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Self Care – Pain in Shoulder or Forearm

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Here you can find relief through self-care for pain in the shoulder and forearm when steering a car. Also, you can find more about how people describe this pain and the activities that irritated the pain in this other post.

Activities To Avoid or Change:

For Your Safety, Change

Driving with your hand on the top of the steering wheel is dangerous in cars with airbags. Also, the fine-tuning of your shoulder with this muscle aggravates it. Change your hand position from 10&2 to 4&8. This will relax your shoulders, relieve this pain, and make your drive safer in case of an accident.

Some sports activities also aggravate this. Overhand serves in tennis can jerk the shoulder open and aggravate this trigger point. Also, certain overhead exercises like lat pulldowns can aggravate this when the end of motion at the top is jerky. Sometimes, when this is really active, overhead presses, especially behind the neck, can create sharp pain in the back of the shoulder.

For Temporary Relief:

Pain Patch

A topical pain patch like IcyHot or SalonPas can help if you placed it over the trigger point. In this case, right over the back of the shoulder, where pain and muscle are located.

The problem is that this area gets a lot of motion, and the patch doesn’t stay. If it doesn’t last, try putting it on an angle or taping it in place. IcyHot cream is better, but some people have sensitive armpits.

These self-care activities, like over-the-counter drugs, are not intended to replace appropriate medical attention. If you have concerns about these self-care activities, get help from a professional. Use these suggestions and strategies with discretion and at your own risk. See your doctor when your pain is severe, persistent, or not responding to these simple suggestions.

Stretches and Exercises for Longer-Lasting Relief:


Lat stretches like this one are usually effective. Here’s a couple of pointers:

  • Some ice-an-stretch opens this faster and with more significant change. Not everybody can tolerate ice along the inside of the armpit. In that case, make this a stretch to do in the hot shower.
  • Make sure you open the area between the shoulder blade and arm. Many people do this by bending to the side with their trunk, which helps lats but doesn’t target the teres major. In this pic, she has tilted her head away from the shoulder.

    Instead, I commonly tilt my head forward and pull my arm behind it. This position makes the stretch more challenging but really targets the teres major.


Dumbbell pullovers can really help when you do them right.

I’ve solved this pain many times with sets of dumbbell pullovers. The key is to start light and increase the weight over 5-6 sets. Leave a full minute between sets. At the 5th set, when you’ve been working for about 10 minutes, this muscle releases. This muscle opens up with a little heavier weight in that set, and the shoulder stiffness dissipates.

If you’re jerky or go too heavy too soon, this will just hurt and stiffen. I shadow of the pain in the shoulder and forearm in the lighter sets is a good sign that you are stretching the right fibers.

I’d love your feedback on how this works for you and any suggestions you might have.
Email me at integrativeworks@gmail.com.

Yoga Corner

Lots of yoga poses can open the teres major. The most common ones reach overhead or stretch the arm out in front of you.

The key is to get the elbow away from the bottom tip of the shoulder blade. Many people are stuck, and the extrinsic back muscles lengthen, but the teres major binds. This yoga practitioner does a great job of opening those lateral scapulohumeral muscles.

Again, a little shadow of the pain in the forearm and shoulder are a good sign when you’re warming up.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.

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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and include more patterns with better self-care. Meanwhile, there may be formatting, content presentation, and readability inconsistencies. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.

2 thoughts on “Self Care – Pain in Shoulder or Forearm”

  1. Pingback: Massage Notes - Teres Major - Integrative Works

  2. Pingback: Shoulder Pain While Steering - Integrative Works

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