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Referred Pain Pattern

Trigger points in the supraspinatus may be found in the belly of the muscle or near its attachment on the humerus. Active trigger points will refer pain down the lateral side of the arm toward their thumb, with pain being more intense around the shoulder and elbow.

When working on points on the top of the shoulder, sometimes you will find a point where nothing you do with the neck will cause any change in the tenderness of the trigger point. Often that will be because the point is in the supraspinatus, which abducts the arm.

While pressing into the trigger point with your middle finger, abduct your client’s arm until your client does not feel any pain in the trigger point. You may also need to rotate your client’s arm internally or externally to find the best position. 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.

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