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Rotator Cuff Infraspinatus Muscle: Frozen Shoulder, Neck, Shoulder, Arm Pain

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Pain in the neck, shoulder, arm and hand can indicate infraspinatus muscle dysfunction. The infraspinatus is a major contributor to frozen shoulder.

What are the pain and symptoms associated with the infraspinatus muscle?

  • Pain deep in the front of the shoulder
  • Pain going down the front and outside of the arm, sometimes going down into the hand
  • Pain going up the back of the neck to the base of the skull
  • Pain in the upper back at the inside edge of the shoulder blade
  • Weakness and stiffness in the shoulder and arm
  • Difficulty reaching the arm behind the body and reaching into a back hip pocket

Where is the infraspinatus muscle?

The infraspinatus muscle covers the back of the shoulder blade (scapula)  and attaches the shoulder blade to the upper arm (humerus). It is one of the four rotator cuff muscles.

What movements does the infraspinatus muscle control?

  • Twists the arm away from the body
  • Lifts the arm
  • Assists in stabilizing the shoulder joint

Activities that cause infraspinatus pain and symptoms:

  • Keeping the arms overhead for extended periods of time
  • Painting overhead
  • Keeping the arms extended in front of the body for extended periods of time
  • Driving with hands on top of the steering wheel
  • Keyboarding and using the mouse on the computer
  • Swimmers
  • Sports throwing a ball or swinging at a ball
  • Tennis
  • Baseball
  • Football

Infraspinatus Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

You use the infraspinatus muscle to twist the arm in toward the body and lift the arm.

Interesting facts about the infraspinatus muscle:

  • The infraspinatus is one of the most problematic muscles in the human body. It along with three other muscles that make up the rotator cuff muscles are responsible not only for shoulder movements but also for holding the shoulder joint together.
  • Trigger points in the infraspinatus can render the shoulder almost immobile. It is painful to raise the arm, bring the arm across in front of the body or bend the arm back behind the body. The inability to do these movements is often diagnosed as frozen shoulder.

Clinical diagnoses to which the infraspinatus muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Subdeltoid bursitis
  • Bicipital tendinitis
  • Dislocation of the glenohumeral joint
  • Cervical arthritis or spurs
  • Supraspinatus tendinitis
  • Shoulder pointer
  • Shoulder Sprain / Strain injury

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

Satellite trigger points associated with the infraspinatus muscle:

  • Anterior deltoid
  • Supraspinatus
  • Biceps brachii
  • Teres minor
  • Teres major
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Subscapularis
  • Pectoralis major

For detailed anatomy information:  
Infraspinatus Muscle Anatomy

Help with Infraspinatus and Rotator Cuff Muscle Pain and Symptoms

Cold Gel Therapy for Shoulder Rotator Cuff Injury and Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel that I use on clients who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries. Biofreeze Cold Therapy gel works 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. Biofreeze should be kept on hand for those who stress shoulder and rotator cuff muscles with job or hobby related activities. To treat the infraspinatus muscle, rub Biofreeze into the back of the shoulder, all around the shoulder blade and up into the neck and base of the skull. If upper arm pain is significant, rub Biofreeze into the entire upper arm area.

Ice Wrap For Shoulder Injury, Infraspinatus Rotator Cuff Muscles

The Pro-Ice Shoulder and Elbow Cold Therapy Wrap is great for shoulder injuries involving the 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 for quick treatment of  overuse injuries and preventative maintenance.

Warm Gel Therapy For Infraspinatus Muscle Shoulder Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a warming gel that I use every day not only on myself but also on clients. It provides warmth without burning and is better at relieving pain than other over the counter pain creams. For arthritic or chronic shoulder pain Sombra can be applied several times a day for continuous pain relief. For infraspinatus muscle pain, rub Sombra into the back of the shoulder, all around the shoulder blade area, the entire upper arm area, and up the neck to the base of the skull.

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 biceps brachii strain, 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

Self Treatment for Infraspinatus Muscle and Frozen Shoulder

The Frozen Shoulder Workbook: Trigger Point Therapy for Overcoming Pain and Regaining Range of Motion is a book to consider if you are suffering from frozen shoulder or unresolved shoulder pain. Author Claire Davies bout with frozen shoulder lead him to research trigger point therapy and use the methodology to resolve his pain and regain the range of motion in his shoulder and arm. In his book Davies explains adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) in layman's language and gives step by step self-treatment methods as well as stretching and strengthening exercises. Many people have used the treatment methods to overcome frozen shoulder. For others, it is a tool to help them manage their pain and maintain movement. There are a few individuals for which the methods do not help, however even many of these people recommend the book for a better understanding of the condition and to help formulate questions and discussion with medical professionals.

Easily Treat Hard  To Reach Areas Of The Body

The Theracane Massager is a self-treatment massage tool for use on those hard to reach areas on the neck, shoulders, back, hips and legs. If you are considering buying the book The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, you will need to buy the Theracane to use the treatment methods for the infraspinatus and other rotator cuff muscles detailed in the book.

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