Self Myofascial Release of the Shoulder: Teres Major

Self Myofascial Release of the Teres Major Muscle

The teres major muscle is an important muscle that affects the shoulder and shoulder blade.  It originates near the inferior angle of the scapula (the bottom tip of the shoulder blade). It travels up through the armpit and attaches onto the humerus.  In the arm pit it runs right along side the latissimus dorsi muscle.

Activities that use this muscle

The teres major helps to adduct the arm, rotate the arm inwards and extend it backwards. It is most active when a resistance is added during these movements.  It is exercised during chin ups, pulldowns, and rowing activities. Other activities that use the teres major muscle are:

  • Wood chopping
  • Throwing a baseball
  • During the backward swing of walking/running
  • Holding the shoulder in extension (ie. reverse plank)
  • Adducting the arm behind the back
  • Pulling the steering wheel down
  • Typing with and old fashioned type writer

When this muscle is over used, beyond what it is capable of recovering from, it can become sore and refer to the back of the shoulder and down the upper arm.

How do you locate the muscle?

To locate the belly of the muscle put your hand on the back of your hand and place your opposite fingers onto the back side of the armpit. Push you hand into the back of your hand and resist.  You should feel the teres major and latissimus dorsi muscle tighten. Don’t worry which muscle it is you can treat both with the same movement.  

To locate the  attachment on the shoulder blade reach across with your opposite hand and feel the bony edge of the shoulder blade running almost vertically.  The upper two thirds of this edge is the teres minor. The lower to ⅓ is the teres major. Feel for a tender spot on the tip.  The body of the muscle is located on the back edge of the arm pit.

How to release the muscle

Place a ball onto the muscle.  To hit the belly of the muscle I prefer that you have it on the outer edge of the armpit, find a tender point and pin the muscle down.  Reach up towards the ceiling and feel added tension onto the muscle. If you externally rotate the shoulder (biceps facing backwards you will add a little more stretch to the area. 

To hit tender points near the bottom tip of the shoulder blade you’ll have to turn your body away from the wall. Perform the same movement as before.

*** Disclaimer *** This video and post 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

Dr Notley – Winnipeg’s only dual credentialed chiropractor and athletic therapist

Self Myofascial Release of the Rotator Cuff – Infraspinatus

About the infraspinatus

The infraspinatus muscle is one of 4 muscles that make of the  rotator cuff muscles.

The infraspinatus muscle helps with external rotation of the shoulder (turning the front of the arm out to the side), horizontal abduction (moving the arm away from the body when the arm is out in front of you), and stabilizing the shoulder joint.

The muscle can be aggravated by catching yourself falling down the stairs by grabbing onto the bannister. Hard services in tennis, pitching a baseball, or during the follow through in a golf swing can also aggravate this muscle. Those that work with their arms out in front of them like musicians (violinist) and office workers are prone to irritating this muscle.

If this muscle is a problem you may experience discomfort with putting your hand behind your back and discomfort when brushing your hair or teeth.

Depending on where you touch on the muscle it may refer to the deltoid, the front of the shoulder  (along the lines of the biceps) and between the shoulder blade.

Locating the infraspinatus

To locate the muscle find the spine of the scapula; that bony ridge on the shoulder blade.  Place your fingers just below the spine. Most of the musculature below the spine of the scapula is the infraspinatus. (please refer to the video)

How to release the infraspinatus

Take a ball and pin the tender spot down. This can be accomplished by laying down on the ball or placing the ball between you and the wall. Reach across your body. Hold for 10 to 60 seconds.

*** 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. If you are in Winnipeg go to the contact section to book an appointment with Dr Notley.

Circles (CARs) for healthy elbows

To keep our joints healthy we need to move them, on a daily basis, throughout their full range of motion. This helps stress the ligaments and muscles supporting the joints, as well as, distribute the synovial fluid throughout the joint. The synovial fluid helps to reduce friction and provide the cartilage with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Elbow circles (CARS)

This is another one of my exercises that I give to athletes/patients in the controlled articular rotations (CARs) category. The training method and acronym is popularized by Dr Andreo Spina. It was taught to me at a Functional Range Conditioning course in Winnipeg.  I call them “circles” to my patients because it’s easier for them to understand.  What I like about CARs is that they are easy, yet challenging, and expose to my athletes areas of mobility that they are lacking in.  I recommend performing this exercise on a daily basis to help self assess your mobility.

The elbow joint is actually made up of 3 joints. These joints allow the elbow to bend and straighten as well and pronation and supination (turning the palm down and up when the elbow is bent).

To perform this exercise:

  • Begin with your elbow straight and your palm facing forward. Begin to bend your elbow. During this time supinate (turning the pinky side of the hand up towards the ceiling) the forearm as far as you can.
  • Once you have bent your elbow completely, turn the palm over towards the floor, attempting to rotate the thumb to the floor as far as you can (pronating).
  • While you are pronating straighten out your arm.

These are purposeful slow movements. In the beginning, imagine you are fighting against an imaginary opponent who is trying to move you in the opposite direction at about 20 percent of your maximum strength.

Enjoy healthy elbows, wrist and hands, with these circle exercises

The elbow joint is actually made up of 3 joints. These joints allow the elbow to bend and straighten as well and pronation and supination (turning the palm down and up when the elbow is bent).

To perform this exercise:

  • Begin with your elbow straight and your palm facing forward. Begin to bend your elbow. During this time supinate (turning the pinky side of the hand up towards the ceiling) the forearm as far as you can.

  • Once you have bent your elbow completely, turn the palm over towards the floor, att

  • empting to rotate the thumb to the floor as far as you can (pronating).

  • While you are pronating straighten out your arm.

Wrist, thumb and finger circles 

 

For the wrist:

Flex the wrist down as far as you can and then try and scribe out the largest circle

If you place you hand down on a table with the palm up your thumb can move up and down (abduction and adduction), in towards the pinky and out away from the pinky (flexion and extension) and it can rotate so that the pad of the thumb can touch each finger (opposition).

Start by lifting your thumb up towards the ceiling as far as you can and then towards your pinky circling around to the pads of the fingers and then away from the pinky finally ending up pointing back up towards the ceiling.

This can be performed in the other direction as well

 

The base of each finger can also create a circle as well.

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