Shoulder Blade Pain

Radiating Pain Under the Base of the Shoulder-Blade

Table of Contents

Want to skip ahead?
Here’s a link to my post about
getting relief on your own.

How People Describe This Pain Pattern

People complain of radiating pain under the bottom of the shoulder blade is either acute or chronic.

  • Acute cases complain of sharp pain that jabs at them and radiates up and toward the spine. Consequently, It makes them stiff and aggravated because the wrong move creates pain. Once it is aggravated, it can radiate, even when they are still.
  • Chronic cases have a low level ache and occasionally move in a way that aggravates the trigger point. In addition, sudden or extreme movements that twist and extend the spine can be very sharp. Long periods of bening forward create a dull, aching pain.

Can Feel Like Heart Problems

The more irritated trigger point creates a fuller pattern. It radiates up between the shoulders and through to the front. Naturally, this pain pattern can be concerning, especially for clients with heart conditions.

Pain through the chest is indicative of a heart condition. See your doctor before seeking relief from bodywork.

I see many of these cases and always have a frank conversation about cardiac care. I always refer them to a doctor for examination.

How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern

Twist and Shout

This trigger point activates with persistent or sudden twisting. Usually, this combines with extending the trunk and head up and back. Activities like painting and soffit work are perfect for creating this problem. Furthermore, jerking activities like roller coasters, car accidents, and slipping on the ice also stress the spinal erectors.

Perpetuating the Problem

Once the trigger point is activated, bending forward for a while makes it worse. Activities might include washing dishes, kneading dough, working on cars, or planting flowers. Of course, slumping over the laptop is a problem. Also, sudden jerks that take the head up or twist the torso irritate this muscle. Clients have complained about long car rides with their heads pulled forward, “sleeping wrong,” or new exercise routines.

The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain

Iliocostalis – Functional Anatomy

This section of the spinal erectors ties the lateral angles of the ribs to the lower cervicals and pelvis. Read more in this post about iliocostalis.

Getting Relief on Your Own

Clinically Proven
Self-Care Strategies

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

Therapy 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.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.

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

Tony Preston

Tony Preston, LMT has been treating adults and children since the early 90s. He has authored a number of texts on neuromuscular and craniosacral techniques. He has taught Neuromuscular Therapy for ASHA School of Massage and craniosacral the National Institute of Craniosacral Studies. He currently teaches seminars in Integrative Craniosacral techniques at The Body Guild.

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