Spot of pain behind shoulder

Client’s Description


People complain of a spot of pain deep in the back of the shoulder. It often occurs after other shoulder pain, particularly after this trigger point, has been treated and released. It is a lingering pain that is hard to connect to an activity but often bothers them when I ask them to stretch  the shoulder as they reach up and forward.

Research implies that it may occur from an unstable or difficult attempt to reach up and back at the same time. Clients report that they have this spot of pain deep in the back of the shoulder when they sleep on their side trapping the shoulder as they extend the elbow above the head.

I was surprised in the first few years of practice at how consistently it occurs after releasing other shoulder trigger points.


Self Care

Icing along the back of the arm pit and then reaching up while twisting the little finger inward helps to relieve this. You can also stretch this way in the shower while hot water douses the back of the shoulder. Some problems in the back of the shoulder can be treated by pressing into a tennis ball. This trigger point doesn’t work well with that approach. The tennis ball either misses the trigger point or aggravates it by pressing the humeral head forward.

This is usually part of resolving a greater shoulder problem and is best addressed by an experienced therapist.

Therapy Notes

oit-teres-minorThis most often occurs after infraspinatus has been released. If the humeral head has not been properly mobilized, this trigger point becomes noticeable after the others have been quelled. If this happens, the infraspinatus trigger point is latent but not released and will likely return.

Similar Patterns

Click on the illustration below for more information about those patterns.



Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients.

He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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