Self Care – Pain at the Base of the Head and Under Shoulder Blade

Activities To Avoid or Change:

Avoid sleeping in awkward positions or, especially under a draft. Chill aggravates this pain at the base of the head and under the shoulder blade more than the awkward position.

This muscle is often over-powered by short, strong muscles on the front of the neck. Specifically, the anterior scalene attaches to the front of the 3rd cervical where this trigger point lives. This is one of the many muscles that may develop problems from craning your neck forward to drive, look at the computer, lean in to listen, watch television from the couch, etc.

Do You Have Forward-Head Posture?

This muscle is often overstretched and over-powered by Forward-Head posture. As the head moves forward, the opposing muscles become short and strong. Consequently, this muscle becomes overstretched and tight. Once the head has become imbalanced over the torso, this muscle fights to rebalance posture.

If you have Forward-Head Posture, review this collection, especially the self-care suggestions for changing your environment and the exercise Tuck, Tilt, Turn, and Lift.

Set up a better work
environment for your neck
at your home or office desk.

This post discusses how to choose a seated posture that supports you to have less pain and and soreness.

For Temporary Relief:

Place one of the small Salonpas patches centered on the green dot in the picture. This should be centered between the base of your head and the top of your shoulders. They’re available at every drugstore and even cheaper on Amazon.

After it has been on for a few minutes try stretch #2 and #3 listed below. The topical patch makes it particularly easy to release with a stretch.

These self-care activities, like over-the-counter drugs, are not intended to replace appropriate medical attention. Some pain needs to be addressed by a professional. Some pain is not myofascial. You may employ these strategies improperly. 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 doesn’t respond to these simple suggestions.

Stretches and Exercises for Longer-Lasting Relief:

This post has a great stretching exercise for the neck. Start with the top of the neck as the post suggests.

Sometimes, you will feel it under the shoulder blade or at the top of the neck when the mid-neck shifts. This usually creates an immediate and notable relief of pain and tension.

Do the whole series in The Box but pay particular attention to really lifting your head as you do stretches #2 and #3 shown below. Use a little extra Ice along the mid-neck to facilitate the release.

This post has a protocol that is more intense than The Box but is better at correcting the structural problems of Forward-Head posture.

It is worth doing every day if you want to make faster, longer-lasting changes in how FHP perpetuates this pattern.

Is Your Neck Extra Stiff and Painful?

Sometimes, turning your head is strongly limited by pain. This indicates that more than one of the muscles that creates a “stiff neck” is involved. Check out these posts on a stiff neck.

In this case, if the problem does not resolve with home care, consider professional help from your bodyworker. They will offer quicker relief, have longer-lasting results, and keep you focused on effective self-care.

Other patterns that may better match your pain pattern…

Other trigger point patterns
have similar areas of referral
and impaired activities.

This trigger point is seldom the cause of the problem. Look at this post for pain at the base of the head and this post for pain under the shoulder blade.

Here are other posts for shoulder blade, upper neck and stiff neck. Most often, this muscle is overpowered by scalene muscles.

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.

Weekly Featured Post

Is the pain from
degenerative discs or
trigger points in the muscle?

This post discusses the differences in pain from disc problems and pain from trigger points. Who should you see to help with your pain?

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.

Question? Comment? Typo?
(404) 226-1363

*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make it easier to read, more accessible, and
to include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there will be inconsistency in formatting, content, and readability until we get the old posts updated. Please excuse our mess.