Shoulder Blade Muscle Knot?

April 26th, 2022

If you have ever experienced a tender spot on the inside edge of your shoulder blade, you know how difficult it can be to massage it out.  Rubbing it against the corner of a wall or smashing it with a lacrosse ball never does the trick.  What if I were to tell you that “knot” you feel isn’t a knot at all?

The majority of the time, pain in that area is “referred pain” from the neck.  The source of the issue is in one spot and the pain is felt in another.  This can explain why digging into the painful spot provides temporary relief at best.  

The joints of the neck can send pain to several places including down the arm, into the hand, and especially to that pesky area around your shoulder blade.  There is a nerve called the dorsal scapular nerve that is often responsible for this issue as it starts in the neck and ends right by the shoulder blade.  

These issues typically arise from prolonged postural strain (sitting at a computer for too long) or, less frequently, from an acute strain (forcefully lifting weights).  Strain on the neck, whether from chronic postural strain or an acute strain, can cause the joints and nerves to become sensitive.  Since the neck is like the circuit breaker to the body, an issue there can cause pain downstream.  

If you notice a light is out in your house you should first check to see if it’s a problem with the lightbulb.  If replacing the lightbulb doesn’t do the trick you should check your breaker box.  If you see a breaker has been flipped, you know the problem is in one area, but the symptoms of the problem are in another.  

To address this type of pain, we need to address the source of the issue.  Make sure your desk is set up ergonomically (see the video below), and take frequent breaks from sitting.  

Movements like the one in the video below are often used to reduce joint-strain in the neck.  

Other stretches like the corner stretch shown below address some of the muscles that get tight when we sit for extended periods. 

As with any issues regarding the neck, it is best to see a medical professional before attempting to fix it yourself.  These issues are often resolved quickly without the use of medication or more invasive options if treatment begins shortly after the onset of symptoms.  

If you’re experiencing pain in or around your neck, we’re here to help.  Click HERE to schedule an appointment. 


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