Self-Care – Nagging Pain Inside The Bottom of the Shoulder Blade

This pain is more likely to be caused by a weak and overstretched muscle instead of a short-tight one.

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:

As much fun as it is to shop online, it is better for your back if you don’t lean into those elbows.

Prolonged periods of leaning on your elbows, whether it is shopping, Zoom conference, finances, or writing blogs, overstretches this muscle and aggravates it. Change that.

This post has a couple of different approaches to changing your desk posture to reduce pain. It discusses good desk posture and supports that help when you need it. From the two approaches and some accessories, you can get yourself set up to work for long periods without creating pain and tension.

For temporary relief:

If stretching isn’t convenient, you can place one of these little patches on your ribs, just below the armpit on the side that hurts. It should offer relief within 10 minutes or so. They’re easy to handle and don’t produce much of a scent, if you’re at work or on a date. You can pick them up at most drug stores, grocery stores or on Amazon.

Stretches and exercises for longer-lasting relief:

These doorway stretches offer quick relief.

The stretches in this post can quickly and easily lengthen the serratus anterior to offer quick relief. They work even better with the application of a vapo-coolant like Icy-hot or BioFreeze on the ribs.

These wall push-ups are helpful for building the serratus anterior.Simply drop your chest toward the wall and then press your upper back away from the wall for 2 seconds. If you have those winged shoulder blades, get 4 sets of 10 with doorway stretches in between. You can just do the middle position on the doorway stretches. Between 2 and 3 weeks, people see nice changes in their shoulder blades.

Many people need to add exercises that strengthen the erectors of the back. This makes it easier to sit up without leaning on your elbows.

Yoga Corner

plank pose from

This muscle supports the ribs in postures that face down like a plank. In this picture, you can see how the ribs drop between the shoulder blades as the serratus anterior does not support the torso. Pressing the torso up through the shoulder blades strengthens the serratus anterior. Wall push-ups are a less difficult way to build this muscle.

Do 3 sets of 10 reps, with about a minute in between sets. Add this to your regular routine. It should feel better by the 3rd day and stabilize in less than 3 weeks. If not, see your bodyworker.

Other patterns that may better match your pain pattern…

There are trigger point patterns
that have similar areas of referral
and impaired activities.

In this case, other trigger points are more likely to create pain inside the shoulder blade. You may also want to look at other patterns for the upper back.

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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