mobility, and muscle weakness. Poor circulation, contractions, and spasms can also result from trigger points.

Several trigger points contribute to frozen shoulders. Learning about these specific areas may aid in understanding how to treat frozen shoulders.

Muscles in the shoulder or arm can contain frozen shoulder trigger points. The diagrams below depict the most common trigger points for a frozen shoulder (front and back).

Trigger Points for Shoulder Pain

The shoulder joint is held together by muscle rather than bone or ligaments.

It is responsible for the arm’s range of motion. As a result, the muscles must function correctly.

Tight and knotted shoulder muscles, also known as trigger points, can be excruciating and functionally limiting.

The rotator cuff muscles are the most important muscle groups that act on the shoulder joint.

The following muscles make up the rotator cuff three muscle groups:

The Infraspinatus Trigger Points

The Infraspinatus muscle is a Rotator Cuff on the shoulder blade’s back.

It connects to the bottom of the shoulder blade and runs laterally to connect to the top of the upper arm bone (the humerus).

The Subscapularis Trigger Points

It is located deep within the armpit and connects to the inner surface of the shoulder blade.

Like the other Rotator Cuff muscles, the Subscapularis contracts to rotate the arm and stabilize (keep the shoulder joint together) during arm movement.

The Trapezius

The Trapezius is a large, diamond-shaped muscle group that runs from the base of the neck to the upper back. The spine, shoulder blades, and collarbones also have attachment points.

The Trapezius muscle can have up to four active trigger points, but the lower Trapezius trigger point is the most important for shoulder pain disorders. ​ 

Secondary Trigger Points in Shoulder Pain

  • Deltoid trigger points
  • Supraspinatus trigger points
  • Pectoralis major trigger points 

Benefits of Shoulder Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy has several benefits, including:

  • Reducing or eliminating pain
  • Improving range of motion
  • Improving circulation
  • Increasing relaxation
  • Reducing muscle tension

Risks of Shoulder Trigger Point Therapy

There are several risks associated with trigger point therapy, including:

  • Bruising
  • Soreness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache

While own trigger point therapy is generally safe, it’s always important to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new treatment.

Massage for Frozen Shoulder

Treating your own trigger points will often help to relieve painful symptoms. However, massage is also one of the remedies to relieve shoulder pain. 

You can also treat frozen shoulders on your own by performing a self-massage.

Use your fingers or a tennis ball to massage the affected area to perform a self-massage. Foam roller exercises are also an option.

Start by applying pressure to the trigger points in the shoulder muscles. Work your way down the muscle towards the shoulder joint. You can also use circular motions.

Stop and consult a healthcare professional if you experience pain during the massage.

Stretches for Frozen Shoulder

Stretching can also help to relieve shoulder pain and improve the range of motion. When stretching, warm up first by performing light cardio exercises.

These stretches will help to increase blood flow to the muscles. To stretch the shoulder muscles, perform the following exercises:

Shoulder shrugs:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise your shoulders to your ears and hold for five seconds.
  3. Repeat ten times.

Arm circles:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise your arms out to the sides and make small circles.
  3. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

Triceps stretch:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise one arm overhead and bend the elbow.
  3. Use your other arm to pull the elbow back until you feel a stretch in the triceps muscle.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat with the other arm.

Shoulder stretch:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise one arm overhead and bend the elbow.
  3. Use your other arm to pull the elbow back until you feel a stretch in the affected shoulder.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat with the other arm.

Homer Remedies for Shoulder Pain Therapy

Many home remedies can help alleviate aches and pains naturally. Here are 5 of our favorites.

1. Heat or Cold Therapy

One of the simplest and most effective treatments for aches and pains is to alternate between heat and cold therapy.

If you have a headache, put an ice pack on your forehead for 15 minutes, then follow up with a heating pad set on low for another 15 minutes.

If your back is hurting, take a hot shower for 10-15 minutes, then apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to the area for 20-30 minutes. 

2. Massage 

Massage can do wonders for headaches, tension headaches, and muscle aches and pains.

You can see a professional massage therapist or use a massage mat at home.

Look for a mat with different settings to customize the pressure to your needs.

There are many different ways to treat trigger points, but a massage mat is one of the best home remedies.

The purpose of massage mats is to relieve muscle tension, knots, and aches.

They can be used on any part of the body and are easy to use. Lie down on the mat and let the massage soothingly work out all of your pains.

3. Exercise 

It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when your body hurts, but moderate exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself when dealing with aches and pains.

Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers and painkillers.

Just be sure not to overdo it—if your pain is severe, start slowly with gentle stretching or walking until you build up to more intense activities like running or weightlifting.

4. Herbal Teas 

Certain herbs can help alleviate pain naturally.

A famous example of this is chamomile tea, as a relaxation recipe to treat headaches and muscle tension.

Peppermint tea can also help treat headaches by soothing inflamed blood vessels.

Ginger tea is good for nausea and inflammation caused by arthritis or menstrual cramps. 

5. Supplementation 

Specific vitamins and minerals are essential for pain relief.

For example, vitamin B12 is necessary for maintaining healthy nerve function—a deficiency can lead to weakness, tingling sensations, and chronic pain. omega-3 fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatories that can help relieve pain caused by arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Magnesium is another mineral often deficient in people with chronic pain, and increasing magnesium intake can help reduce pain levels significantly. 


Try incorporating some of these into your daily routine to find relief from your aches and pains. If you’re unsure about anything, please consult a healthcare professional.

Chenie Taton