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jaja

Occasional pain behind the left scapula

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I think it might be useful for me (and maybe others) to illustrate a problem I have; it's a painful sensation I feel only at times, so I always forget to seek professional help about it.

 

It almost inevitably comes up when I sit on a stool, or in general when I have to keep my torso erect for long periods of time. I am kinda clueless about anatomy, so I can't be really precise about the location, but I try to explain the best I can. To put my finger exactly on the painful spot, I have to grab my right shoulder with the left arm so that the scapula moves accordingly and then move my right arm to reach the area between the left side of my spine and the shoulder blade: the pain will be close to the edge of the scapula (that is now removed from its rest position).

 

Touching the area I feel only soft tissues and ribs, I suspect the pain might be linked to a mobility issue, but I'm not sure. Yesterday I felt it for the first time after a while and I immediately linked it to this spinal breathing I performed one hour before, which is essentially an exercise for thoracic mobility. I want also to add that apparently my yoga nidra practice helped alleviate the issue.

 

What do you guys think the problem is?

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serratus posterior superior, probably; in the anatomical position (arms hanging by sides) the scapula covers that part of it that is prone to trigger points. Lie face up on a hard ball, and use your legs to control the forces, and then on the offending side, carefully pull that arm onto your chest. That action should expose the point; let the ball penetrate and soften the painful area. This is very common, BTW.

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jaja,  I used to get a "pain I couldnt itch" under my right shoulder blade which sounds similar. With hindsight this was chronic for about 20 years, at its worst when I did lots of freestyle swimming (when all you did was swim and rotation hadnt been invented).

The exercise Kit mentions provide me with excellent relief (call it the scratch to the itch), but my own experience was that a strong focus on shoulder/scapular mobility and strength made the root cause disappear.  If I had to pick one single exercise it would be the Yuri band work; it is so versatile.  Position, tension, distraction etc etc. 10 mins a day will make a massive difference.

Thinking about this is inspiring me to see how the band sequence can be extended 

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Thank you for the answers! I have a lacrosse ball that sometime I use to perform self-massages, I'll try to reach the spot with it. Since we're already on the topic, I try asking a related question: are there indications to be mindful of when massaging the back with a hard ball? I know it could be used to mobilize joints and soften tissues, but I'm always worried about hurting myself because I'm not practical with it and I've no guidance. I think it might be a good practice to get inside some tricky areas like the elevator scapulae, but I'm not sure. Any indication is appreciated.

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LAX ball work same as any other similar work, apply the usual ground rules: Discomfort OK, Pain Not.  Pretty much everyone knows the difference.

Try and direct breath to the ball and relax as you exhale.  Work on sketchy areas for a minute or more, or until you feel you arent improving things by continuing.  If you find you are holding your breath you are probably overdoing it or close thereto.

I think Liv just published some photos that cover this. https://www.facebook.com/StretchTherapyKitLaughlin/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1041773582571799 About 30 photos in.

 

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Jaja wrote:

Quote

I'm always worried about hurting myself because I'm not practical with it and I've no guidance

Your body is immensely intelligent, in a way the mind (the thing that worries) has no cognisance of. If you go gently, try to relax as much as possible, and move around slowly, it will show you what needs to be done. There is no danger: if it is too uncomfortable, or to painful, it will move away from it. SD's advice about breathing into the area (not as an idea, but an action) is gold.

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Even if you think you understand the difference between discomfort and pain, rolling with a hard ball may shift that line for you ;) 

Kit is spot on, of course. I think Danny's advice to keep breathing is a pretty good guide. Even if there is no physical danger involved, if something is too intense to breathe through then the tissues are not going to relax and you're not going to get much (any?) benefit anyway. One caveat is that occasionally I will stay with a location that is likely too intense and see if I can't relax into it (I almost always can). That said, it's often more productive to work around the area and gradually return to that location.

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