Activities to avoid and change,
Strategies for quick relief,
Stretching for longer-lasting relief,
Corrective Exercises, Yoga, and more…
Activities To Avoid or Change:
Once the trigger point is activated, there are a number of known activities that keep it aggravated. A backpack, ill-fitted bra straps, a tight coat or shoulder bag will press into this area and are known irritants and create additional microtrauma. Using a cane that is badly fit is cited as a problem. I find it to be more likely, especially with middle-aged clientele, that leaning on the bars of a treadmill when fatigued aggravates it.
Activities that tilt and twist the neck strongly also agitate this trigger point. Twisting to the side to tend to a child in a car, playing a violin or, for one client, twisting quickly to answer his wife while sitting at the dinner table.
It could get aggravated if your kid hugs your neck like this but it’s probably worth it.
For temporary relief:
Stretches and exercises for longer-lasting relief:
Sitting for long periods with your elbows elevated can shorten the muscle so it is aggravated when the elbows are not supported. This is more complicated as serratus posterior, levator scapula and other muscles get involved. This breathing exercise is a great countermeasure and leaves the entire head and neck more relaxed. Follow up with these doorway stretches if you have shoulders that are pulled forward.
The upper trapezius lifts the collar bone and pulls the shoulder back, so twisting poses tend to stretch one side of the trapezius while lengthening the other.
Seated and lunging poses that twist to stretch hip rotators can work well for the upper trapezius. The back shoulder is closer to the base of the head and spine, contracting the upper trapezius on that side. The front shoulder drops down and slides around the ribs away from the base of the head, stretching the upper trapezius on that side.
This problem can perpetuate more than neck tension. It is known for making people irritable by referring into the sympathetic ganglion. It is often associated with sensory integration dysfunction. Topical patches can offer short term relief but it is important for those clients to get lasting relief. A coat can be a needed form of deep pressure that helps with regulation to modulate sensory processing. This is often perpetuated by binding joints in the upper neck and shoulder. Your bodyworker can work with the underlying problems for lasting relief.
Other patterns that may better match your pain pattern…
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This pain and tension under the shoulder blade may be the most common pain pattern that I see. It isn’t always the primary complaint as people have gotten used to the constant ache.
It is usually combined with this pattern in the upper neck, which creates upper neck tension to go with the shoulder blade pain.
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