How Can You Get An Upper Back Pain Diagnosis
When you go to a doctor for your upper or mid back pain, youll start with a conversation. Expect the doctor to ask you about any events that may be directly responsible: A fall, a car accident, or any changes or increases to your fitness routine.
You might be asked to rank your pain on a scale of 0-10. You should also be prepared to talk about how your pain does, or does not, interfere with the activities of your daily life. Can you cook dinner, get dressed, take a shower?
Then comes the physical exam: the poking and prodding part of your visit. The doctor wants to see how your upper back pain affects your movement. Expect to sit, stand, reach, and bend in the exam room. After that, youre likely to get an X ray.
If symptoms persist or you have red flags such as a progressive weakness or bowel or bladder control problems, you may get more advanced testing, Dr. Knight says. He explains that MRI would be the likely choice.
Heres a look at several types of advanced testing for upper back pain.
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How You Are Built And Shoulder Blade Pain
The fourth possible cause of shoulder blade pain could be because of the way you are built.
Many of the things we interact with on a daily basis, are designed for people with a specific physical build. Some of us have arm and leg lengths that differ considerably from this standard.
You might have arms shorter than the standard arm length. That could be a noticeable disadvantage in todays world with, for example, armrests in cars or airplanes designed to accommodate the average person. If your upper arm doesnt fit into an average length, then armrests will be a little bit too low for you all the time. The same problem can occur with chairs in public spaces.
If you do not modify how you interact with standard size items, you could compromise your posture and, over time, this could lead to shoulder blade pain. The onus is on you to accommodate that difference.
Actions to Relieve Your Shoulder Blade Pain Caused by Your Unique Anatomy
Here are several actions you can take to adjust the world around you to your body build and relieve your shoulder blade pain:
- Strap pieces of foam on to your work chair so that your arm does not hang down while you work and compromise your posture.
- Set your car seat such that you maintain proper postural alignment while driving.
- Use something like a rolled sleeping bag as an armrest to relax your shoulders on long drives or plane rides.
Rear Shoulder Pain When Bench Pressing
Rear shoulder pain may be some of the most confusing shoulder pain when bench pressing out there. Mainly because- it doesnt make any sense. Why would your rear shoulders be hurting after benching?
The truth is, your back and rear shoulders are used far more in the bench press than you may have ever known.
There are two main reasons you will be experiencing rear shoulder pain when bench pressing.
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Physical Impairments Or Constraints On The Shoulder
The sixth possible cause of shoulder blade pain could be a physical impairment or external constraint that is affecting your shoulder.
Are there things that you are using on or around the muscles of the shoulders that could be causing you shoulder blade pain?
Examples of Physical Constraints that Cause Shoulder Blade Pain
Things that both women and men do and have can cause shoulder blade pain.
Women and Shoulder Blade Pain
For example, women who are large-breasted have to wear bras that are so tight that the straps sink into their upper trapezius.
For some people its bras, for other people it could be the backpack that they wear. Their backpack might not have the chest tie strap or the waist belt that helps to take the weight off of the shoulders.
Tight bras and backpacks can restrict blood flow to the muscles. The restriction can be very subtle but trigger points can cause eventual pain in the shoulder blade area.
Heavy purses can also be a cause of shoulder blade pain. Many women I see for Physical Therapy show up at my clinic carrying a heavy purse. They tell me they hardly have anything in the purse but somehow that purse ends up weighing four and five pounds! How can that happen?
Frequently, they carry the purse over the same shoulder, day in, day out. Even if they do a cross pattern carry , the purse is still too much weight carried through the shoulder.
Men and Shoulder Blade Pain
Actions to Relieve Your Shoulder Blade Pain Caused by Physical Restraints
Identify The Pain And Its Location
Unfortunately, shoulder pain when bench pressing is incredibly complicated.
It doesnt have a standard fix-all rule to get rid of the pain.
So, we need to first identify the pain and its location.
Pretend youre a doctor or detective and take some notes here.
- Where is the pain on your body? Is it in the front of your shoulder? The side?
- How strong is the pain?
- Does the pain change in levels?
- Does the pain get stronger or weaker as you move the bar?
- If so, where is the pain getting stronger or weaker?
While we want a comprehensive answer, if you cant get every detail- thats okay!
The main thing we are looking for is the location of the pain. This is the most important part of getting rid of your shoulder pain when bench pressing.
So try really hard to write down the location of the pain. Is it in the front part of your shoulder? Or the side of your shoulders? Is it in the back of your shoulders? Is it in multiple places?
That information is the KEY to figuring out the problem, but the other details can help if your problem isnt solved.
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Your Upper Back & Neck Posture Is Crucial
Considering that muscle imbalances and poor posture can result from sitting at a computer/looking at smart phones, lets discuss what happens when youre in this position typically, this is what happens:
Your Head will protrude forward Your shoulders will roll forwards Increased Kyphosis
Over time, this abnormal positioning can lead to certain muscles and ligaments being overused , while other muscles and ligaments become underused This can lead to pain.
How To Relieve Shoulder Pain From Sleeping Wrong 5 Ways
Suffering from severe neck and shoulder pain from sleeping wrong? Its a most common problem that many of the individuals are facing nowadays. They mostly start up their day with severe shoulder pain because of bad sleeping.
And today we will be going to discuss all of them and along with it, we will talk about its relief and the treatment.
Before heading forward, we need to understand or determine first what are the causes or the reason for getting this severe shoulder pain.
Also, people suffering from different types of shoulder pain, so lets discuss them first and then we will move ahead with shoulder pain relief and treatments.
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Calcific Tendonitis And Calcific Periarthritis
Sometimes pain, swelling and difficulty moving your shoulder is caused by calcium crystals that form insidea tendon. Tendons are the strong cords that attach muscles to bones.
We all need the mineral calcium in the body, as it helps make bones and teeth strong. But sometimes, if you have too much of it in the body, sharp, tiny, crystals can form in the wrong places.
If they form in tendons, this is called calcific tendonitis.
This can happen at various places around the body, including the shoulder.
Calcium crystals can then shed from a tendon and cause pain and swelling around a joint. This is called calcific periarthritis.
Steroid injections often work well to reduce swelling. Butsometimes the calcium deposits mayneed to be removed by keyhole surgery.
Apply Ice And/or Heat
Cold therapy, such as ice wrapped in cloth, can be applied to your back for about 10 to 20 minutes at a time, with at least a 2-hour break in between sessions. Heat therapy, such as a heating pad, is best used for 15 or 20 minutes per treatment, with no more than one treatment every 2 hours. To protect your skin, always include a layer between the ice or heat source and your skin. Try alternating between ice therapy and heat therapy to see which helps relieve your pain the most.
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How Long Will It Take To Fix The Pain Between The Shoulder Blades
It will take as long as it takes.
Persist with the recommended steps mentioned in this blog post over the next 4-6 weeks.
It has likely taken a long time for the Rhomboid Muscle Pain to develop, so it is going to take some time and effort to get rid of it as well.
It is better to fix this problem now rather than letting it become a bigger problem in the future.
Trigger Point Release In Between Shoulder Blades
How it helps:
The first thing you need to do is relieve the trigger points that may have formed in and around your shoulder blades. By using a massage ball you can find a tender spot and apply pressure in the exact spot that you feel pain.
How to do it:
- Begin lying on your back
- Place a massage ball in between the shoulder blades
- Once you find a tender spot, just hold the ball in that place and apply more pressure with your body weight.
- Hold the pressure on that spot for at least 30 seconds
- Find the next spot and repeat the same process
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Bone And Joint Issues
There are several potential bone or joint problems that can cause shoulder blade pain.
As the shoulder blade is a bone, it is possible for a person to experience a fracture. This is an unlikely occurrence in most cases, as it requires a fall, an accident, or a similar direct injury to the shoulder blade.
As a person ages, degenerative conditions may cause shoulder blade pain. Some of these conditions include:
More specifically, a type of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis is most common among people aged 2040. It is a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, but it can cause pain and inflammation to surrounding areas.
Light Shoulder Pain Relief Exercises
You can do some light shoulder exercise because exercising is one of the best solutions to every muscles pain of the body but remember you have to just do a light exercise. Dont ever try to put pressure on the affected tendon or the muscle as it can disturb the situation. Just stretch a little-bit the joints of your shoulder.
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Shoulder Blade Pain After Sleeping
Poor posture before bedtime can aggravate shoulder blade pain. Are you attentive to your posture when you look at TV or read a book the hours leading up to bedtime?
Equally, a poor posture in bed and before you nod off can be a source of the pain. Do you read in bed? If so, what was your position while you are lying in bed getting ready to fall asleep?
Finally, consider how you sleep and your sleep position. Several sleep positions that can be can be very compressive on the shoulder joint and cause shoulder blade pain:
- Incorrectly positioning your shoulders vis-à-vis your pillows.
- Tucking your shoulder underneath you.
- Tucking your arm underneath your head.
Actions to Relieve Your Shoulder Blade Pain Caused by Sleep Habits
I have a series of short videos on proper sleep position so you can better understand this issue. The first one, below, covers how a side sleeper can set up their pillows and bed to avoid neck and shoulder blade pain.
If you are a back sleeper, here are some tips on how to avoid shoulder blade pain in this sleeping position:
- Think about your sleeping position. Review the videos above on proper sleeping positions to see if you are compromising your shoulder position.
- What you were doing in the last few hours of the day? Were you attentive to your posture?
- Try modifying one thing at a time from the list above and see if that addresses your shoulder blade pain.
Try A Cross Arm Stretch Or Doorway Stretch
Jeff Parke, the owner of TopFitnessMag said, The Cross arm stretch and the doorway stretch are great exercises to help loosen the muscles before benching.
These are simple stretches that you can do without any equipment! Heres a video of the cross arm stretch.
And heres a video of the doorway stretch!
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What Kind Of Physical Therapist Do I Need
All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat snapping scapula syndrome. However, you may want to consider:
- A physical therapist who is experienced in treating people with orthopedic injuries. Some physical therapists have a practice with an orthopedic focus.
- A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist, or who completed a residency or fellowship in orthopedic or sports physical therapy. This physical therapist has advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that may apply to your condition.
You can find a physical therapist with these and other credentials by using Find a PT, an online tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association. Search for physical therapists by location and experience.
General tips when you’re looking for a physical therapist :
- Get recommendations from family, friends, or from other health care providers.
- When you contact a physical therapy clinic for an appointment, ask about the physical therapists’ experience in helping people who have your type of injury.
- During your first visit with the physical therapist, be prepared to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible, and say what makes your symptoms worse.
Try Out Cold Or Heat Therapy
Ice is a quick way to relieve pain. Wrap the ice or cooling device in a wet cloth before applying it to your skin. Apply the cold device for 15-20 minutes. Leave about 45 minutes between applications. Ice or cold reduces blood flow to the affected area. By doing so, inflammation and swelling may be reduced. As a result, you feel less pain.
Some individuals prefer heat over cold. Go with what feels best for you, or alternate between them. Heat, in particular, may offer relief, if your muscles feel tense. Heat promotes blood flow in the applied area and also causes the local muscles to relax.
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Can This Injury Or Condition Be Prevented
To help prevent a recurrence of the injury, your physical therapist may advise you to:
- Maintain upright posture and avoid slouching.
- Maintain the strength in your scapula and shoulder joint muscles.
- Use proper athletic techniques when performing sports that require overhead arm movements.
Stretch The Thoracic Spine
If your spine is used to being hunched forwards , your shoulder blade is going to be placed in poor position.
Stretching the thoracic spine into extension will help place these shoulder blade muscles in a better position to function.
- Using a rolled up towel or foam roller, place it in the middle of your thoracic spine .
- Whilst supporting your head with your hands behind your neck, roll your body weight onto the foam roller.
- Arch your thoracic area backwards.
- Do not arch your lower back!
For more exercises to loosen up the joints your thoracic spine, have a look at this post:
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Strengthening Exercises For Shoulder Pain
These are two examples of strengthening exercises that help prevent shoulder pain using little to no equipment.
- Fill a water bottle about Â¾ full
- Keeping your arm straight, hold the bottle in front of you at shoulder height for 30 to 60 seconds
- Switch arms, doing this 3 times on each side
- Lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. Put a pillow under your forehead if you need to
- Gently bring your shoulder blades together and toward your feet
- Relax your shoulders about halfway down and hold for 10 seconds
- Release your shoulders and repeat the exercise 10 times
You can also prevent neck and shoulder pain by working on your posture.
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Work On Your Overall Posture
Poor posture of your mid back can lead to a lack of range of motion of the shoulder more generally. This can cause pain while squatting if youre moving your shoulder into a position that it otherwise is not able to get into naturally.
The shoulder blade sits on top of the spine, so the shape of the mid-back can greatly impact its ability to do its job. In order for the shoulder to stabilize the arm properly, it has to glide on the upper back effectively. This requires a degree of extension in the mid back.
What this means is if you have poor posture, where youre mid back is rounded all of the time, then you can experience shoulder pain.
Poor posture can be caused by two reasons:
- Your posterior muscles are too weak.
- Your anterior muscles are too tight.
To correct weak posterior muscles, you can implement the same exercises that I mentioned for strengthening your stabilizers. In addition, you can add any barbell or dumbbell row variation.
To correct tight anterior muscles, here are two of my favorite exercises:
Shoulder Flexion Stretch With Band
Kneeling T-Spine Extension
Takeaway: program yourself a good dose of upper back strengthening exercises, as well a stretches that open up the front of your body to improve posture.
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