Self Care-Upper Back

Self Care – Burning and Itching along the Shoulder Blade

Table of Contents

This post has quick relief and lasting relief strategies for the trigger point that creates a burning and itching pain along the inside of your shoulder blade. People tend to focus more on this trigger point because of the urge to rub and scratch in that area. However, if it lingers, they often seek topical help and are concerned about a skin condition. If you’d like to read more about how people describe or activate this itchy pain pattern, look at this other post.

Activities To Avoid or Change:

Slumping aggravates the burning and itching along the shoulder blade.


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

Sit (Or Stand) Up Straight

Sitting with your upper back curved and shoulders pulled forward really aggravates this trigger point. It’s not just sitting. In addition, people get his when washing dishes, assembling manuals, or woodworking on a low counter.

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:

Patch placement for self-care of burning and itching along the shoulder blade

It should release with ice and stretch, but sometimes, you need a few days of relief for it to resolve. To help, 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 the top corner of the shoulder blade.

You can also use ice a little more just inside the top of the shoulder blade and the spine. Focus on the tough, itchy spot close to that ridge on your shoulder blade.

Many people will dig into this with one of those massage knobs or the edge of the table. You might just aggravate it and make it worse than before. Be gentle. In this case, it is one of those places where you can use a little heat without irritating the condition.

These self-care activities, like over-the-counter drugs, are not intended to replace appropriate medical attention. If you have concerns about these self-care activities, get help from a professional. Use these suggestions and strategies with discretion and at your own risk. See your doctor when your pain is severe, persistent, or not responding to these simple suggestions.

Stretches and Exercises for Longer-Lasting Relief:

Stretching for extrinsic back muscles

Put a little ice in the spot mentioned in the section above. 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 patches 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.

I’d love your feedback on how this works for you and any suggestions you might have.
Email me at

Yoga Corner

Chest Openers

This pain in the burning and itching along the shoulder blade usually occurs in a posture with rounded shoulders. Once in a while, it happens in an upright posture. In either case, chest openers are the right place to start for relief. They inhibit and relax the lower trapezius. Look to poses like Cobra, Upward Dog, Locust, and Camel. These poses take the tension off of the chest muscles so that the lower trapezius doesn’t have to constantly tense to pull back on the shoulder blade.

Then, progress to more advanced poses like bow pose. Keep those palms turned inward instead of reaching over the top of the foot for this purpose.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.

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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and include more patterns with better self-care. Meanwhile, there may be formatting, content presentation, and readability inconsistencies. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.