Day 6: Upper Back/Shoulder Triggerpoints

We are going to continue exploring treatments for the neck. Last time we used the thumbs and fingers to push into those spots of discomfort or tension along the head and neck. For this module, we are going to work our way down to the base of the neck, upper back and out to the shoulder.

These spots can cause a lot of issues in the neck, upper back or into the shoulder. When we see these next to the neck people usually have headaches along with some limited range of motion in the neck. As these move closer to the shoulder the problems they cause move with them.

When we treat people with these they will typically describe it as “it hurts good”, or “it’s productive pain”. These will often refer pain to behind the eye, around the ear or aggravate a headache (which usually means you found the culprit). It hurts, but you know it is helping you, and you can feel tension almost melting away as these things start to resolve.

To do this you will have to search around for just the right spot. These are usually located along the upper margin of the trapezius muscle. Dig your fingers, thumb or a lacrosse ball into this region to find the uncomfortable spots. Once you find the most uncomfortable spot apply slow pressure into it to your tolerance. You will likely have to hold this spot for up to a minute and sometimes longer to get some relief. Just be patient. I like to use a lacrosse ball on myself to do these. It saves my thumbs and i don’t have to put my arm and hand in weird positions if the spot happens to be in a spot where i have difficulty reaching.

The key is to hold constant pressure over time. You can do this on these areas of discomfort a couple times a day if needed.

*Caution: If you use a lacrosse ball or other tool to perform this, only do it once a day and not for more than 2-3 minutes. Firm pressure for longer time or multiple times a day may cause some bruising or aggravate the spot for several days (don’t ask me how I know this!)

*Caution: If you feel a pulse don’t push!!