Self Care – Sharp Pain in Front of Shoulder, Tight Low Back

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:


Avoid things that overload this section of the latissimus dorsi by pulling it up and forward. Exercise is one of the most common activities to change, especially some sort of pull-down or pull-up that jerks or stains the muscle. a more fragile individual may get this from reach up to get assistance as they fall into a seat.

Stop sleeping on this side until you this rehabilitated. Especially avoid sleeping on your side with your arm under your head, which stretches and compresses this trigger point.

For temporary relief:

Use a little IcyHot patch on the back so that it covers the lower ribs, in the back, where the little green asterisk is in the illustration. I know that you want to put it on the shoulder too., I’ve worked with a lot of people on this. It’s ok to put it in both spots.

After you’ve put the patch on, reach up a few times shows in the pic below and try to avoid sitting on a hard seat that presses into this spot.

Stretches and exercises for longer-lasting relief:

Some relief can be achieved by stretching. These trigger points are along bottom ribs. You will be much more successful if you use ice-and-stretch to release this. Reach the elbow toward the ceiling so that the shoulder blade is elevated and the ribs lift away from your hips.

By the way, this also works well if you stretch the arm up and over while spraying the back of the lower ribs under a hot shower.

Yoga Corner

high lunge from

This trigger point is in the lower portion of the long, lateral belly of lats that needs to be stretched by reaching up while dropping the hip. This works best after some twisting exercises that loosen the shoulders and mid-back.

Without a warm-up, this is the trigger point that makes your low back and shoulder ouchy when you do this pose.

Other patterns that may better match your pain pattern…

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

You may want to check other posts that refer to the low back or front of the shoulder.

There are a couple of trigger points that are very similar. This trigger point also creates a sharp strip of pain. This trigger point produces pain when reaching forward as well. Look at them. This trigger point produces shoulder pain while pitching.

If this pattern has become active to the point that it is chronic, simple stretch routines will only offer short-term relief. This will help you to manage the problem but doesn’t offer the relief that you would get from bodywork. See your trigger point specialist for lasting relief.

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

Can’t Reach the Pain
Under the Shoulder Blade

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.

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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