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Triceps Brachii Muscle: Shoulder, Arm, Elbow, Hand Pain

Triceps Brachii Pain Pattern

The triceps brachii muscle can contribute to pain in the shoulder, arm and hand. The triceps play a role in both tennis and golfer's elbow.

What are the pain and symptoms associated with the triceps brachii muscles?

  • Pain in the back of the shoulder
  • Pain at the base of the neck
  • Pain on the outside of the elbow
  • Pain throughout the back of the elbow
  • Feeling of weakness in the elbow
  • Pain in the back of the upper arm
  • Can make elbow hypersensitive
  • Occasionally pain and/or burning down into the fourth and fifth fingers
  • Difficulty straightening and bending the elbow
  • Pain is usually dull and aching, rarely is the pain sharp or stabbing

Where is the triceps brachii muscle?

The triceps brachii is a three headed muscle which connects the shoulder blade and the upper arm  to the elbow. The muscle is found in the back of the upper arm.

What movements do the triceps brachii muscle control?

  • Straightens the arm at the elbow
  • Assists with stabilizing the shoulder joint
  • Assists with straightening the arm at the shoulder
  • Assists pulling the arm in toward the body
  • Pulls the arm back behind the body

Activities that cause triceps brachii muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Tennis
  • Golfing
  • Swinging a baseball bat
  • Repetitive pushing downward action
  • Forcefully holding something down.

Interesting facts about the triceps brachii muscle:

  • The triceps brachii is a contributor to both tennis elbow and golfers elbow.
  • It and the serratus anterior are known as the boxer’s muscles because these muscles deliver the straight-arm punch.

Clinical Diagnoses To Which The Triceps Brachii Muscle May Contribute:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Olecranon bursitis
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • C6 C7 or C8 radiculopathy
Triceps Brachii Muscle

You use the triceps brachii to straighten the elbow, pull the arm back behind the body and bring the arm down from raised position.

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the triceps brachii muscles:

Satellite Trigger Points:  Latissimus dorsi, Teres major,  Teres minor, Serratus Posterior Superior,  Anconeus, Supinator,  Brachioradialis, Extensor carpi radialis longus

For detailed anatomy information: Triceps Brachii Anatomy 

Help with Triceps Brachii Muscle Injury Pain

Cold Therapy Treatment For Triceps Brachii Pain and Symptoms

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is a cold therapy gel that provides pain relief for new injuries and is great as a maintenance treatment for overuse injuries.  Cold therapy should be used to treat new and recent injuries instead of heat as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If you have recently injured the triceps muscle or have unexplained pain that has just started in the shoulder, arm and elbow use Biofreeze. Rub the gel into the shoulder, down the back of the arm and all around the elbow. If needed, apply Biofreeze down the forearm and into the hand.

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury
Ice Wrap For Shoulder Injury and Pain

The Pro-Ice Shoulder and Elbow Cold Therapy Wrap works well for shoulder injuries involving the triceps and rotator cuff muscles. The wrap not only provides cold therapy for the shoulder, but it also extends down the arm providing relieve for upper arm and elbow pain. This  should be in the freezer of every ball player, golfer and tennis player for quick treatment of  overuse injuries and preventative maintenance

Shoulder and Elbow Ice Wrap For Tricep Injury
Warm Therapy for Post Injury and Chronic Shoulder and Elbow Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. It provides warmth without burning heat unlike other heating creams and gels.  It works well for post-injury pain and stiffness as well as chronic arthritis pain as it can be applied several times a day. Apply Sombra to the shoulder, back of the arm and all around the elbow for warmth and pain relief. NOTE: Do not use Sombra Warming Gel when using ice packs or heat packs as there is a risk of blistering the skin.  For the most effective treatment, apply 5 to 10 minutes before putting on a brace or sleeve.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.
Hot and Cold Shoulder Therapy Wrap

Elasto-Gel Hot Cold Wrap works well for those who need a wrap that provides both heat and cold therapy. This is a great wrap for people suffering from shoulder arthritis pain. Heat and cold can both help relieve symptoms of triceps brachii muscle, frozen shoulder, and rotator cuff muscle pain. The wrap is gel which allows it to mold to the chest, shoulder, and upper arm comfortably. Available in two sizes: Small Hot Cold Shoulder Wrap and Large / XLarge Hot Cold Shoulder Wrap

Excellent Elbow Brace For Tennis Elbow and Golf Elbow

If you have tried other elbow braces and have not found relieve from pain or mobility issues I recommend that you try the Professional's Choice Full Elbow Support. It is a heavy duty adjustable brace that provides support and warmth without restricting movement. There are cut outs in the bend of the elbow and thinner support at the point of the elbow to allow comfortable movement.  I have two friends that regularly wear this support to play golf and they report it does not interfere with their swing.  I use this brace myself and highly recommend it. The brace does not bind or bunch up and provides just the right amount of compression to keep the pain away. The neoprene material also radiates your body heat back into the muscles to provide soothing warmth which also improve mobility. Highly recommended for those suffering from tennis or golfer's elbow.

Full Arm Compression Sleeve for Triceps Brachii Arm and Hand Pain

The CompressionZ Compression Arm Sleeves are for those who want or need more support for muscle injury, muscle recovery or lymphedema. The sleeves work well for those who have chronic upper arm, elbow, forearm, and wrist pain due to repetitive motions that can irritate the triceps brachii muscle. The sleeves work well for athletes as well as people whose jobs require heavy lifting and repetitive bending and straightening of the elbow. The sleeves are available in 3 sizes and a variety of colors. Be sure to read the size chart and follow the instructions to ensure proper fit.  Two sleeves per package

Arm Compression Sleeves
Proband Bandit Therapeutic Forearm Band

I have several friends that use therapeutic bands, but personally, I had not ever experienced much pain relief from the bands until a friend let me borrow the Proband Bandit Magnetic Forearm BandFor the first time, I can recommend a band that works! The magnetic plates are encased in soft plastic lined with neoprene. The band does not restrict circulation and is very comfortable to wear for hours at a time. The band helps with triceps injury, golfer's and tennis elbow as well as helps the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Once the band is in place the pain relief is usually felt within minutes and if left in place, you will find your pain is almost eliminated. If you are suffering from elbow pain, give the Proband a try.

Proband Magnetic Forearm Band relieves golfer's and tennis elbow pain
Self Treatment For Triceps Brachii Muscle Shoulder, Elbow, Hand Pain

Do you know that small knots and other dysfunction in the triceps brachii muscle can contribute to pain from the shoulder to the hand?  These knots can also make it difficult to impossible  to straighten the elbow. 

If this pain pattern sounds familiar  I  recommend that you purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body.  If you have unresolved shoulder, arm pain and find it difficult to straighten the elbow without pain it maybe trigger points in the triceps brachii muscles. Deactivating trigger points can reduce or eliminate this pain. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.