Muscle pain in the upper arm – front– self-treatment

Muscle pain in the upper arm is often caused by tension and trigger points that you can usually treat yourself, with excellent results.

On this page you will learn which muscles are most likely to cause arm pain, and how to get rid of this pain.

Note: This page contains a lot of detailed info. If you are pressed for time, you can reread this article in my e-Book.

Video I

Part II

1. Getting rid of muscle pain in the upper arm

A self-massage is often the best, fastest and cheapest way to come to grips with upper arm pain.

Why? Muscle tension and trigger points do not go away by themselves, but can be “massaged out” of a muscle.

And, most of the time you don’t need any outside help.

A self-massage is very effective because you “communicate” directly with the control centre guiding your muscle tone, namely your nervous system.

Tension in the muscles can be reduced by your nervous system when adequate pressure is applied to the muscles.

What should you watch out for during the massage?

It is important that you concentrate on painful or pressure-sensitive tissue.

Healthy muscles do not respond to pressure with pain. Pain is often an alarm signal and indicates that something is wrong at the area in question.

Listen to these signals and focus your massage on the tense or painful areas in a muscle.

How often should you massage yourself?

Most of the time, daily massages (multiple times per day) help alleviate muscle pain in the upper arm within a few days or weeks, and can even eliminate it.

Afterwards, they help maintaining tension at a normal level, and prevent pain from flaring up again.

These are of course primarily my experiences.

Moreover, massages only work if they are carried out regularly. Once a week is not enough!

2. Muscle pain in the upper arm: Description of the self-massage

Self-massages for specific muscles and parts of the body are described below.

They should help you in treating your pain.

You probably won’t need to massage all of the areas described.

I do, however, recommend that you carefully read through all of the descriptions at least once, and check all of the featured muscles.

Then, only put those which are tense or painful on your “massage list”.

This might take some time, but it will pay off. I promise!

2.1 Muscle pain in the upper arm: Self-massage of the upper arms

Muscles: Biceps brachii, brachialis, triceps brachii

Begin by massaging the biceps brachii, the large muscle on the front of your upper arm.

For massage, use the Press and move technique, or the Thumb index finger technique.

The former is described on this page.

  • Shape your hand like a shovel and cup it around the biceps.
  • Use your fingertips to press in the centre of the muscle and your thumb to support your hand on the rear of the upper arm.
  • Bend and stretch your elbow a few times while increasing the pressure from your fingers.
  • Try out different finger positions and search for painful spots—these are usually located in the central part of the biceps.
  • Once you find one, concentrate the pressure on that area, then bend and stretch the elbow about 10 – 15 times.
  • Use this procedure with each pressure-sensitive point in your biceps.

We continue with the brachialis.

This muscle is tucked beside/below the biceps, but can easily be located and massaged.

  • Place your thumb a bit above your elbow, on the outer edge of the biceps.
  • Lightly press into the muscle tissue located there, and move your thumb from left to right a few times.
  • You can feel a small muscle under your thumb “jumping” back and forth. This is your brachialis.
  • You can feel this muscle from the crook of your elbow to about half way up your upper arm.
  • Massage the brachialis using the thumb technique.
  • Look for painful areas and massage them with about 15 very slow massage strokes.
  • Only massage from the area immediately before and after the sensitive point!

And finally, we get to the triceps brachii.

This is the large muscle on the back side of your upper arm.

You can feel it when flexing your arm, or when gripping the muscle like pliers.

There is only one point in your triceps that can cause muscle pain in the upper arm.

This point is located on the inside of your upper arm, a few centimetres above your elbow.

It is somewhat difficult to find, but I am sure you will by following the instructions below.

Step by Step Guide


Sit on a chair or a table.

Direct the tip of your elbow towards your abdomen.


Take hold of your elbow and put your thumb on the tendon of the triceps.


Move your thumb inwards slightly, then flex your arm.


While flexing your arm, you should feel your triceps under your thumb.

From this point, move upwards about 4-5 cm.


Loosen your muscles again, move your thumb 1-2 centimetres upwards and inwards and press on the muscle there.

Now you are in the area that can cause upper arm pain when too tight.

The massage technique I recommend here is the thumb technique.

Examine the area where your thumb is positioned and massage each painful point with a maximum of 15 slow massage strokes.

Do this by briefly adding pressure on the area immediately next to the point in the muscle, then slowly moving over it. Let go of the pressure, return to the starting point and repeat.

Alternatively, you can massage your triceps with a hard massage ball.

  • Place the ball on the muscle.
  • Bend your knees and lean against a wall.
  • Press with the ball into the muscle.
  • Search for painful areas using small and slow to and fro movements.
  • Massage each of these points by slowly rolling over them.
  • Of course, your main focus here should be the inside of your triceps.

2.2 Muscle pain in the upper arm: Self-massage of the inner and upper chest area

Muscles: Subclavius, Sternalis

Begin by massaging the area just below your collarbone.

Your subclavius muscle, which is very often the cause of muscle pain in the upper arm, is located here.

This area is best massaged using the Finger technique or the Trigger Fairy.

I recommend the Trigger Fairy as you ´ll save your hands this way.

  • Palpate your collarbone.
  • Press with your fingers or the Fairy into the “soft” spot directly below it.
  • If you are doing the massage with your hand, support it with your other hand to go easy on your fingers, and seek out painful areas below your collarbone.
  • Most of these are located directly below the “inner end” of your collarbone, just before it merges with your sternum.
  • Massage each painful point with a maximum of 15 slow massage strokes. It is best to massage along the fibre orientation of the muscle. In this case, horizontally.

Self-massage of the subclavius ​​with the fingers and the Trigger Fairy


Self-massage using your fingers.


Self-massage using the Trigger Fairy.

We can move on to massage of the innermost area of your breast, along your breastbone.

The muscle located here is the sternalis.

However, it is not prevalent in all people.Simply use a massage ball in the entire area adjacent to your sternum to look for sensitive areas.

If you find any sensitive areas, roll your ball over these areas a maximum of 15 times.

2.3 Muscle pain in the upper arm: Self-massage of the shoulder

Muscles: Delta, supraspinatus, infraspinatus

The following areas are significantly easier to massage and to find than the previous ones, so things will go slightly faster.

First, the focus should be on the region of your front shoulder and the front part of your deltoid muscle, which is located there.

To feel this muscle, put your hand on the opposite shoulder and then lift the arm to about 90°.

By lifting your arm, you will be able to feel the anterior part of the deltoid muscle.

Lower your arm again, keeping your fingers on the muscle.

Press in this area and look for tender spots.

You can, of course, lift and lower your arm to feel the muscle to make sure that you are still in the right place.

Massage each tense/painful area a maximum of 15 times using the finger technique or a massage ball.

Next up is the area of your shoulder blade.

The muscles located here can irritate your nervous system and cause pain in the upper arm in case of excessive tension or trigger points.

We´ll begin with the supraspinatus, using the press and move technique.

Here, too, you can use either your finger or the Trigger Fairy.

Press into the area directly over your spine of scapula.

This is the bony, horizontal line that you can feel on your shoulder blade.

Raise and lower your arm a few times and find the tense areas using your fingers—you will be able to feel the supraspinatus under your fingers.

Once you find a tense area, stay there. Now, apply extra pressure and slowly move your arm back and forth about 10 – 15 times.

Supraspinatus self-massage with fingers and the Trigger Fairy


Here, my hands are directly above the spine of scapula.


Keep your hand firm, but not too tense during the massage.


The Fairy is located on the supraspinatus.


The painful areas are usually found a bit further to the right.

If you have made it to this point, you should congratulate yourself!

Very few people make the effort to learn something new.

Stay with it, and you will reap the benefits.

You should congratulate yourself!

Now we are going to work the region under your spine of scapula and the infraspinatus muscle, which is located there.

For this area, I recommend using a massage ball.

Place a ball on your shoulder blade, just below its spine.

Lean against a wall and look for painful areas of your shoulder blade by rolling the ball over them.

Massage each of these points with no more than 15 short massage strokes.

3. Your self-assessment for the successful treatment of muscle pain in the upper arm

In order to successfully treat your upper arm pain, it is important to always verify the effectiveness of your massage.

  • Where has it helped to ease pain the most?
  • How did your body react to the massage?
  • Which areas of your body do not need to be worked on, given that they are not painful?
  • Listen to the reactions of your body
  • Experiment with various massage positions and figure out how to obtain the best results.

Thank you for reading.

You now have an incredibly powerful tool for alleviating your pain.