At the top and inside corner of the shoulder blades lie "the American points," nicknamed by physical therapists because these nasty nuggets of tightened muscle tissue occur in so many of us. Why does so much tension gather there? Posture. Whether we're siting in front of a computer screen or standing over our phones, we have a tendency to drift our head forward rather than keep it stacked over our shoulders, says Simanksy. In this position, upper-back muscles that are accustomed to only moving the shoulder blade are now responsible for holding the head up. The result is tight, irritated tissues. This ball mash will work them out:
Try it: Lie on the floor and place a small ball — lacrosse, tennis, or mobility ball — between your shoulder blades. Shimmy your body to position the ball on the inside boarder of one of your shoulder blades. Cross your arms in a hug in front of you to separate your shoulder blades and dig the ball into and under your shoulder blade. Move your body around to mash the ball into the tightest areas, and hold pressure there for 30 seconds each. Continue for at least 2 minutes, and switch sides.