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Muscle of the week: teres minor

The teres minor muscle is one of the rotator cuff shoulder muscles that is very small, but BOY is it a trouble maker!

One of this muscle’s main jobs is to rotate the arm bone out with the arm bone is elevated to shoulder height (like you are getting ready to pitch and cocking your arm back) as well as to provide a braking system on the shoulder as the pitch is actually released.  This muscle also cocks the football back when the quarterback is getting ready to pass, as well as slows down the throw when he throws it to a receiver.  Mark Sanchez is using his teres minor to pass the football as we speak.

Its other main job is to help the other rotator cuff muscles keep the ball of the shoulder centered in the socket.

One funny feature of this muscle I have noticed in my practice is that when someone has a frozen shoulder (when a shoulder gets really, really stiff) this muscle spasms a lot more and is much more painful than the other rotator cuff muscles.  Sometimes applying acupressure to this muscle will help the shoulder get a lot more flexible.

This muscle hurts a lot with driving, especially if someone with a bad shoulder rotates the steering wheel with the bad arm over top.  If you hurt when you do this motion, you will know it is the rotator cuff because this will hurt.