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 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.

Get your knees rotating better with this exercise

Dr Notley, Winnipeg Chiropractor and athletic therapist, demonstrates closed chain knee circles to emphasis the rotational mobility of the knee.

The knee has the ability to rotate. A lack of range of motion in rotation can alter the movements around the ankle and hip. This may be a cause of pain in the knee, ankles, hips and even the lower back.

Closed Chain Knee Circles

The reason these are called closed chain is that the chain of joints (toes, foot, ankles, knees, hips, stay in contact with the ground.  You can see in this other knee circles/cars exercise that my foot is off the ground. This is an open chain exercise.

To perform this exercise start with both feet together.  Bend your knees and then separate the knees out wide as far as you circle around the knee straightens out again.

Make sure you keep your feet from coming off the ground. If your foot comes up the rotation is occurring elsewhere.  This knee circles emphasizes knee internal rotation.

To emphasize knee external rotation, which often is not a problem for people, separate your feet and this time flex your knees and bring your knees together as you circle around back  to a straight leg.

You will see in this video that my left knee doesn’t come out to the side as far as the right. I have sprained my left ankle before and have knee pain to the inside of my left knee

Please note that there should be no pain with this movement. If you do experience pain seek out care from a professional. Knee rotation, when the knee is flexed, is a mechanism of injury for the menscii of the knee. Perform this movement slowly. **

Dr Notley’s practice is an evidence informed, multi-modal treatment method which combines spinal manipulation/mobilization, exercises, acupuncture and other modes of care, along with patient education.

Dr Notley is available, by appointment, through the following link http://bit.ly/Drnotley-Contact

Self myofascial release of the massetter muscle

The masseter muscle is located at the angle of your jaw. As you clench your jaw you can feel this muscle contract. it’s primary action is to close the jaw but  can also contribute to retracting (pulling the jaw backwards) the jaw.

Pain can refer to the ear, TMJ, over the eye and into the upper and lower teeth. It can be involved in tension-like headaches, cervicogenic headaches, ear aches or molar pain. Problem with this muscle can also be a cause tinnitis, ringing in the ear.

This muscle may be aggravated due to head posture, prolonged open jaw during dental surgery, habits of clenching the teeth, gum chewing, cracking hard candy.

Often overlooked systemic perpetuating factors are low thyroid function, anemia, vitamin deficiencies, electrolyte disorders, and depression.

To treat the superficial component of the masetter find a tender point using your thumb or ball then open up your jaw.  Feel the tension under your thumb or the ball.

To relax the deep masseter partially open your jaw.  Then attempt to jut your jaw out while using your hands to resist this movement.  This causes the muscles that retract (pull the jaw backwards) to relax.