Your Pain Pattern,
What Aggravates It,
The Underlying Anatomy
How to Get relief,
How People Describe This Pain Pattern
People complain of burning along the inside of their shoulder blade. This burning and itching along the shoulder blade will make you want to rub up against a doorway or get one of those massage canes to get at it. It is my experience that people are quick to notify a body therapist (like me) to rub on it when it is bothering them.
This pattern is often the trigger point that makes friends scratch each other’s back for a minute or two. Ahhh. When you rub along the shoulder blade at the green spot in this pic it feels amazing. People roll their eyes and say, “yeeaaah, riiiight theeeree…”
Although some people recognize the muscular ache, others consider that this may be a topical problem on the skin. The may get brief relief if the cream has a numbing agent or tingly feeling. Those agents act on a nerve path that calms the muscle by stimulating the skin. Its confusing, as the pattern often returns.
How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern
People are unaware of how this started, except that it often bothers them after they have been working at a desk, driving or working on a low counter. The person, who shall remain nameless, gets this from texting in bed. All of these activities make this section of muscle work hard to stabilize the scapula as it is pulled forward. This is often a problem and the person has slumped shoulders with tight pecs.
Jerking Up and Forward
Occasionally, this problem starts when the shoulder is jerked forward and up and this muscle is trying to stabilize the shoulder girdle. This might happen as you are kneeling to tie your shoe and the dog on a leash jerks you forward. In another case, a new routine with explosive rotational kettlebell swings activate this. People that slip while using their arms to lower into a seat also get his burning and itching along the shoulder blade.
This burning and itching will bother you as you slump forward while working, once you have jerked it and created a little microtrauma. This stretching escalates the intensity of the activated trigger point. The area of burning and itching in this pattern resembles the pain in another pattern that is aggravated by slumping.
This irritation may start with a different trapezius problem that creates a sore neck and shoulder. I explore that pattern in this post. When it is relieved, the burning and itching may reveal itself.
The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain
Anatomy – Throacic Outlet
The anatomy of these structures is important to understand the syndrome. This post walks through the structures one at a time.
The trapezius is complex. It is sometimes called the “coat hanger” of the pectoral girdle. You can read more about it in this post on anatomy of the trapezius muscle.
Getting Relief on Your Own
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.
Therapy Notes for Massage and Bodywork
Through Shared Expertise
This post has techniques, tips, treatment routines, and anatomy illustrations to improve the bodyworker’s approach.
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Does Your Shoulder Hurt From the Covid-19 Vaccine?
This post offers quick, lasting relief from the pain in your shoulder that came from the vaccine. You will need an ice cube and about 2 minutes.
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.
*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 will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistencies in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.