Self Care – Sharp Pain Between the Shoulder Blades

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:

Once you have this, it tends to be difficult to avoid the tender pain as most of the things that bother it are sudden or involuntary.

That being said, this is aggravated by sudden movements like sneezing, losing your balance, or looking over your shoulder to change lanes. It is also aggravated by odd sleeping positions and is usually best when you sleep on your back.

For Temporary Relief:

You can put an Icyhot patch right on the painful area. It will offer some relief almost immediately. Over the next hour or so, it will probably click and release. It may, however, just reduce this to a dull tension instead of sharp pain.

I use this technique whenever I need quick relief from this pain.

  • Lay across the hard edge of a sturdy table so that the tender spot lays close to, or directly on the edge of the table. If this is a hard table and it is painful, you may want to use a towel to pad the edge.
  • Breathe out and let your hips drop. Relax into the tender spot that is laying on the edge of the table.
  • Keeping your hips dropped and your breath exhaled, slowly lift your head with your hands to stretch the section of your back that lays on the table. Don’t jerk or bounce. Be gentle. It may take a little adjusting of your position but it usually moves.
  • This usually releases with a gentle click.

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:

The breathing exercise in this post is usually great for this. I will sometimes use it as the fastest and least painful way of releasing this in session. Walking through this with clients helps them to see that this process works best when it is not rushed.

If you are in a spot and don’t have the magazines, do this on a rolled towel. In some cases, where the client is unusually thin or sensitive on the back of their ribs, it is better to do this exercise face down with a towel along the sternum. Breathing in and out deeply, to the point of tension and for about 10 minutes.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is up-circle-seven-3-pack-1020x650.jpg

This 3 pack of yoga wheels helps to mobilize and reshape your spine. I use a 3-pack like this regularly to loosen my back and recommend them to clients that like self-care activities at home.

They can be particularly satisfying to use on this type of upper back problem.

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

Yoga Corner

seated twist from

The secret here is to get the right tension on the vertebrae and then breathe into that spot to get it to click free. This yogi has done a great job with these two twists of the upper back.

thread the needle from

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.