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Referred Pain Pattern

Trigger points in the deltoid may be found in the anterior, middle and posterior fibers of the muscle. When active, they will refer pain around the deltoid area and sometimes down the lateral side of the arm toward the elbow.

While pressing into the trigger point with your thumb, abduct your client’s arm. Find the position where your client does not feel any pain in the trigger point. Hold for 30 - 90 seconds, or until you feel a release, then bring your client back to a neutral position while continuing to hold the trigger point, and ask your client how it feels. Points on the middle fibers of the deltoid will release best with abduction of the arm. Points on the anterior deltoid will release best with shoulder flexion, and points on the posterior fibers of the deltoid will release best with hyperextension of the arm (either in a prone position or with the arm off the edge of the table).

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