The scapula, commonly known as the shoulder blade, is the small triangular bone of the shoulder. Seventeen different muscles attach to the scapula and it articulates with the humerus (upper arm bone) and the clavicle (collar bone), it has six different actions-elevation, depression, retraction, protraction, and upward and downward rotation.
If the scapula is hindered in any way it can lead to a variety of pains. In some cases the pain may be localized to the shoulder blade itself, bit in more severe case the pain can radiate down the back, down the arm, and even into the neck which can in turn effect the jaw and ear. As I always say to my clients, nothing happens in isolation. If one part of the body is out of optimal function, somewhere else down the line will also suffer.
When assessing my clients, I like to see how the shoulders are moving-quality of movement, range of movement, restriction of movement, and if there is any compensation in order to complete the movement. Do both shoulders move the same, have the same range or is there some disfunction that could be improved by getting the musculature to relax and the scapula to move freely?
Freeing up the scapula can be painful-sometimes the best entry point is through the armpit-but the relief it brings is amazing.