Self Care – Pain inside the shoulder blade when slouching while seated

Change these activities:

Change your seating. Get one that doesn’t make you want to slouch or has a softer back. Make sure that your computer screen is at eye level and your hips are slightly above your knees when you sit. There’s a lot written about this on the internet.

Gentle persistent exercises to build you back are a nice continuation in that direction. Just a few minutes every other day of lunges, supermans, Aquamans, deadlifts, and hyperextensions really help. I started doing this almost 20 years ago and it made a huge difference in getting rid of my nagging back pain. Without the stretches listed below, however, it is tough to get lasting change for this particular pattern.

Don’t use heat on this. It feels good to put a heating pad on this but extended heating usually causes this to feel worse after a few hours. This also tends to cause chronic pain to worsen over time. Stretching under a hot shower does not seem to cause this problem.

These stretches are classic for relieving this problem:

This is the classic stretch for the back of the shoulder. IT targets rhomboids when you pull the shoulder blade on around toward the chest. It’s hard to use ice-and-stretch on this one but it works well under the spray of a hot shower.

If you have extremely tight pecs and rounded shoulders, these trigger points may bother you while working at a desk or on a laptop. In that case use the stretches in this post, several times a day.

For longer-lasting relief:

If your shoulder blades are winged out, you can use wall push-ups to relax the rhomboids.

Pressing the shoulders forward to flex the pecs, relax the rhomboids and release those trigger points.

Over time, this exercise will build the serratus anterior, lengthen the rhomboids and hold winged shoulder blades in their proper position against the ribs.

This post about breathing exercises really helps release rib heads and trigger points in the rhomboids whether you have winged shoulder blades or rounded shoulders. Clients often find relief as they get the little pops of rib heads mobilizing during deep breathing.

Breathing Exercises for Upper Back Pain

This post on breathing exercises is a proven therapy approach for retraining the breathing pattern, loosening fixated rib heads and releasing the underlying factors that perpetuate trigger points in muscles around the rib cage.

Pain between the shoulder blades, especially chronic pain, is seldom rhomboids. Rhomboids usually dangle loosely and only produce pain when they are trapped between your ribs and a hard surface, like a wooden chair back or you have severely rounded shoulders. If that’s not you, search through these posts about upper back pain.

and some related posts…

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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