Adhesive capsulitis is a condition whose exact cause is still quite mysterious. Also called frozen shoulder, this condition can cause severe pain in the shoulder and long periods of stiffness in this joint. In many cases, the pain of this shoulder problem seems to run out of the joint and into the upper arm. When this is the case, doctors are now hypothesizing that subscapularis muscle trigger points could be the cause of the frozen shoulder and the pain down your arm. 

What is the subscapularis?

The subscapularis makes sense as a cause behind frozen shoulder with pain down the arm. This because the subscapularis is one of the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff in the shoulder. The job of the rotator cuff is to keep the upper arm bone seated firmly in the shoulder socket, and the subscapularis assists with this. However, the muscle is also responsible for certain arm movements. Specifically, it allows your shoulder and arm to rotate inward toward the chest. 

What is a trigger point?

Trigger points are areas of tension that have built up in a muscle, and they could be the reason you’ve developed frozen shoulder and why you feel pain down the arm, too. You may have had a trigger point before without knowing that’s what it’s called. These tense areas are more commonly called knots, and they feel like sore lumps in your muscles. Trigger points typically feel more painful when they’re touched, and they can restrict the movement of a muscle’s fibers. 

How do subscapularis trigger points lead to frozen shoulder?

The process of developing subscapularis trigger points is thought to be one cause of frozen shoulder and pain down the arm. It takes time for trigger points to develop in the muscle, and they typically form when someone does repetitive arm movements regularly. However, many of us might write off the soreness they cause as a muscle strain or just general soreness. If the trigger points in the subscapularis remain untreated, the muscle restriction they cause also increases. 

In turn, the decreased movement in the subscapularis puts more stress on the other rotator cuff muscles. This stress causes trigger points to form in these muscles, and their movement is also restricted. The restriction of all the rotator muscles causes the rotator cuff to freeze up. As for the pain down your arm, the pain caused by restriction of the rotator cuff muscles is transmitted into your upper arm. This is because all the rotator cuff muscles attach to your upper arm bone. 

Find treatment for frozen shoulder with pain down the arm at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

At Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, our team is ready to help treat your frozen shoulder and the pain down your arm. First, we’ll perform a complimentary screening to determine what stage of the condition you’re in. Then, our team will build you a personalized treatment plan, and this plan could make use of techniques such as: 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment to begin treating your frozen shoulder. 

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