Illustration of Scapula

Headaches, neck pain and shoulder discomfort frequently arise from a common source; improper placement of the scapula or shoulder blades.   Our previous blog described the impact of scapula placement on the brachial plexus and explained how an elevated scapula creates tension and stress in the human system. Now, finally, as promised, this article will detail self-care techniques to resolve these issues.

At Dorfman Kinesiology we utilize 3 main tools to help patients feel better forever. The first is biomechanic adjustment.   With regard to the scapula, improper placement is common, yet making the correct adjustment is easy.   Simply bring the shoulder blades down and back. This movement will facilitate an opening in the chest.  Find that opening.   This is the best position for the scapula bones. And it makes an immediate difference by removing pressure on the brachial plexus, which is a bundle of nerves located in between the neck and the shoulders. These nerves branch out through the arms to each hand, as well as up into the neck and head.   Pressure on the nerve leads to tension and discomfort where ever that nerve leads.   Removing the pressure allows the tension to naturally subside.

The second tool is massage, which is also very helpful in relieving tension. While a massage in our office with a trained therapist can go a long way toward relieving pain and discomfort, you can create these same effects on your own.  Self-massage is a great way to release the tight muscles of the scapula region at home or in the office. I really like the Dual Point Massager by SKLZ for self-massage in the brachial plexus region.  A tennis ball can also do the trick.   Simply position the Massager or ball between your body and a relatively hard surface, like a chair a wall or the floor. When sitting or lying down, place the ball behind the shoulder area and apply the right amount of pressure. The sensation should be strong and satisfying, a “good pain” feeling. If you are wincing or gritting your teeth, you need to back off. Once you have adjusted yourself to achieve the right pressure, relax as much as possible, breath deeply and wait for the sensation to fade. Then move to the next area and repeat.

Stretching is the third tool we use for addressing tension in the shoulder area.  Check out this video for a demonstration of a few simple, yet effective stretches that help to reposition the scapula bone and release built-up tension.

Take care of yourself by taking care of your brachial plexus. Your attention to this vital area will have a major impact on your overall experience of health and well-being. Stay aware of your shoulder placement throughout the day and make the necessary adjustments. Relieve tension with a self-massage and some stretching. These simple steps to de-stress your system will put you on the path to feeling better forever.