What are the Best Exercises to Relieve Shoulder Blade Pain?

shoulder blade pain

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All of us, at some time, experience shoulder blade pain. But what causes it? Discover 9 of the best exercises for shoulder blade muscle pain and get some relief.

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Do you suffer from shoulder blade pain? Have you tried all sorts of treatments but nothing seems to be helping?

Shoulder blade pain can be a common and uncomfortable experience for many people. It is important to understand the causes of these shoulder injuries, as well as what exercises and other methods can be used to relieve them.

Many people have had the unfortunate experience of this pain when working out the upper body. Sometimes it’s a little twitch, other times it can be pushing the limits beyond your range of motion. Whatever the case it is important to identify the problem early to prevent any further damage.

Shoulder blade pain is often related to postural corrections, tension in the muscles, or tightness in the shoulder and chest area. Common causes also include rotator cuff impingement, muscle strains, and shoulder joint degeneration. This article will discuss the most common causes of shoulder blade pain as well as provide tips on how to prevent it and get relief.

What Can Cause Shoulder Blade Pain?

The most common causes of shoulder blade pain include muscle strain, poor posture, rotator cuff injuries, or even arthritis.

  • Muscle strain is the most common cause of shoulder blade pain and can occur when you overuse certain muscles in your shoulders or upper back. This can happen during a workout at the gym, but it can also happen in any impinging motion in the shoulders.
  • Poor posture can also lead to tightness in the muscles around your shoulder blades which may cause discomfort. Being hunched or slouched over can commonly lead to shoulder pain, especially sleeping awkwardly on your shoulder.
  • Rotator cuff injuries are tears in the tendons that connect your shoulder bones to your upper arm bone, which can result in pain and difficulty moving your arms. Sometimes these can be subtle tears that are not noticeable, which is why it becomes important to check at the first sign of issues.
Shoulder blade pain in a man sitting hunched over his laptop computer.
  • Arthritis can cause shoulder blade pain due to inflammation in the joints of your shoulders. You will find this occurs mainly with older people but there are cases of younger people suffering also. This can be harder to recover from without cortisone injections but there are natural ways to relieve pain.
  • Shoulder blade pain can also be caused by nerve entrapment. This occurs when a nerve in your shoulder becomes compressed or trapped due to tight muscles, scar tissue, or other structural changes. Nerve entrapment can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the affected area.
  • Stress and tension in the shoulders and upper back can also be a cause of pain. Stress can lead to tightness in the muscles which can cause discomfort and pain in the area.

No matter what is causing your shoulder blade pain, it’s important to seek medical advice from a doctor or physical therapist so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment is prescribed.

What Are The Best Ways to Relieve Shoulder Blade Pain?

Exercise can be used to help relieve shoulder blade pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises are important for maintaining good posture and flexibility in the muscles around your shoulder blades.

You could try some gentle stretching exercises to help reduce tension in these muscles. Strengthening exercises such as wall push-ups, bent-over rows, and lateral raises will also help build strength in the surrounding muscles. It is important not to rush with weights when recovering from shoulder pain.

Shoulder Blade Pain is relieved with massage.

Other methods that may help relieve shoulder blade pain include massage therapy, heat or cold therapy, acupuncture, and physical therapy. Massage therapy can help loosen tight muscles around your shoulder blades which may be causing pain. Heat or cold therapy can also help reduce inflammation and pain in the area.

Acupuncture is another option that may help relieve shoulder blade pain by releasing endorphins, which are hormones that act as natural painkillers. Lastly, physical therapy can be used to help improve the muscle strength around your shoulder blades and improve flexibility, thus reducing pain.

What are the Best Exercises for Shoulder Pain?

Before beginning any exercises, giving your shoulder joint sufficient time to rest and heal is important. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be best to consult with a physical therapist before starting any exercises. In some cases, shoulder blade pain can be caused by issues in the back, so often back and shoulder exercises are recommended for recovery.

There are a few simple exercises that you can do to relieve this pain at home if you can’t make it to a gym. These include shoulder stretches such as arm circles and shoulder shrugs; strengthening exercises that we mentioned earlier, such as wall push-ups and bent-over rows; and stability exercises such as planks or side planks.

Shoulder Blade Pain is being relieved by a girl doing strengthening wall push-ups.

It is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of the exercise over time. If you experience increased pain or discomfort during these exercises, stop immediately and consult a medical professional for further advice. But if you’re feeling good, you could slowly start to engage in shoulder workouts again under advisement.

Shoulder blade pain can be very debilitating, making even simple everyday activities like brushing your teeth and getting dressed difficult to navigate. Luckily, there are specific exercises that can help strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blades and reduce the amount of discomfort you may feel.


9 Exercises To Help You Get Relief from Shoulder Blade Pain

1. Wall Angels Exercise

Video by [BackSpace] Chiropractic Fitness TV

The wall angels exercise is designed to gently stretch and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blades, relieving tension and discomfort. You should take time to warm up before performing this exercise, as it targets many areas in the upper body. To perform the wall angels exercise:

  • Stand with your back against a wall, feet hip-width apart
  • Ensure your feet are a comfortable distance away from the wall
  • Rest both arms against the wall so that they form 90-degree angles at your elbows
  • Keeping your arms as close to the wall as possible, move them both up and down like you are making a snow angel motion
  • Repeat 10 times for three sets

2. Dynamic Shoulder Blade Pain Squeeze

Video by www.sportsinjuryclinic.net

Another helpful exercise when dealing with shoulder blade pain is the dynamic shoulder blade squeeze. This movement helps improve posture and shortens the muscles between your spine and shoulders, reducing tension that can lead to further injury. To do this exercise:

  • Sit upright in a chair and begin by holding each end of a resistance band in each hand
  • Squeeze both blades together while lifting them up towards the opposite ears
  • Keep squeezing throughout the entire movement and be sure not to move any other body part than just your shoulders
  • Slowly release back down into starting position after 8-12 reps

3. Rear Delt Fly’s Exercise

Video by Bowflex

Rear delt fly’s are great for strengthening the back of your shoulders. When done regularly, this exercise may not only reduce muscle tissue imbalance but also decrease tightness in your posterior muscles which can cause chronic neck or back pain. To complete this exercise:

  • Start by standing with feet hip-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand
  • Lean forward slightly from your hips until you’re almost parallel to the floor
  • Keep one arm straight while bending the opposite elbow upward so that the forearm is perpendicular to the floor
  • Squeeze shoulder blades together while performing rear delts fly’s (like you were about to touch elbows)
  • Perform 3 sets for 15-20 reps on each side to get the best results

4. Prone T Extension Exercise

Video by The Active Life

The prone T extension is another helpful exercise if you experience shoulder blade-related pains. It stretches out those tense muscles in the upper back whilst also engaging those core-stabilizing ones. This can help reduce shoulder weakness which is the cause of many problems. Here’s how you do this exercise:

  • Lie on your stomach facing down on the ground or mat
  • Begin by placing your palms flat down underneath the surface at chest level
  • Gently lift the upper body off the floor without bending backward/sidewards whilst maintaining elbow proximity close together beneath the surface
  • Have your breathing stay regular throughout the movement keeping your torso raised 4’–6”
  • Slowly release your arm placing your hands back onto the surface
  • Repeat 10 times 2–3 sets

5. Reverse Snow Angel

Video by Leap Fitness

This exercise helps stretch and strengthen muscles used to move the shoulder blades away from each other. This exercise is similar to the wall angels exercise in movement so you can look to alternate between the two. You may find the slight differences between the two may help to reduce your pain.

  • To start, lie on your stomach with both arms down by your side
  • Bring both arms up over your head with elbows straight — similar to making a snow angel
  • Touch your thumbs together at the top above your head (keep your head off the ground)
  • You should feel a tight squeeze in your shoulder blades near the top of the motion
  • Return your arms to your sides after you reach the top of the movement (keep it controlled)
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds, repeating 10 times up to three sets per day as needed

6. Bent Arm Raise

Video by National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

Like reverse snow angels, this is an exercise used to strengthen muscles surrounding the shoulder blade area while also providing a powerful stretch across the chest and upper arm region. It also helps release any tightness or tenderness felt around those areas due to bad posture when sitting or standing for long periods.

  • To start, stand near a door frame or wall for support and hold a light weight (start at 1-2lbs) in each hand with palms facing inward towards one another and elbows bent at 90 degrees
  • While contracting belly muscles inward towards the spine, keep your elbows close by your sides and press slightly upward so your arms are directly next to your shoulders
  • Do this without moving away from the door frame or wall at any point throughout the set
  • Hit the end range – but don’t force it too deep too quickly as this may cause more harm than good in some cases!
  • Perform 15-20 repetitions per set of 3 daily as needed slowly increasing weight/resistance as tolerable over time

7. Scapular Retraction Punch

Video by Trifecta Therapeutics: Sports Rehab & Performance

Not only does this exercise work on retraction (i.e. drawing together) of scapulae but is also great for improving coordination between lower back/buttocks muscles plus core strength which will then help decrease low back pain associated often with neck/shoulder issues!

  • Begin by standing tall with feet firmly planted on the ground about hip-width apart
  • Focus on tightening your abs, then push slightly outward through the buttocks region (this should cause the scapula/shoulder blade area to narrow/retract).
  • Use the momentum to draw arm upward in punching motion (either holding light weights or using body weight depending upon strength level) before returning it to starting position!
  • Focus on one arm at a time to really focus on the retraction in the movement
  • Do 10 sets x3 repetitions aiming for slow & controlled form throughout the entire exercise without rushing each rep too hastily

This is a great way to increase power output within the movement which ultimately leads to better results achieved quicker than otherwise possible!

8. Trapezius Stretch

Video by AskDoctorJo

This exercise works mainly on stretching out tight or sore trapezius muscles located along the top/back side neck/jawline. This normally gets aggravated when hunching shoulders forward (commonly tight when working repetitively on the computer all day long!).

  • To perform simply sit tall upright chair preferably one which allows you to lean back while still maintaining good posture the whole time
  • Bend your head down leftward side then reach your right hand over across the nose direction
  • Place your hand on your head and gently pull the scalp area until a slight but comforting stretch is felt
  • Repeat the process on the opposite side alternating every 30 seconds
  • Complete 10 sets x4 reps per day (you will usually notice improvement within days after the first session has been done)

9. Overhead Reach and Rotate

Video by Fitness on 25th – YWCA Saskatoon

The overhead reach and rotate is designed specifically to target rotator cuff muscles including supraspinatus infraspinatus teres minor subscapularis. This can be a great rehab exercise to work on if you are recovering from a rotator cuff injury.

  • To begin stand feet hip distance apart and bend your knees slightly (arms up together 90 degree angle near your head)
  • With your arms extended wide above your head, reach straight up with your left arm both arms facing hands together
  • Focus on really rotating the shoulder socket as you push upwards in the motion
  • Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting positon to repeat (can be done with light weights as well)
  • Try to maintain a working inside your zone rather than pushing boundaries a little too much during exercise. This exercise is designed to help relieve the pain in the area not to aggravate it further
  • Complete 12 reps for both rotations for 3 sets per day

You should see the benefits quickly if you maintain the exercise for a sustained period. You can look to increase the speed or even weight used once you feel no pain or impingement.

Get Your Shoulder Blade Pain Checked First and Go From There!

Overall, shoulder pain can be a difficult issue to deal with. However, there are many exercises and other treatments available that can help to reduce pain and improve the range of motion in the shoulder. It is important to talk to a doctor before starting any new exercise regimen or treatment plan.

Additionally, it is important to take regular breaks throughout the day and avoid overusing shoulders when engaging in activities such as lifting or pushing heavy objects. With proper exercise, rest, and other methods of treatment, it is possible to manage shoulder pain and improve the overall range of motion in this crucial joint.

So don’t let shoulder pain slow you down; try different exercises and other methods today, and reach your health goals tomorrow!

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