Jul 5, 2013

The Many Causes of Wrist Pain: Subscapularis Muscle

If you're experiencing carpal tunnel symptoms, the problem might not just be in your wrists. After three years of struggling with chronic, non-carpal tunnel wrist pain and elbow pain, I went to see a massage therapist who specialized in deep tissue massage, also known as rolfing. (Just a warning: this massage technique is not for the faint of heart). The therapist worked first on my wrists and elbows, especially the spot above my elbow. This hurt quite a bit, but it was nothing compared to the pain I felt when he massaged my armpits. Well, not my armpits exactly: my subscapularis muscle, which is responsible for rotating the shoulder slightly when the arm is lifted. Sound familiar? Unless your typing position is perfect in every way, this muscle will be flexing constantly to hold your arm in place. And my subscapularis, as it turned out, was tighter than a violin string. 

I had never felt pain in this muscle before, but once the massage was over I felt huge relief from my wrist pain and elbow pain. Afterwards I read this article on Massage Today, which lists the symptoms caused by an overly tight subscapularis muscle. The symptoms? Wrist pain. More specifically, referred pain (pain in an area that isn't the source of the problem) in the back of your shoulder, the underside of your arm, and wrist pain. Just follow the little red dots the picture below. If these are your symptoms, the subscapularis might be a cause.
Referred Wrist Pain from Trigger Points in the  Subscapularis

So, how do you self-massage your subscapularis muscle? Take a tip from the sky, and get yourself a foam roller. Your wrists may thank you.


  1. Informative indeed ! I actually suffered from a mild form of this condition. Jotted down some preventive tips @

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  3. Take some Multi vitamins and it will help you to reduce the pain. I read so many articles to remedy my CTS. Some tips can be read at

  4. Hey! I just read this and I figured it would be a good idea to share my experience with wrist pain.

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  13. Nice tip on treating wrist pain with subscapularis work. Acupuncture into subscapularis can get a nice referral felt into the wrist.

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