Pain under the shoulder blade – Relieve it yourself

Pain under the shoulder blade is very uncomfortable.

You shouldn’t ignore or tolerate it; it is not necessary.

This pain is often caused by an accessory respiratory muscle under your shoulder blade and can be relieved by a self-massage.

On this page, I succinctly explain in my video as well as in my text which muscle can cause these problems and what you can do about it.

All you need is a massage ball or a towel.

Watch this video and relieve your pain!

1. Pain under the shoulder – Causes

As I’ve already mentioned, there is one particular muscle that can cause pain under your shoulder blade.

It is called serratus posterior superior.

It lies below your shoulder blade and helps your diaphragm when you inhale by raising your ribs and expanding your rib cage.

If this muscle is overloaded, it can become tense and develop trigger points.

Both can lead to the pain in question.

Additional details at this point are not necessary since it would cause more confusion than elucidation.

Simply carry on with the self-massage.

2. Pain under the shoulder blade – How to get rid of it

Below you will find a description of the massage using a massage ball as well as a towel.

Both variants are effective, but I recommend doing the massage with a ball.

This is a bit more effective based on my own experience.

But ultimately, you will have to decide what you find more effective.

Massage yourself daily, and your pain could soon be a thing of the past.

2.1 Self-massage with a ball

  • Place your ball on the affected side at the upper inner edge of your scapula and lean against a wall.
  • Cross the arm of the side that hurts in front of your body and hold it firmly with the other hand.
  • This is very important since this is the only way for you to get to the muscle fibres of the serratus posterior superior!
  • It is very important to pay attention to this because otherwise, your massage will not be effective.
  • Slowly roll the ball down the inside of your scapula and stop as soon as you find a painful spot.
  • Once you have found one, concentrate on it and “roll” it a few times.

Important: It is possible that you won’t be able to distinguish a specific painful spot in the area around your shoulder blade with all of the tension that is there because of your everyday life – working at a desk, stress and from poor posture.

Does it hurt all over!? Then focus on the entire region and break up your massage into several segments.

Do not roll/massage over the entire inside of your scapula with each massage stroke.

Instead, massage the upper third of the shoulder blade edge first, then the middle and finally the bottom.

2.2 Self-massage with a towel

Pain under the shoulder blade could also be relieved with a towel, however banal it may seem.

  • Roll a small towel into a tight roll.
  • It is important that it is firmly and tightly rolled. Otherwise, it will not be hard enough and you won’t be able to exert enough pressure.
  • Once the towel is rolled up, you can either tape the ends or completely wrap it in tape so that it doesn’t “unroll”.
  • As an alternative to a towel, a small, very thin rug can be used. This is naturally harder, which will come in handy for the massage.
  • Put your towel on the floor.
  • Now lie down on the floor and place your upper back on the towel. Your place on your back where your upper shoulder blade is located should come into contact with the towel.
  • Place your feet on the ground – this will stabilize you – and cross your arms in front of your chest.
  • This is important because this is the only way to get to the fibres of the serratus posterior superior.
  • Now roll slightly onto the painful side and back.
  • Repeat this rolling movement several times. Then slide a few centimetres upward on the towel and repeat the lateral rolling.
  • Keep doing this until you have worked the entire area of the inner edge of your scapula in this way.

Whenever you experience pain while rolling, stay on that spot and massage it with small, slow rolling movements.

Be sure to keep breathing normally and don’t tense your face – make sure your eyebrows are relaxed and your jaw is loose.

I hope one of these two self-massage techniques will help you to eliminate any pain you might have under your shoulder blade.

3. Further symptoms associated with pain under the shoulder blade

It is possible that the pain you feel under the shoulder blade gets worse when you inhale.

The reason for this is the breathing support function of the serratus posterior superior that was mentioned previously.

If a muscle is tense or contains trigger points, then it can cause or amplify pain, especially when shortened/tensed or extended/elongated.

During inhalation, the serratus posterior superior contracts, which can lead to an intensification of the pain you feel under your shoulder blade.

Furthermore, it is possible that you feel pain in your shoulder, arm, elbow, your hand, and fingers.

In this case, the massage described will also relieve pain in these areas.