Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General Persistent knots (trigger points?) in back beneath shoulder blade, crunchy shoulders

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    • #70463
      AvatarIsaac Mercado

      I think I am experiencing a case of ‘I’d could find what I looking for if only I knew what to search for’. Perhaps someone can help.

      Over the course of several years I have developed knots in my back that seem to run along the inside edge of my shoulder blade. It is worse in my right-hand side (I am right-handed). This is accompanied by slightly ‘crunchy shoulders’; if I raise my elbow parallel to my shoulder, roll my shoulder back by squeezing my shoulder blades together, then drop my elbow I can elicit a ‘crunch’. None of this is particularly painful, just uncomfortable and feels stiff. I have fairly good overhead shoulder flexibility (or maybe I think I do and it’s actually my over-flexible back). My neck also painlessly crack in the mornings.

      Have tried working on this with a ball and massage, which has some positive effect short of ever actually eliminating the knots. Think I need to work on some fundamentals – could anyone point at the right content on this site or elsewhere, I’m struggling to find what seems an exact match despite this being what I think is a common problem.

      Thank you!
    • #72740

      What have you done to address the knots in your shoulder?
      Pain is a lagging indicator. When pain is present something has already happened.
      What are you doing to address the stiffness in your shoulder?
      Are you able to create a stable overhead position?
      If you have a hyper mobile back this is addressed differently.
      The Hypermobile Amongst Us: Spine Edition
      Mobility, Pregnancy, and the Hypermobile
      How Much ROM Do You Need, Really?
      The knots in your shoulder are not going away because you are addressing the symptom the knot, not what is causing the knot to occur. Until the cause is eliminated the knots will continue to appear.
      You may need to hit a combination of items and you may not find an episodes that is an exact match.
      What is the reason for the differences between sides?
      T-Spine Overhead Barbell Smash
      Overhead Rib Mobilization
      Overhead Lateral Seam
      Banded Overhead Distraction
      Overhead w/External Rotation Bias

    • #73805
      AvatarKerby Ballard

      I am having the same issues as silasdavis above. Any overhead or front reaching arm movements irritate more trigger points along my scapula. I have tight tissue along my deltoids, neck, and clavicle and have done all mobilizations on the site religiously. All the pain is on my right side and has been occurring for several years. Any ideas on what could be the root cause?

    • #73806

      Have you seen a doctor or had your situation evaluated to see if something more is happening?
      If this situation has been several years it will take some time to start seeing improvements.
      If you have been working on something and not seeing change you need to change the approach.
      How often do you do a mobility session?
      How many things are you addressing during a session?
      Do you change what you do each mobility session or keep it the same?
      Pro Episode # 21 – Pro-User Request Friday: Not Seeing The Change? You Need a Systems Approach.
      Have you had any improvements in your situation since beginning to work on mobility?

    • #75958
      AvatarDavid Saldivar

      I have a similar re-curing issue.

      Let me ask: Do you have a desk job, where you use a mouse a lot, leaning kinda limply on your right elbow.

      I find that this is the biggest irritation for me.

      I find that when I’m more conscious of my position throughout the day, or if I can escape my desk a little more, it doesn’t bother me.

    • #76041
      AvatarMayra Castillo

      I have the same issues. I have found that lack of movement or more physical activity than typical makes the pain increase. I did physical therapy for nearly 2 years with no results. I go for monthly massage and Chiropractor as needed. The chiro seems to help the most when it is at its worst. I use tennis balls, foam rollers, a specific heating pad, etc at home. I was recently told that these are trigger points. I found this page as I was searching for information. Medical Dr just wanted to prescribe muscle relaxers which did nothing but make me sleep for 20 hours. Any other ideas would be appreciated!

    • #76161
      AvatarRoberto Venegas

      I came here for similar advise. Good thing Kaitlin showed us all how much she knows by asking questions and not offering any real advise. She must really know her stuff, because… oh wait yeah she didn’t offer any real advise. Anyone else have some meaningful suggestions?

    • #76226
      AvatarAJ Silvers

      I had similar problems for since i was 15 and now im 23. I went to the chiropractor for the first time about 6 months ago and that cured me. I didn’t realize how bad my posture was until i read supple leopard around the same time. The knots are significantly smaller and now they are virtually gone. The pain comes back though if i am in bad spinal positions which is rare or if i roll over onto my stomach when im sleeping. I think alot of my pain came from cervical and upper thoracic misalignment you should start there because i tried rolling and stuff forever and all knots came back sometimes worse in a day or so.

    • #76895
      Bryan PiazzaBryan Piazza

      Silasdavis – are you still dealing with this? It took me YEARS to figure out what the problem was. Sounds similar to yours. Check out this YouTube video, after I saw it and heard the crunching I knew it was exactly what I had. https://youtu.be/fn4y5MHomiU

    • #77070
      AvatarSharad Thankappan

      I had a very painful struggle with knotted muscles along both scapula mostly when laying on my back or sitting against the back o a chair or car seat. I tried many things and finally I talked to my wonderful Dr. McNaughton and he said I want you to take Prilosec for 4 weeks. I looked at him dumbfounded and said “what? I don’t have indigestion and I eat all kinds of foods!” He explain to me that I may have irritation in me esophagus near my stomach and that is close to a nerve center.
      So I went away very skeptical but because he had saved my life four years earlier (he diagnosed an aortic dissection) and my back hurt so bad that I couldn’t sleep I decided to take the Prilosec and after just a couple days I began to feel better. After 4 weeks the pain was mostly gone so I went a couple more weeks and the knots shrunk but have not gone completely away and the pain is minimal. For the past month I have been sleeping with my torso elevated and have had very little pain. Dr. McNaughton says we’ll just have to keep monitoring it and go back to the Prilosec if need be. Crazy! But true!

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