How To Release The Triceps & Shoulder?
Releasing the tricep and shoulder (especially the tricep) is often an overlooked muscle when it comes to pain & function but releasing it typically free up nerve entrapments, shoulder pain, and elbow pain.
Why The Triceps?
The tricep has three muscle bellies and as we said before it can help with shoulder and elbow pain. The tricep muscle has attaches all the way from the bottom of the shoulder and past the elbow. In many cases, you can have an impingement of the axillary nerve that can get caught up at the posterior shoulder. This is an interesting area because you have part of the rotator cuff and here and the tricep muscle that runs down. In addition, the Radial nerve runs behind the arm and then runs down right next to the tricep.
So if you are having nerve entrapments in the back of the shoulder or even the arm, you can likely get some relief of pain by freeing up this muscle and allowing the nerve to slide and glide better.
What is the relation of the Triceps muscle & Elbow Pain?
The major extensor of the elbow is the triceps muscle and I often see this muscle (as well as the Anconeus mm) involved in pain that is directly behind the elbow. Often times you will see this in active individuals who do powerful extension movements like tennis but this can be seen in a lot of people who lift (bench press/ push press). Of course, this can occur in other movements but these are very common.
Typically, these people will get very localized pain at the back of the elbow so learning to roll out the tricep at the muscle belly is important. In these cases, it may be necessary to treat the tricep tendon (but make sure you do not compress too hard on the tendon as it will be painful) and a bit past the elbow into other surrounding muscles.
The tricep muscle is often neglected in many injuries, rehabilitation, and even treatment by therapists. Using myofascial release techniques via a foam roller, tennis ball, lacrosse ball, etc is a great way to mobilize that area so that you can create a better movement pattern for the shoulder, & the associated nerves, tendon to move properly.
If you are ever doing self myofascal release or any body work and you have increased pain or discomfort, it is always advised to stop, lighten the pressure, re-consider the movement, or seek professional help.
This muscle group is a great method to healing a lot of shoulder, nerve, and elbow pain so make sure you give it a try.