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Back muscle inside shoulderblade?
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By Zane Dordai
Feb 7, 2012

I was hoping someone knew a bit more than me about this. At the beginning of january I pulled what felt like my "upper right trapezius" muscle under my right shoulder blade. Since then, I've gone on an outdoor climbing trip and took about 6 days off after that. I came back to climbing to find that it was still hurting. The best was i can describe it is a soreness which hurts more as I try to push my shoulder blade into it (obviously, it seems) by pulling my elbow at a right angle back behind my body. It doesn't seem to hurt much when I climb except on really powerful lockoffs, and even then I tend to not notice it. It is more of a post climbing soreness that worsens as I take time off to a point, then starts getting a bit better.

Has anyone experienced anything like this? I'm thinking its just a sore muscle that has been aggravated...anyone know how much time I should be taking off to let something like this recover? i'd say pain scale at the most painful and tender points is maybe a 5, but only when I aggravate it...


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 7, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

the trapezius muscle runs over the shoulder blade and is actually very big. Where exactly does it hurt?


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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
Feb 7, 2012
Me, of course

Probably your teres minor. Ice/hydrotherapy and a month or two off should do it.


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By JohnJ80302
From Boulder, Colorado
Feb 7, 2012

Sounds like you have experienced a muscle injury/tear. What tends to happen is that the injury site and all the muscles surrounding it will inflame to reduce mobility in an attempt to help protect this injury and allow it to heal. But the bad thing is the inflammation often won't go away on its own, and reduces circulation to the affected area.

I would get a deep tissue massage, and you need a massage therapist to literally take their elbow and work through the knotted muscles to break up the scar tissue that forms around an injury. This will be painful work, but it will help release the inflammation. You may be bruised in that area afterward, but it will help it to heal over the course of a week or so. Best of luck.


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Feb 7, 2012
Me and Spearhead

If it was an injury to the Trap, or any posterior rotator cuff musculature it wasn't serious. Muscles will heal extremely fast and it sounds like you've been able to climb pretty hard on it with relatively no pain.
The Thoracic spine is intimately linked w/ shoulder function, and almost every climber I work on has some sort of soft tissue problem going on in the muscles supporting the thoracic spine.

The easiest do it yourself fix would be to get a foam roller, lacrosse ball or theracane and go hunt around the area between your spine and the involved shoulder blade to see if you can find any painful trigger points and work on them. If you can get these areas to loosen up then a lot of times using the roller will get the costovertebral joints to cavitate and go back to their neutral position. I'm guessing that you pulled on the Thoracic spine and ribs in the area and have a trigger point in a muscle because the associated rib is pissed from being torque on back at the beginning of Jan.

The quickest way would be to go get some body work done and let a professional hunt down the offending problem and take care of it.
Hope that helps,
BA


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By Zane Dordai
Feb 7, 2012

I have been bouldering fairly hard on it, so I am honestly surprised it hasn't gotten horrible. The injury is located to the left of my right shoulderblade, if looking directly at my back, between my shoulderblade and spine. there are some tender points in near the spine, so the thoracic spine would make sense. ill try massage and rest and see how that works.


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By Terry Fisher
Feb 7, 2012
Me on a problem at Horsetoote Resevoir

I had something very similar happen a few months ago. Had a deep tissue massage, nothing. Went to a chiro, nothing. Was told that rolling around with a lacrosse ball under the area and using body weight for pressure would work. After a week or two of excruciating pain while doing this it finally loosened up and started feeling better! So +1 for the lacrosse ball idea!


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By Zane Dordai
Feb 21, 2012

Thanks for all the replies. I've been using the lacrosse ball and getting back massages from my friend who climbs v hard and has the necessary resulting hand strength to work the knots out of my back. Despite my severely lowered training volume (almost nothing, climbing maybe twice a week) it doesn't seem to be getting much better, or better past a certain point. I've got a big trip scheduled to the Red River Gorge (or Bishop, but that seems optimistic...) in four weeks. It looks like I need to completely rest until it gets totally better. Another identifying characteristic is that when i point my forearms toward the sky and keep my elbows at a right angle, pals facing away from me, and try to pull my elbows back past my torso my back cracks in the upper section where it hurts. Feels as if I can "pinch" the affected muscle between my shoulder blade and spine, but it also feels as if it might be moving my spine out of position. Does anyone have prior experience with this injury with some sort of diagnosis? Anyone know what it could be exacerbated by? I have found that I am not the only climber with this muscular issue...


Thanks again!


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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
Feb 21, 2012
Bunny pancake

Evan S wrote:
Probably your teres minor. Ice/hydrotherapy and a month or two off should do it.


Sounds like it is more inside his scapula than outside where the minor would be.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teres_major_muscle

This is a complex area with the scapula muscles and trap muscles intersecting. It sounds more like a rhomboid problem:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhomboid_major_muscle

Regardless, the same advice would apply. Rest, ice, massage.repeat.


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By Zane Dordai
Apr 2, 2012

A bit of an update here. My problem has not completely resolved itself, even with weeks of rest (one week, couple days on, then another week of total rest). The back cracking has gotten more audible and frequent and seems to make the problem less painful. I have been using the lacrosse ball twice a day for a few minutes for about two months now and have seen marginal improvement (I can climb with zero pain, it hurts after climbing).

I now would like the most accurate diagnosis of the problem that I can get. Because it is muscular, I couldn't exactly think of the best way to go about finding a doctor. Does anyone know of a good doctor in/around the Colorado Springs area that could diagnose this problem?


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By SMR
Apr 3, 2012

The shoulder is complex and it is possible to have an injury in one area that is referring pain to another. I have had re-occuring shoulder issue for 5 years; however, my pain was in the shoulder/deltoid. I tried all types of tissue work, chiro, accupuncture and my advise is to find someone who specializes in ART - Active Release Technique (www.activerelease.com).

If you don't like the first person you see and have no improvement after 3 sesssions, find someone else.

Also, keep doing the foam roller/ball.


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 4, 2012
Duck face with Largo

Zane Dordai wrote:
Because it is muscular, I couldn't exactly think of the best way to go about finding a doctor.


Docs don't know about or treat muscles? Sure they do. Find a general orthopedic surgeon, preferably with a sports medicine sub-specialty. They will have a better grasp of your problem than a family practitioner or other GP.

If you have no insurance and are paying out of pocket directly, you might as well go directly to a physical therapist instead.


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By eric berghorn
From Calistoga,CA
Apr 4, 2012
Personal Photo

I've tried to carefully dissect these posts since I experienced a similar injury. Like SMR stated the shoulder is complex and injury to one region can cause pain in another region. In my case the "pain" was caused by atrophy of the "upper right side trapezius" muscle." Symptoms were basically a constant dull ache in the location of the upper right trapezius and progressive weakness in my ability raise the right shoulder (at 90 degree angle).

This went on for well over a year before finally being referred a proper Sport's Medicine specialist, getting an MRI, and ulitmate referral to a skilled orthopedic surgeon who was also shoulder specialist. I was lucky to have insurance since no amount of massage or therapy seemed to improve my situation. Surgically repearing the diagnosed "slap tear" to the right shoulder arthroscopically, and diligently performing rehab allowed the atrophied "trap" to build strength back to 100% and become pain free. My shoulder strength also returned to pre-injury levels after a long rehab. (Approx.one year for full recovery.)

In the long run the surgery was the right decision for me. It was hard knowing the rehab and healing could not be rushed less I re-injure the shoulder. Not being able to climb or work out the right shoulder except in small increments (aka No climbing, No pull ups for six months, etc. nor any other type of heavy weight training to the right arm/shoulder) was tough. Not being able to use my right arm to do anything initially was a pain in the ass. No writing down anything, no flossing your teeth, tying my shoelaces, driving a stick shift, etc. Little things taken for granted. I was out of work for well over two months since my job required lifting.

Not saying this is exactly what you should do. This process could easily cost over $20,000 if w/o insurance. Just trying to save you some time figuring out what to do if you don't see improvement.


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By James I.
Apr 10, 2012

Hi Zane,
I'm a massage therapist and the suggestions given have all been good ones, I was wondering if you ever feel any arm pain? or any neck pain? or if the pain stays locally between your shoulder blade and spine.
Also I was wondering you have any limitation or pain when you rotate your spine to the left or right (i.e. turning your torso to look behind you).
In my opinion it definitely sounds muscular (as rest has not helped) and could be one of a few muscles (multifidi, rotatores, levator scapula are some that haven't been mentioned that come to mind). let me know about the above questions and I can continue to help.
Also in terms of massage, in my opinion it's not so much about massaging really hard into the muscle, but finding the right muscle to massage. In terms of self massage this means finding the muscle that is the most hypersensitive (indicating pathology). In other words problematic muscle shouldn't take a lot to be painful. Hope that helps and good luck!

James


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By KDog
Apr 10, 2012

About 9 weeks ago I tore part of my left trapezius and left rhomboid climbing. I was in terrible pain for about the 1st 3-4 weeks (where I pretty much couldnt move my neck/back/shoulders at all.) I am finally beginning to feel better, however I can still feel a dull pain, thus I haven't attempted to go climbing yet. It sounds like your issue could be a your rhomboid as well (mine was torn directly left of my spine, between my spine and shoulder blade.)

From personal experience (although I'm not a doctor), most likely the PT/doc will tell you to REST, ice it, massage and do gentle relaxation exercises. There's not much else you can really do, unless you think it's something more serious. If I were you I'd hold off on climbing until it's better. I know, it sucks :( Good luck!!!


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By Chad F
From Costa Mesa, CA
Apr 10, 2012
photo

I have am similar injury right now. It came out of nowhere.
One morning I woke up and couldn't move my neck at all (didn't climb the previous 2 days so its hard to relate it directly to climbing) This is in conjnction with the pain on the inside of the shoulder blade

I went to a chiro for a month and I improved. I could move my neck to almost normal range of motion with a few therapy sessions. However the problem still persists between my spine and shoulder blade on my right side. There is a dull pain there almost 100% of the time. Every few days this effects my neck and it tightens up. I tried not climbing for awhile and I didn't notice any improvement so at the moment I am just climbing/suffering.


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By Zane Dordai
Apr 10, 2012

James I. wrote:
Hi Zane, I'm a massage therapist and the suggestions given have all been good ones, I was wondering if you ever feel any arm pain? or any neck pain? or if the pain stays locally between your shoulder blade and spine. Also I was wondering you have any limitation or pain when you rotate your spine to the left or right (i.e. turning your torso to look behind you). In my opinion it definitely sounds muscular (as rest has not helped) and could be one of a few muscles (multifidi, rotatores, levator scapula are some that haven't been mentioned that come to mind). let me know about the above questions and I can continue to help. Also in terms of massage, in my opinion it's not so much about massaging really hard into the muscle, but finding the right muscle to massage. In terms of self massage this means finding the muscle that is the most hypersensitive (indicating pathology). In other words problematic muscle shouldn't take a lot to be painful. Hope that helps and good luck! James



Rotating my spine to the right does cause some pain and audible "cracking" in the affected area (area between top of shoulder blade and spine and few cms below that). The way in which I "crack" my back is by putting my right arm at a right angle and bicep parallel with my collarbone, forearm perpendicular, palm facing away. By pulling my elbow back behind my bac in this position my shoulder blade feels like it is pressing into the affected area. There is some neck pain occasionally but very little. The cracking seems to be the oddest symptom and with the lacrosse ball I find the tightest spots to be high in the intersection between the shoulder blade and spine and further right more towards the shoulder blade, as well as the muscle extending across the gap between the shoulder blade and spine.


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By James I.
Apr 11, 2012

Hi Zane,
What about any arm pain? Does your neck hurt ever? If you take your right ear to your right shoulder is there pain? Your left ear to your left shoulder?
Sorry about all the questions. In regard to cracking, it is usually not very helpful except the instant gratification and it is usually not harmful, unleas there is pain when it cracks.

James


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By Zane Dordai
Apr 11, 2012

Right ear to right shoulder while turning means pain in the problem area. Rarely ever, if any neck pain.


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By David Joslin
Jul 8, 2012
Dragonfly Creek, February 2012

Last year I tore my Rhombus muscle - I am still going to therapy for it. Time off helps, ice and OMT is my regimen. I thought I tore my trap at first but after three Dr's and Physical Therapy = Rhombus!


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