The Supraspinatus Muscle is located on the superior (upper) portion of the scapula. It is one of the four muscles that makes up the “rotator cuff.”
“Supra” means “above;” “spinatus” means “spine.” The name, “Supraspinatus” tells us that this muscle is located above the spine of the scapula.
What Does the Supraspinatus Muscle Do?
Along with the lateral deltoid, this muscle abducts (moves away) the upper arm at the glenohumeral (GH) joint (the shoulder).
This muscle is commonly used in upper body training and exercises such as:
- Shoulder presses
- Cable raises
- Jumping jacks
- Racquet sports, such as tennis and badminton
There are three common trigger points in this relatively small, but important muscle. Two occur in the medial (closer to the center of the body) belly of supraspinatus that refer pain down the upper arm all the way to the elbow.
The third trigger point is at the distal (farther from the center of the body) end, just past the point the muscle passes under the clavicle. This point refers pain into the point of the shoulder.
Massage of Supraspinatus
The Supraspinatus Muscle lies deep to the superficial trapezius. Deep tissue techniques are often used to reach this muscle. It takes some time to sink past the trapezius to address trigger points here.
As with all of the rotator cuff muscles, it is often hard for clients to pinpoint exactly where their pain is located. The pain is often described as a “deep ache” that is more noticeable when raising the arm.