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Teres Major Muscle: Arm and Shoulder Pain

(Last Updated On: August 9, 2018)

Teres Major muscle can contribute to pain in the back of the shoulder that runs down the back of the upper arm. Pain will often skip the elbow and continue down into the back of the forearm.

What pain and symptoms are associated with the teres major muscle?

  • Pain in the back of the upper arm  when reaching forward and up
  • Sharp pain in the back of the shoulder with aching sensation in the upper arm when resting elbows on a table.
  • Pain in the back of the arm that skips the elbow and continues down to the back of the forearm.

Where is the teres major muscle?

The teres major is located in the upper back. It connects the shoulder blade (scapula) to the upper arm bone (humerus).

What movements does the teres major control?

  • Moves arm into toward the body and across the body
  • Brings arm down toward the body when arm is lifted out and away from the body

Activities that cause teres major muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Rowing
  • Throwing or pitching a ball
  • Swimming
  • Chopping wood
  • Driving
  • Exercise that requires pulling up with the arms (chin-up
  • Repeatedly pushing down or holding some thing down with your arms supporting your body weight  (push-ups)
  • Reaching forward or overhead repetitiously


Teres Major Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

You use the teres major muscle when you move your arm in toward your body, across your body and move your arms down when they are lifted out in front of your body.

Clinical diagnoses to which the teres major muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Supraspinatus tendinitis
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Subacromial/Subdeltoid bursitis
  • Dislocation of the Glenohumeral joint
  • Post-injection soreness

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

Satellite trigger points associated with the teres major muscle:

  • Triceps Brachii (long head)
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Posterior Deltoid
  • Teres Minor
  • Subscapularis

For detailed anatomy information:  
Teres Major Muscle Anatomy

Help with Teres Major Muscle Pain

Cold Gel Therapy for Shoulder 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. It is great as a maintenance treatment for over use and repetitive use  injuries. Cold gels are better than heat gels on new injuries because like ice they cool and do not contribute to swelling. For teres major pain and injury, rub Biofreeze into the shoulder, around the shoulder blade and the back of the upper arm.

Ice Wrap For Shoulder Injury, Teres Major Muscle Pain

Pro-Ice Shoulder and Elbow Cold Therapy Wrap is great for shoulder injuries involving the teres muscles. The wrap not only provides cold therapy for the shoulder but it also extends down the arm providing relief for upper arm and elbow pain. This  should be in the freezer of every ball player for quick treatment of  over use injuries and preventative maintenance.

Warm Gel Therapy For 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. This gel provides warmth without the heat of other over the counter heating rubs. To relieve teres major pain, rub Sombra all around the back of the shoulder, the shoulder blade area and the back of the upper arm. For arthritic or chronic shoulder pain relieve Sombra can be applied several times a day providing continuing warmth and pain relief.

Hot and Cold Shoulder and Upper Arm 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 the shoulder and upper arm muscles. 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 Shoulder and Arm Pain Caused By The Teres Major

Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunction in the teres major muscle can cause pain in the back of the shoulder and upper arm which can extend down into the back of the forearm?

If you are suffering from unresolved arm pain you should consider 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. Relieving trigger points in the teres major muscles have helped many people resolve arm pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

Theracane Gives You The Extra Reach To Easily Treat The Teres Major Muscle

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 buying the book The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, you will need to consider buying the Theracane to use the treatment methods for the teres major muscle detailed in the book.

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