Relieving the Pain Under Your Shoulder Blade


Do you have pain between your shoulderblade and spine?  Do you have a “knot” in that area or a lot of muscular tension? With pain between the shoulderblades, there is often a postural issue and/or an overuse issue (repetitive motion injuries). In either of these situations, chiropractic might help to some degree, but the soft tissues will need to be addressed. The soft tissues – muscles and connective tissue – that surround the shoulderblade likely have an imbalance of tension. Usually, the muscles between the shoulderblade and spine are overstretched due to poor posture. The shoulders and neck are rounded forward, placing unnecessary stress on the joints. The muscles that attach to the front of the shoulder are likely tight, which pulls the shoulderblade forward, causing the muscles between the scapula and spine to become overstretched. This can create pain in these muscles.

So ultimately, there is an imbalance in tension between the muscles of the front and back of the body. Just addressing the area that hurts, the scapula, won’t solve the problem if this muscular balance isn’t corrected. Getting good quality massage for all the muscles that attach to the scapula and shoulder is needed. Therapeutic stretching will also help, but the muscles between the shoulderblades need to be strengthened in most cases. Rarely, these muscles won’t need to be strengthened, but about the only time you will see this is with someone with “military” posture – someone who stands with their chest pushed forward too far – as if standing at attention. Again, this is rarely seen in our overly seated society. Meaning, most of us spend so much time sitting down that it affects our posture and our ability to stand up straight.

So physical therapy may be needed, or you can find someone who does some deep tissue massage, NMT, ART, or Myofascial Release. Make sure they understand the body’s need for balance and that they don’t just chase the pain. Remember, where it hurts isn’t necessarily where the problem is, that may be the effects and not the cause. Tight ‘knots’ in the muscle, such as triggerpoints, can refer pain elsewhere in the body. If you are doing  a lot of upper body exercise or your job puts a lot of stress on your arms, you may have to rest your muscles a little more or get a massage. These muscles – your rhomboids – are meant to stabilize your shoulderblade and need to be strong. In most people, this area is weak and needs to be strengthened.  The rhomboids can be tight because they are constantly being stretched and thus get irritated.  After getting some form of massage, they need more stability for proper shoulder function. For more information, you might want to read about the different types of deep tissue massage.

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