Self Myofascial Releases of the Teres Minor Muscle (rotator cuff)

The teres minor  muscle is one of 4 muscles that make of the  rotator cuff muscles. It aids in stabilizing the shoulder joint and externally rotating the shoulder outwards

Often when this is a problem you will experience discomfort in the back of the shoulder. Reaching up and backwards can aggravate your symptoms.  This muscle can be aggravated during a motor vehicle accident while holding onto the steering wheel. This muscle can be overused by Rock climbers, overhead exercise (snatch, overhead squat), swimmers,or  baseball players

Trigger points in this muscle will refer to shoulder.

To locate the teres minor, reach under your armpit and feel the lateral border of your shoulder blade. Feel for a bony ridge that runs vertically.  Covering up the upper two thirds of this ridge is the teres minor..

Self Myofascial Release of the Teres Minor muscle

Place a ball over the muscle and pin the muscle by leaning against the wall.  Then reach over head. To get a little extra you can turn the elbow pit away from the wall.

*** Disclaimer *** This video is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are in pain, please visit your local health care provider or contact Dr Notley if you are in Winnipeg

Self Myofascial Release to the Muscles on the Back of the Neck

There are a number of muscles that reside in the back of the neck.  They are mostly covered by the trapezius.  Some of these muscles of the neck travel straight up the spine while others travel diagonally up and towards or away from the centre of the spine.  Many of these muscles start in the upper part of the thoracic spine and either end up in the neck or end up on the back of the head.

The main action of these muscles is to extend the neck and if they attach onto the skull they aid in extension of the head. Because some of these muscles travel diagonally they will also aid in rotation of the spine.  Therefore, when releasing these muscles, a rotation of the neck will provide a little more stretch.

Depending on the muscle involved pain can be referred to the neck, the top of the skull, behind the eyes.

These muscles can become over worked from head forward postures or from lifting heavy weights off the floor while hyperextending the neck.  Straining the neck to lift the weight up. These muscles are often associated with upper cervical joint dysfunctions and a hypomobile thoracic spine.  It is also important to check the muscles of the front of the neck as well.

There are a number of ways to release these muscles.  Acupuncture,  Active Release Techniques, dermal traction (cupping) instrument assisted soft tissue manipulation,  along with changing movement habits.

Self myofascial release of the muscles on the back of the neck.

There are a couple of ways to release these muscles on your own. You can use a ball or half ball help you with this.  Look up slightly and place the ball anywhere  from the base of the skull or down the back of the neck.  You can even extend this down into the upper back.  You will have press down through the trapezius muscle. Once you have made contact with the muscle bring your chin down towards your chest.  You will feel tension pulling on the ball resist this tension by directing your pressure in the opposite direction.

To get a little more out of this movement slightly turn your head left or right and feel the tension.  When turning make sure you maintain contact in the same spot.  Feel the tension and hold for 30 seconds to a minute twice a day.

Self Myofascial Release of the supraspinatus muscle (rotator cuff)

The supraspinatus muscle is one of 4 muscles that make of the  rotator cuff muscles. It aids in abducting the arm along with the deltoid and trapezius. The supraspinatus also pulls the humerus into the shoulder aiding in stabilizing the shoulder joint. It is responsible for preventing the shoulder from displacing downwards and is active throughout the full activity of abduction

Those that work with their arms elevated, like hairstylists, are susceptible to supraspinatus tendonitis. The supraspinatus may also be aggravated by carrying heavy bags/objects or walking a dog that keeps pulling on the arm. In athletes we may see aggravation of this muscle with farmer carries and over head squats.

When this muscle is a problem it can refer pain to the deltoid or on the outside of the elbow.

To locate the muscle place your opposite hand over your shoulder and feel for a bony ridge.  That bone ridge is the scapular spine. Place your fingers just above the spine. Deep to the trapezius, the supraspinatus is found there.

To attempt to release the supraspinatus muscle find a tender spot in the muscle. Pin the muscle down with your fingers, mobo system, theracane or ball and reach behind your back and across to the other side. Using a door jamb or door handle pull the arm further across to the other side.

*** Disclaimer *** This video is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are in pain, please visit your local health care provider or contact Dr Notley if you are in Winnipeg.

Self myofascial release of the medial pterygoid

The medial pterygoid is a muscle of mastication (chewing).

It attaches onto the jaw near it’s angle but can’t be easily touched from out side of the mouth because there is bone is in the way.

Most of this muscle is found on the inside of the mouth just behind the bottom molars.

The action of this muscle is to close the jaw and to shift the jaw to the opposite side.

When it is a problem the ability to open the jaw is restricted.
and it can be quite tender to touch.

Pain can often be felt in the mouth but also around the TMJ.

I’m going to show you to methods to methods to treat this muscle. But remember that this muscle can be quit tender to do not be overly aggressive.

Method One

Slide your index finger down the inside of your cheek. The pad side is against the cheek and the nail said up against the molars. When you get to back of the molars you will bump into bone. Open your jaw and slide your finger in to the inner side of that bone . The muscle is right there. Apply mild to moderate pressure and wait for it to relax. Hold until it relaxes. Perform once 1 to 2 times a day.

Method two

Though not direct, this method helps treat the distal part of the muscle. As you can see, the muscle ends up at the angle of our jaw. Take your thumb and tuck it underneath your jaw at this point. Use the pad of your thumb to contact the tender point o this muscle. You will have an easier time getting into this spot if your tuck your chin down. Hold until it relaxes. Perform once 1 to 2 times a day

when trying to contact the muscle from the outside you need to be aware that there are salivary glands near here as well. If you feel like you are starting to salivate that tender spot may be the salivary gland.

What is the best mattress to buy?

Dr Notley here. Winnipeg Chiropractor and Athletic Therapist.

What is the best mattress to purchase?

Sometimes the cause of morning back stiffness or chronic lower back pain is the bed you sleep in. What is the best type of mattress?

Research has looked at the affect of changing mattress types on the quality of sleep as well as the affect on lower back pain.

Currently there is no definitive answer but this is what I found:

  1. Lower back pain is more prominent in those who use cheaper mattresses.
  2. Despite similar quality mattresses the amount of spinal twisting or bending in the thoracic spine varies significantly.
  3. Foam or innerspring mattress? It doesn’t matter. The quality of sleep is unaffected.
  4. Adjustable air beds and custom bedding systems reduce back pain and improve sleep quality.
  5. Using a mattress of medium firmness improves pain, disability and sleep quality. But there is some question whether this is true for heavier individuals.


At this point in time it seems that a mattress of medium firmness and of medium or high quality material may be best but there will be some variation in comfort depending on the individual. A customized mattress may be the best option but likely the most expensive.