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.

About the author 

Chenie Taton

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