Self Care – Burning and itching along the shoulder blade

Self-Care includes
Activities to avoid and change,
Strategies for quick relief,
Stretching for longer-lasting relief,
Corrective Exercises, Yoga, and more…

Activities To Avoid or Change:

Move. I make sure that I get up and move periodically. Traditional therapy approaches suggest things like setting a timer across the room that you just get up to stop and reset every 20 minutes or so. I use my Fitbit to remind me.

Improve the ergonomics
at your home or office.

This post offers some great ideas for actively sitting without support or sitting with supports that help you avoid pain and fatigue. There are also suggestions about a few useful accessories.

For temporary relief:

It should release with ice and stretch but sometimes, you need a few days of release for it to resolve. You can put one of those topical vapocoolant patches like IcyHot or Salonpas on the spot that I’ve labeled in the picture. The IcyHot patches seem to stay on better in areas like this with lots of movement. Make sure that you cover that top corner of the shoulder blade.

Stretches and exercises for longer-lasting relief:

To get relief, you’ll want to rub your shoulder on a doorway. There’s a more effective way to use that doorway.

First, Look at this picture. For some relief, rub ice along the edge of the lower trapezius that I’ve highlighted in pink. Ice a little more between the edge and the spine especially between the top of the shoulder blade and the spine. You’ll probably need help.

Then stretch the arm forward, like reaching to the back of a tall shelf. Use a door frame to get a grip for a better stretch.

Stretch overhead as well (not shown), like you are reaching for the ceiling above your other shoulder.

If you’re pulling through the trigger point, and haven’t used ice, the itching and burning will kick in a little more before it releases. The ice strokes or topical patch will quell that.

If you have rounded shoulders, this will feel good and give some relief but avoid doing much of it. Focus on the stretches below to get long term relief through a corrected posture.

For postural changes that create longer-lasting relief:

If you have rounded shoulders with shoulder blades that are spread apart and lay close to your back, you should work on stretching your chest with these doorway stretches. If you just stretch the back, it will only give you temporary relief and make the problem worse in the long run.

Most people with this also have Forward-Head posture and benefit from doing The Box.

If this problem persists or you need help with correcting a tight chest that perpetuates rounded shoulders, go see your bodyworker for postural correction and lasting relief.

This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We’d love your feedback. We are adding posts and converting the old posts as quickly as time permits.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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