How to Massage for Shoulder Blade Pain

Three Methods:Massaging YourselfMassaging Someone ElseUsing Products to Massage Away the Pain

Shoulder blade pain afflicts millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, it can be a real hassle to manage and treat if you don't know how. Luckily, massage therapy is very effective in helping to ease shoulder pain. If you or someone you know suffers from shoulder blade pain, you can choose self-treatment/massage, or have someone else massage the shoulder blades. In the end, a good shoulder blade massage will leave you feeling less pain and might even help you relax.

Method 1
Massaging Yourself

  1. Image titled Perform Shoulder Stretches Step 4
    Stretch out your shoulder blade muscles, while standing up or laying down. Stretching your shoulder muscles provides a therapeutic type of massage and stretch. This is a worthwhile technique because you don’t need any equipment and can stretch your shoulder blades wherever you are.
    • Roll your shoulders and shoulder blades a few times, then swing your arms around in a circular motion to loosen them up a little.
    • Try reaching your arms behind your back and clasping your hands. Or instead, put them on the small of your back and stretch by leaning backwards.
    • Finally, get down on the floor and do a couple of yoga poses.[1]
  2. Image titled Choose a Foam Roller Step 1
    Use foam rollers and tennis balls. A foam roller is a cylinder that looks kind of like a pool noodle, but it's much firmer. Foam rollers and tennis balls are great tools for massaging your shoulder blades. This is because they allow you to reach parts of your shoulders and back that you wouldn't be able to reach all by yourself.
    • Place it on the floor and lay with your shoulders on top of it. The roller should be at a 90 degree angle to your spine.
    • Then move back and forth to use the foam roller to work out some of the tension in your shoulders and shoulder blades.
    • You can use a tennis ball in a similar manner, by lying flat with a tennis ball under your shoulders and moving around to massage your muscles.[2]
  3. Image titled Give a Neck Massage Step 11
    Focus on the shoulder blade's "triangle." This triangle is the region between the top of your shoulder, your lower shoulder blade, and your upper shoulder blade. Focusing on this area will substantially relieve shoulder blade pain.
    • Use your hand or a handheld massaging device to massage your shoulder blade's triangle.
    • The spot is very small, so massage your shoulders and shoulder blade until you find it.
    • You'll definitely know when you hit it because you should feel instant relief, no matter where your shoulder pain is located.[3][4]

Method 2
Massaging Someone Else

  1. 1
    Use the effleurage technique. Effleurage is a technique that uses the whole hand to lightly stroke and massage the back. It is best used with other techniques in order to relieve pain. When using effleurage:
    • Use your hand to lightly stroke the shoulder blade area.
    • Slowly increase the pressure you apply with your hand.
    • Make sure to warm the area up (with your hands) as you stroke.
    • Always move in an upward motion.
    • Try to cover and warm as much surface area as possible.[5]
  2. 2
    Knead in a circular fashion. After you’ve done effleurage, you should use your hands to knead the upper back area. Kneading the upper back in a circular fashion is a trusted massage and will help relieve pain and tense muscles.
    • Make sure not to pinch the person’s skin with your hands.
    • Make sure your previous massaging has warmed the person's skin before you start kneading.
    • Knead for up to five minutes.[6]
  3. 3
    Strip the shoulder blade. Stripping the shoulder blade is a great massage technique you can use to relieve muscular stress, tension, and reduce pain. It is also relatively simple and can be done quickly.
    • Have the person put one of their hands on their lower back. As a result, their shoulder blade should protrude.
    • Use your hand to pull the shoulder blade up more.
    • Take your other thumb and apply pressure with it under the shoulder blade.
    • Repeat up to ten times.[7]
  4. Image titled Massage Hands Step 1
    Massage the deltoids and surrounding area. Deltoids are the muscles that attach to the back and sides of the shoulders. Massaging the deltoids and the surrounding area is another great way to relieve muscular stress associated with the shoulder blades. This is a massage that you can do to someone relatively quick and with little preparation. Make sure to:
    • Take your thumb and use it to apply continual pressure on and under the shoulder blade.
    • Begin near the spine and move your thumb (applying pressure) toward the shoulder blade.
    • Use this technique up to 10 times.[8]

Method 3
Using Products to Massage Away the Pain

  1. 1
    Try creams and rubs to relieve shoulder blade pain. A wide variety of topical over-the-counter creams are available to help treat shoulder blade pain. These creams can be used before, during, or after a massage to help relieve pain.
    • Depending on the cream or rub, you may be able to rub it in throughout a massage.
    • Many popular creams and rubs include menthol, camphor, or other ingredients.
    • Make sure to follow directions printed on any product you use.[9]
  2. 2
    Experiment with essential oils. Essential oils can also be used in combination with a massage to offer relief to shoulder blade pain. To use essential oils, make sure to:
    • Apply 2 to 3 drops of oil to the shoulder blade area.
    • Massage after application.
    • Use an appropriate essential oil like wintergreen, frankincense, or chamomile.
    • Mix your essential oils with a carrier oil. Carrier oils are oils (like vegetable oil) that dilute essential oil and enable it to better spread out on your skin. Follow the directions on your carrier oil and essential oil bottles when mixing them.[10]
  3. 3
    Use medicated lotions for shoulder blade pain. Medicated lotions and other similar products are a great option for relieving shoulder blade pain. You or someone else can massage or rub these lotions into your shoulder blades and the surrounding area for pain relief. Try lotions containing:
    • Lidocaine.
    • Aspirin.
    • Benzocaine.
    • Other over-the-counter or prescription medicated lotions.[11]

Article Info

Categories: Spa Treatments & Massages