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Can’t Reach Pain Under the Shoulder Blade

Your Pain Pattern,
What Aggravates It,

The Underlying Anatomy
How to Get Relief,
and more…


How People Describe This Pain Pattern

People complain of pain under the shoulder blade that they can’t reach. It aches fairly constantly. It is a bothersome ache that they can’t shake. They may get temporary relief from a hot shower or exercise. Sometimes, it becomes so vague, unreachable and constant that they just ignore it. When that happens, and this trigger point continues to worsen, people begin to complain about the elbow and wrist pain.

People may primarily complain about wrist pain as it bothers them when they use a computer mouse. When I ask, They usually admit that they can’t reach the pain under the blade. Besides, it is a constant low-level ache, and they want to ignore it. They are focused on the wrist and are concerned about carpal tunnel. Moreover, this bothers them more sharply in their daily work. (there are several more common causes of wrist pain).

The elbow pain is seldom the primary complaint, but it happens. I remember a few of these cases in the beginning years. After working, I thought that it was so unusual that elbow pain was relieved shoulder work. Strangely, they never complained of shoulder pain.

It is usually combined with this pattern in the upper neck, which creates upper neck tension to go with the shoulder blade pain.

How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern

This pattern becomes more active when the person reaches forward, and the shoulder-blade presses into the muscle as when reaching out while using the computer mouse or reaching out for the top of the steering wheel while driving.

This muscle, like scalene muscles, is overused in our culture of leaning forward for long periods while using our neck and shoulder to breathe. Sitting like this retrains the breathing process, binds joints in the upper spine, and creates chronic patterns. The change in breathing makes other activities, like exercising or sitting at dinner, achy and painful because of the shift in posture-related breathing patterns.


The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain

Start by Understanding the Anatomy.
About the coloring of the illustrations…

This muscle is made of thin, flat strips that help to lift our ribs as we breather. Learn more in this post about serratus posterior superior.

Getting Relief on Your Own

Clinically Proven
Self-Care Recommendations.

This post has strategies for getting relief on your own. Explore how to change your activities, stretch, and other strategies that relieve the pain associated with this trigger point.


Treatment Notes for Massage and Bodywork

Better Bodywork
Through Shared Expertise.

This post has techniques, tips, treatment routines, and anatomy illustrations to improve the bodyworker’s approach.

This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began improving the format. We are also adding more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We appreciate your input and feedback. You will see us adding posts and updating older posts as time permits.



Weekly Featured Post

This patient had recovered from a frozen shoulder but developed shoulder pain at the end of his golf swing. More traditional neuromuscular techniques weren’t working. Chiropractic wasn’t working. Integrative Craniosacral was the right solution for lasting relief.

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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*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistency in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.