A 2 Minute Stretch For Shoulder Blade Pain
If you are experiencing soreness, a dull ache, or burning between or under your shoulder blades, this 2-minute stretch can help relieve your discomfort and restore your range of motion. Our stretch also helps relax muscle tension in the upper chest. All you need to perform our exercise for shoulder blade pain is the corner of a room. Please scroll down to watch our video and start exercising, or keep reading to learn more about the shoulder blades and where that pesky pain comes from.
Those Familiar Aches That Arise From Hauling A Heavy Pack Can Force You Into Bad Posture And Take All The Fun Out Of Hiking Fight Load Fatigue By Strengthening The Muscles That Surround Your Spine Hips And Shoulders
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No matter your pack weight, wearing a backpack puts unnatural pressure on your joints and muscles. When youre hauling a heavy pack for days at a time, its no surprise that your back and shoulders bear the burden. Soreness is a part of backpacking, but you shouldnt be wincing at the thought of sliding on your pack. You can train your shoulder and back muscles for miles and miles of pain-free hiking.
Rotator Cuff Injuries And Irritations
Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help tether your shoulder into the socket and allow you to move it in a circular motion. Some two million people visit a doctor each year for rotator cuffrelated issues, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery . Most problems with the rotator cuff fall into two categories: tears or inflammation. Suspect a rotator cuff problem if you have pain or stiffness in your shoulder when you lift your arm above your head to brush your hair or when you reach behind your back. You won’t be able to do a lot of things you want to do, such as put dishes in an upper cabinet, play tennis, or do garden pruning.
Rotator cuff impingement. A rotator cuff impingement happens when there is irritation, inflammation, or compression of the tendons or bursa in the shoulder. An impingement can be caused by an injury, but it can also just result from general wear and tear from daily life.
Rotator cuff tears. A tear in the rotator cuff will produce pain that is similar to an impingement but has one additional differentiating feature. If the pain is associated with weakness, it is likely caused by a tear, and if you just have pain, it may only be a rotator cuff impingement.
While you may be tempted to stop moving when you experience pain from osteoarthritis, doing so can actually make the problem worse because it allows the muscles to stiffen and shorten. This may ultimately make it even harder for you to move the way you want to.
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Other Remedies For Neck & Shoulder Pain Hot Cold And Tens Therapy
Heating pads, ice or cold packs, and TENS Therapy are natural ways to get relief from neck and shoulder pain. A general rule of thumb suggests choosing different therapies based on how long youve been experiencing pain.
Use cold for recent neck or shoulder pain
During the first six weeks after a fresh injury, experts recommend applying ice to help reduce inflammation and pain. Ice packs, cold sprays, and/or cold gels are great options to relieve acute swelling.
Use heat for chronic aches and pains
Heat encourages blood flow and helps relax tight muscles. This type of therapy can be introduced six weeks after an injury, and also works best for lingering aches and pains. Make sure your heat therapy isnt too hot. Try:
- Warm baths, whirlpools and saunas
- Warm baths with Epsom salts
Try TENS Therapy for short and long-term neck and shoulder pain
TENS, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a drug-free alternative to pain relief that works for both short- and long-term pain. TENS units use mild, pain-free electrical currents to disrupt pain signals.
Make sure you dont place the TENS unit pads too close to your head or sides of your neck and spine. Please follow the manufacturers directions for the best and safest pad placement.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Shoulder Pain
A pharmacist can offer advice on shoulder pain, and for example, can suggest:
- the best painkiller this might be tablets, or a cream or gel you rub on the skin
- other ideas for pain relief and things you can buy to help, like heat and cold packs
- seeing a GP if you need to
You should see your GP if:
- the pain doesn’t improve after two weeks
- it’s very difficult to move your arm or shoulder
- the pain started after an injury or accident, like a fall
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Powerful Poses For Relieving Pain In Between The Shoulder Blades
You can practice these poses every day, separately or together. Hold each of them for 3-5 breaths and repeat 2-3 times. They can be fairly intense, so ease into them gently. Be careful not to use force or to put yourself in any position that causes you pain. Practice them every day for a few weeks and see how you feel.
If you are after more detailed instructions for the poses, click on the links as they will take you to my free full, video tutorials.
If you have an injury, please see a physical therapist to get the all-clear before practicing these exercises.
1. UPWARD FACING PLANK
This is the progression for Upward Facing Plank: Hammock, Crab and the full version of the pose. All three poses are effective for eliminating pain in between the shoulder blades, so take the variation that is best for you. Externally rotate your shoulders, lift your chest, lengthen your neck and gently squeeze your shoulder blades towards each other. Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths and repeat 2-3 times.
2. BRIDGE + FISH
If Fish pose is inaccessible for you, you can practice Bridgepose. These postures open up the chest and increase mobility in the thoracic spine. Hold one or both of these poses for 3-5 breaths and repeat 2-3 times. Again, lift your chest up and back, and draw your shoulder blades towards each other.
What Exercises Should I Do
The following exercises may help you. Ask your doctor if you should do other exercises, too. You can also try these rotator cuff exercises.
Range of motion
Stand up and lean over so youre facing the floor. Let your sore arm dangle straight down. Draw circles in the air with your sore arm. Start with small circles, and then draw bigger ones. Repeat these exercises 5 to 10 times during the day. If you have pain, stop. You can try again later.
Having good shoulder posture can help prevent shoulder pain. Many people with shoulder pain often lift up or hunch their shoulder forward. Work on improving your posture if you find yourself slumping or hunching. Throughout the day, focus on bringing your shoulder or shoulder blade down and holding there. Another exercise is to stand against the wall with the back of your head, shoulders, legs, and heels touching the wall. Notice if your painful shoulder blade doesnt touch the wall completely. Keep trying that position throughout the day.
Upper extremity strengthening
As your pain goes away, try adding a general upper body weight-lifting program using weight machines or free weights. Lie on your right side with your left arm at your side. With a weight in your left hand and your forearm across your tummy, raise your forearm.
Keep your elbow near your side.
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Treatment Of Supraspinatus Tendonitis:
The treatment to manage supraspinatus tendinopathy depends on the cause of the pathology.
At first, conservative treatment is preferred. Conservative treatment involves physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , cold pack treatments, and resting.
Corticoid injections can also be used in addition to physiotherapy. Surgical intervention can be another solution if there is no improvement after 3-6 months of conservative treatment.
Rest: Rest to the affected limb.
ice massage: It will reduce pain and inflammation.
NSAIDs may be the first choice for mild to moderate pain if there are no contraindications to these agents. A drug is given for 7-14 days to relieve the pain associated with tendinitis.
Moderate to unbearable symptoms may require a local subacromial corticosteroid injection.
Abursal resection: Removement of the subacromial bursa.
Acromioplasty: Generally, there is the removal of a small piece of the surface of the acromion process that is in contact with a tendon causing, by friction, damage to the surrounding tissue.
When To Contact A Doctor For Shoulder Pain
In many cases, an individual can trace shoulder blade pain back to a seemingly harmless incident, such as a recent fall or an occasion when they lifted too much weight. It may be less evident to a person who slept badly, but warning signs include sleeping on one side too long or having recently switched mattresses.
People who cannot explain pain in their shoulder blade should contact a doctor, as it may be an indicator of a serious underlying issue. For example, pain in the left shoulder may be a sign of a heart attack.
A person may also wish to seek guidance from a doctor in the case of a strain, as the doctor may be able to recommend additional treatment.
Symptoms that signal a need for immediate attention include:
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Common Causes Of Pain Under The Shoulder Blade
There are many reasons you might be experiencing a nagging ache or soreness under the shoulder blades. It may hurt due to inflammation from injury or overuse. This is often noticeable at onset or gradually after you have been active. It may feel painful due to radiating pain from another body part or structure, such as from the neck, spine, or shoulder. Here are some of the most common causes.
Simple Exercise That Contribute Towards Shoulder Blade Pain Relief
For people who sit for long periods of time, either at a desk, or when driving, performing shoulder circles as demonstrated in the video above can be an effective way to avoid muscles associated with your shoulder blades becoming overworked, and discomfort setting in.
To perform shoulder circles:
This exercise works the muscles between the rib cage and the spine which when strong allow proper movement of the shoulder and takes the pressure of the shoulder joint. By doing this it reduces the risk of nipping nerves which is a major cause of pain.
To avoid pain returning, try to minimise hunching over and bring your shoulders back, and down.
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Preventing Shoulder Blade Pain
After youve found an efficient way to relieve your pain, the next step is prevention. How can you prevent this pain from happening again? The main route to prevention is exercise. Strengthening and stretching the vulnerable area or the previously injured area will help you avoid pain down the road. Make sure you slowly ease into exercise.
Exercise regularly, and keep in mind, that the key to long term relief, is to keep training, which you often will have to do for many months. Strengthening exercises ought to be done two to three times a week, with one two days pause. Stretching exercises can be done daily.
Start with once every two days. In a week or so, bump it up to twice every two days. In about 4-6 weeks, try doing these exercises 2-3 times a day every other day. The following exercises you can find in Injurymap. The app takes the guesswork out of exercising. It helps you ease into it and guides you through every step.
Prevention For Latissimus Dorsi Muscle Pain
Always maintain good posture and avoid slouching.Drink more water throughout the day, mostly before and after exercise.You can also try occasional massage to loosen any tightness in the back and shoulder joints.Make sure you properly stretch and warm up before exercising and playing sports.Apply to the heating pad before working out.Always Do the cool-down after working out.Getting to rare massages.
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Rice Principle For Latissimus Dorsi Pain
When feeling pain in the muscle in the initial phase doctor recommends following the RICE principle to reduce the muscle pain and swelling.
- Rest_R: Sometimes do the resting back and shoulder joint from the use & do not do any physical movements which are produced pain.
- Ice_I: Use ice in the sore place for 20 min decrease to muscle pain and swellings, and also apply an ice pack and frozen peas in the location of the pain. always use the ice with the help of a towel stop to the ice burning.
- Compression_C: In compression, you can also use to compression bandage on the place of pain release to swelling and spam.
- Elevating_E: In this, you must be elevated to the site of pain by sitting in an erect position and placing the pillows behind the upper back and shoulder joint.
How To Ease Shoulder Pain Yourself
You usually need to do these things for two weeks before shoulder pain starts to ease, see below. It can take four to six weeks to recover fully from mild shoulder pain.
There are some things you should and shouldnt do to help ease shoulder pain. See information below for what these include.
- stay active and gently move your shoulder
- try exercises for shoulder pain do them for six to eight weeks to stop pain returning
- stand up straight with your shoulders gently back
- sit with a cushion behind your lower back
- rest your arm on a cushion in your lap
- use pain relief so you can keep moving try painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen, and heat or cold packs
- if you injure your shoulder, try a pack of frozen peas in a tea towel for 5 minutes, 3 times a day to reduce bruising of soft tissues
- if the pain starts more gradually, try a hot water bottle in a tea towel for 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day to ease the pain
- completely stop using your shoulder this can stop it getting better
- do things that seem to make it worse
- make up your own strenuous exercises or use heavy gym equipment
- slouch when sitting don’t roll your shoulders or bring your neck forward
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If Youve Still Got Shoulder Pain
There are many other simple and complex issues that contribute to shoulder pain. Additionally, there are numerous shoulder stretches for pain that you could choose from.
One thing to note is that pain relief is not the same thing as healing. This stretch should provide you with some quick relief it youre experiencing shoulder pain. I recommend you hold this stretch for 30-60 seconds a couple times per day. However, if you are experiencing significant or persistent shoulder problems, I recommend you get in touch with a physical therapist or medical provider for further direction.
For purposes of this article, I just wanted to keep it as a quick tip. If you are experiencing significant or persistent shoulder problems, call a physical therapist to discuss the condition of your shoulder to create a plan to help it feel and function better.
Steve Carling, PT, MS
Shoulder Surgery And Rehab
If you suffer torn rotator cuff muscles, then you are probably going to require surgery. A rotator cuff inury is painful and requires rehab. Other shoulder conditions might also require surgery to rectify. Following, the procedure for a rotator cuff tendon injury, you will be assigned physical therapy at a trained facility and at-home shoulder stretches to help you overcome functional limitations.
Exercises are a great way to free up a frozen shoulder and relieve discomfort for people with shoulder pain. You might be tempted to turn to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications but stretching is often an effective way to cope with problems. Active rest and ice are also effective treatments at home.
It doesnt matter if you are a weekend warrior, an active athlete, a stay-at-home mom, or you work behind a desk, no one wants to suffer shoulder discomfort. I hope that this list of shoulder therapy exercises will help you find relief.
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Try Out Cold Or Heat Therapy
Ice is a quick way to relieve pain. Wrap the ice or cooling device in a wet cloth before applying it to your skin. Apply the cold device for 15-20 minutes. Leave about 45 minutes between applications. Ice or cold reduces blood flow to the affected area. By doing so, inflammation and swelling may be reduced. As a result, you feel less pain.
Some individuals prefer heat over cold. Go with what feels best for you, or alternate between them. Heat, in particular, may offer relief, if your muscles feel tense. Heat promotes blood flow in the applied area and also causes the local muscles to relax.
Ways To Relieve Your Shoulder Blade Pain
If youre suffering from pain in your shoulder blades, there are effective treatment methods you can try at home.
Known as the scapulae, the shoulder blades are the triangular bones connected to your collarbone. Attached to each shoulder blade are three muscle groups: the rhomboids and the middle and lower trapezius muscles. These muscles enable your shoulders to rotate freely during workouts or simple everyday tasks.
However, exposing this area to stress can lead to cramps, sprains, or strains. For example, shoulder blade pain can result from a muscular injury, strain after weightlifting, poor posture, or whiplash following a car accident. Conditions like a torn rotator cuff, arthritis, or disc herniation may also be the cause of discomfort.
Whatever the source of your shoulder blade pain, there are simple steps you can take to find relief.
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