Supraspinatus: is this why my shoulder/ elbow/ wrist hurts?

07 Jan

The supraspinatus: A humble little muscle who’s day job is in the arm-raising department of rotator cuff Inc. It’s buried in a small office just above the scapula spine and below the marketing department (the meaty bit of the traps). Like all seemingly insignificant employees, when they secretly go wrong, they can create all kinds of havoc in the company.

A deep ache in the outer rear part of the shoulder. Sometimes it spreads to the upper arm, elbow and wrist. Raising an arm over your head is agony, or nearly impossible. Clicking and popping heard in the shoulder joint is often Supraspinatus’ fault. And if you’ve had treatment to your triceps and forearm for tennis elbow, don’t forget the real culprit may be lurking further away in the shoulder.

Why does the supraspinatus get annoyed? It could have been a single incident of carrying a one-sided heavy load (suitacase), or typing with no elbow support, holding a big dog on a leash at walkies – or simply swinging your arms. It got stressed – and has been sulking ever since.

Treatment is trigger point therapy/deep tissue massage to the area. Be firm but fair.


Supraspinatus: means above the spine (of the scapula)
Origin: upper posterior surface of scapula
Insertion: greater tuberosity of humerus
Action: initiates shoulder abduction. One of 4 rotator cuff muscles which maintain shoulder stability by holding head of humerus in the glenoid fossa of the scapula.

Ref: Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies
Atlas of the Moving Body by Mel Cash

3 thoughts on “Supraspinatus: is this why my shoulder/ elbow/ wrist hurts?

  1. Big thanks to “Mr Suprispinatus 2013”, otherwise known as Phil. He likes walks on the beach, children, and wants world peace

  2. Well I spent the evening on my living room floor getting to know my golf ball.  I had my first decent night sleep for weeks.  Many many thank yous. x

  3. That’s great Colin – I’m so happy to have helped! The supraspinatus is a really difficult muscle to get at, so well done on getting a golf ball in there. Sweet dreams x

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