The triceps brachii muscle is a muscle of the upper arm. Trigger points in the triceps contribute to pain in the shoulder, arm, and hand. The triceps play a role in both tennis and golfer’s elbow.

Contents of Article

    Where Is The Triceps Brachii Muscle?

    Triceps Brachii Muscle Showing Trigger Point Locations

    The triceps brachii is a three-headed muscle that connects the shoulder blade (scapula) and the upper arm (humerus) to the lower arm (ulna). The muscle is found in the back of the upper arm.

    What Movements Does It 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

    For detailed muscle anatomy: Triceps Brachii Anatomy


    What Pain and Symptoms Are Associated With The Triceps Brachii Muscle?

    Triceps Brachii Referred Pain Pattern
    • 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
    • A 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
    • Tendency to carry arm away from the body with the elbow slightly bent
    • Pain is usually dull and aching, rarely is the pain sharp or stabbing

    What Causes Trigger Points In the Triceps Brachii?

    • Tennis
    • Golfing
    • Swinging a baseball bat
    • Repetitive pushing downward actions
    • Forcefully holding something down
    • Using crutches
    • Driving a manual shift vehicle

    TWD Recommends

    NatraCure Hot/Cold & Compression Shoulder Support provides both heat and cold therapy. Heat the gel pack for shoulder arthritis pain or use it cold for shoulder and upper arm injuries. This is recommended to treat the biceps brachii muscle because it will treat the muscle tendon at the shoulder and the muscle belly in the upper arm.

    Triceps Brachii Trigger Point Treatment

    Trigger points develop in five locations in the triceps brachii muscle, and you will need to check for all. You will also need to check for satellite trigger points that develop in other muscles.

    You can learn how to find and treat these trigger points with the help of The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook.The workbook will guide you through finding and treating trigger points throughout the body. The workbook is recommended to all interested in learning about TrP muscle pain.

    To treat the triceps and other arm muscles using the workbook, you will need a massage ball. TWD recommends the Kieba Massage Balls. It is a set of two balls that can be used to treat many areas of the body.

    Another option is to find a massage therapist, physical therapist, or chiropractor with trigger point therapy training. They will teach you how to find specific trigger points as well as self-treatment methods.

    Trigger points respond best to several 1-2 minute treatments spread throughout the day.

    Sombra Warm Therapy Gel is recommended for relaxing muscles and relieving pain. It warms without the burning heat of other gels. An excellent choice for pain caused by trigger points, muscle/joint over-use and stiffness, and arthritis. If you have reoccurring muscle cramps or pain, you should keep Somba on hand; it provides almost instant relief. (Not sold in stores)

    Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain-relieving gel recommend for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries.  It is better to use than warm therapy gels and creams for muscle pain caused by inflammation as it cools the area much like ice. If your pain is from a recent injury, use Biofreeze. It is excellent to use on sprains, strained and sore muscles, and joints.

    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 symptoms may contribute:

    • Lateral epicondylitis
    • Tennis elbow
    • Medial epicondylitis
    • Golfer’s elbow
    • Olecranon bursitis
    • Cubital tunnel syndrome
    • Thoracic outlet syndrome
    • C6 C7 or C8 radiculopathy


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

    Satellite trigger points associated with the muscle:

    If you find trigger points in the triceps brachii you will want to check these muscles for additional trigger points.

    • Latissimus dorsi
    • Teres major
    • Teres minor
    • Serratus posterior superior
    • Anconeus
    • Supinator
    • Brachioradialis
    • Extensor carpi radialis longus

    Muscles With Similar Pain Patterns

    Coracobrachialis Muscle
    Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus
    Latissimus Dorsi
    Serratus Anterior