National Associaltion of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists - Symptom Checker

This is the technical name of the muscle being described.  This name may be used to find additional information in any medical resource. Supraspinatus
A group of muscles generally denotes muscles of the same function and may share a common attachment point. Rotator Cuff
Muscle function, in this definition, is what the muscle could do if it was to contract by itself with the body in anatomical position.  This is a general definition of muscle function.  For more information on how muscles work together on the body please refer to a physiology or functional anatomy text.

This muscle abducts (brings away from) the arm and stabilizes the
shoulder joint.

A description of where a Myofascial Trigger Point may produce pain in the body.  This area is generally located away from the trigger point.

Pain from TrPs in the supraspinatus cause a deep ache of the shoulder, concentrating in the mid-deltoid region.  It often extends down the arm and the forearm and sometimes focuses over the lateral epicondyle of the elbow.  Pain is rarely referred to the wrist.

A description of the symptoms a person may experience with trigger points in the muscle being described.

People who have TrPs in the supraspinatus usually complain of pain that is felt strongly during abduction of the arm but is more of a dull ache when the arm is at rest.  TrPs in this muscle may produce ache or pain at rest or throughout movement, but usually it is not a severe pain in any particular small arc of motion.  Some people complain of snapping or clicking sounds around the shoulder joint, of difficulty in reaching the head to comb the hair, brush the teeth or shave.  They may also complain of restricted shoulder motion during sports activities that require arm elevation, such as serving a tennis ball.


 A list of possible diseases that fit the information derived from examination of a patient.

  1. Cervical arthritis.
  2. Cervical spurs with nerve root irritation.
  3. C5-C6 radiculopathy.
  4. Brachial plexus injuries.
  5. Subdeltoid bursitis.
  6. Rotator cuff tears or lesions.
  7. Entrapment of the suprascapular nerve.
  8. Scapulohumeral imbalance.
  9. “Frozen Shoulder”
  10. Supraspinatus tendonitis.
  11. Brachial neuritis.

A list of activities or positions that may either CAUSE a trigger point to manifest or PROLONG a pain condition respectively.

  1. Carrying heavy objects, such as briefcases, suitcases, or packages with the arm hanging down at the side.
  2. Walking a large dog that pulls hard on the leash.
  3. Lifting an object to, or above, shoulder height with the arm outstretched.
  4. Doing a task at work that demands repeated and/or moderately prolonged elevation of the arms.

A corrective action is usually a modification of daily routine which will reduce stress on the affected muscle(s) in a person with myofascial trigger points.

  1. Avoid overload by not carrying heavy objects in the hand with the arm hanging down at the side.
  2. Avoid lifting heavy objects overhead.
  3. Avoid sustained contraction of this muscle, as when holding the arms up continuously to put curlers in the hair.
  4. Drop the arms occasionally to relax the muscles and allow them to replenish their blood supply.

References : 
Simons DG, Travell JG, Simons LS, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, vol 1, 2nd Ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1999.

Travell JG, Simons DG, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, vol 2. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1992.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.  A proper diagnosis should be sought from a licensed health care provider.