Deep Pain Below Scapulae and Near the Spine

It's our seated lifestyle, and not an injury or trauma, that usually causes pain in this area. Many people are susceptible to tension and pain between and below their shoulder blades. It's especially common in women, so much so that I call this area "the bra line point."

Almost every client feels very sore and sensitive around this point in the back, right across the bra straps, even if you do not wear a bra. The same applies to men. Being heavier, or stronger and tighter, in the chest seems to exacerbate this tension and pain. 

It makes sense. When we sit a lot, this area in the mid-back gets overstretched and weakened. You may feel especially tight in this spot after a long flight. 

The muscles involved are the deep para-spinal muscles, the Erector Spinae, the Multifidus and Rotatores, as well as the ribcage muscles, the Intercostals. Tension in more superficial layers of muscles (Rhomboids, Trapezius, and Lats) compounds the problem. 

The best way to get rid of pain in this area

Neuromuscular Therapy is the way to go (NMT). 

Unless the problem is structural and requires a change in the alignment of the ribs, NMT works wonders to release chronic muscle spasms, free up nerve impingements, and restore proper blood flow to the area. 

This area, below the shoulder blades, does not receive a lot of blood supply, and chronic tension develops over time. 

Ideally your massage therapist will take their time to slowly melt through the superficial layers to address these deep muscles. This work is slow and best done with elbows for long slow compressions, followed by thumb work for specific trigger points release. 


1. Be aware of your posture when you sit for long periods of time. Cue yourself to elongate the spine, and squeeze the shoulder blades together and pull them down.

2. Yes, you can simulate some deep tissue and NMT compressions with such tools as tennis balls, or grid rollers. 

3. Strengthen your back muscles. 

4. Mobilize your ribcage - practice expanding your ribcage with deep breaths. 

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