Sunday, August 14, 2022

What Causes Muscle Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Don't Miss

Manage Your Back Pain And Improve Your Spinal Health At The Spine And Rehab Group

Acid reflux can cause chest and back pain, but it’s better to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Even if you have regular episodes of heartburn and history of GERD, any significant or different back pain should be checked so you can rule out any serious complications.

At the Spine And Rehab Group, we have extensive experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of any spinal-related injuries or back pain. As one of the leading providers of spinal care in New York, we pride ourselves on our commitment to excellent customer service and effective solutions. To learn more about our services and what we can do for your back pain, visit one of our clinics today.

How To Tell If The Pain Between Your Shoulder Blades Is A Warning Sign Of Cancer

Ad Blocker Detected


Many people throughout the world have to deal with back pain.

There are countless causes of this condition including every day stress, sitting down or standing up for hours at time.

The most common type of back pain is the lower back. However, sometimes we feel pain in our shoulders and rib cage, but do you know what does it mean?

Upper Back Pain

The region between the base of your neck and the bottom of your rib cage is considered as the upper back.

People who have experienced this kind of pain, describe it as sharp, dull and burning pain, or may not be accompanied by muscle tightness and stiffness.

This condition is often caused by:

  • A fracture of one of the vertebrae
  • Myofacsial pain that affects the connective tissue of a muscle or a group of muscles.
  • Overuse, muscle strain or injury to the muscles, ligaments and discs that support your spine.
  • Osteoarthritis caused by the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the small facet joints in the spine.
  • Poor posture
  • Pressure on the spinal nerves from certain problems, such as a herniated disc , which can be accompanied by pain radiating down the arms, as well as some numbness.

More alarming symptoms include:

  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Numbness or tingling in your arms, belly, chest or legs
  • Weakness in your arms or legs

Back Pain: An Unknown Cancer Symptom

If you experience lower back pain, it can be a sign of cancer of the ovary, colon or rectum that has metastazied into surrounding regions.

Trigger Point Therapy Using Self Massage Tool For Upper Back/shoulders

With the help of a massage hook,  you pinpoint the trigger points manually in your upper back and shoulder blades. While you’re standing, place the hook over your shoulder in the spot where your muscles are tight. Push your left arm a bit downwards to apply pressure in the area. Keep on the pressure until you feel the trigger point release – at least 30 seconds per spot should do it. Move the hook through the muscles surrounding your scapula and repeat the process. Do this to all the tender spots in this area.

Pain Between Shoulder Blades And Neck: Causes Symptoms And Treatment

Every time you turn around to see or pick something, you feel a piercing pain in your back. Also, you get a mild irritating sensation in your back and you are wondering what the hell is happening to your body.

Well, your body has been since long giving you signals of something is wrong with your body part, but you ignored it and now you are facing the sharp pain which is just not bearable.

Like a sharp razor feel there is tearing pain in your back and sometimes neck and shoulder. It feels like your muscles of your neck and back are twisting and the pain is getting unbearable.

You grab a pain killer and you feel okay for the time being, but again after some time, the pain returns. It is high time that you should listen to your body what it is telling you.

This kind of pain in the neck and shoulder blades pain is seen developing in both males and females.

With the correct medicine and guidance, this bad pain can be treated well at a time before it becomes worse for you.

Consider Shoulder Injections And Surgery For Severe Or Chronic Pain

Self Care

The prospect of both of these treatments may sound scary, but the vast majority of cases involving pain between shoulder blades can be effectively treated with less drastic options. In the unlikely event that you do end up needing these treatments, here is what you can expect.

Cortisone injections are used to reduce inflammation in an affected area, such as the shoulder joint. They therefore tend to be recommended in cases of arthritis or bursitis, since these conditions both involve inflammation of the joints. Steroids can also be taken orally.

While generally safe, cortisone can have serious side effects if administered improperly. You’ll want to discuss this option thoroughly with your doctor before deciding whether or not cortisone injections are right for you.

Surgery may be necessary if your shoulder blade pain does not abate, gets worse over an extended period of time, or occurs due to a severe injury. For example, in extreme cases of bursitis, your doctor may recommend removing the bursa all together.

Again, surgery and injections are both last resorts. Your doctor will typically suggest less radical, noninvasive treatments before considering either of them. If you do undergo shoulder injections or surgery, you’ll likely complement the procedures with other less-invasive options like physical therapy, heat/cold therapy, and exercise. And, by using surgeries or injections, some patients can truly get their lives back after suffering in pain for years.

Upper Back Pain Treatment: First Response: Ice And Heat Therapy

Early treatment is important to speed healing and recovery. Ice therapy for the first few days followed by moist heat can help relieve symptoms. Store-bought ice products, ice cubes, or simply a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel can be applied 20 minutes every 4-6 hours. Moist heat therapy can begin after 2-3 days of icing. To prevent burns, wrap the heat source in a towel, and remove heat before sleeping. Punctured store-bought packs should be discarded because the chemical gel can burn skin.

Possible Causes Of The Pain Between Shoulder Blades And Spine

There are many possible causes of pain that are felt in between the shoulder blades. Pain may be felt from conditions affecting the structures found in this area, or can instead be referred pain — pain that is felt in between the shoulder blades but emerges from another area. Some possible reasons for pain between the shoulder blades include:

Ways To Alleviate Pain In Your Upper Back And Shoulder Blades

There are exercise and stretching techniques that you can practice to deal with the pain in your upper back and shoulder blades. There are techniques that will give you temporary relief via self-massage and stretching for areas that are actually painful. There are also stretches and muscle activation that will help promote better posture. This is more of a long-term strategy. 

Pain Between Shoulder Blades: Causes Symptoms And Treatments

Experiencing some kind of pain between the shoulder blades may not seem like a very serious experience. You may have had a rough sleep that night or maybe worked out a bit too hard, so you immediately think that the pain must be a result of some kind of physical stress or activity.

Though it is possible for upper back pain between the shoulder blades to simply be related to muscles, there are instances when it can be much worse. Your facet joints could be swollen, you can have a herniated disc, or the pain in-between your shoulders could actually be something called biliary colic. If this is the case, it’s potentially very serious. A gallstone blocking one of your body’s bile ducts is what initiates the pain and leads to this condition.

Structures That Lie In The Area Between The Shoulder Blades

The space between the shoulder blades consists of multiple formations. Pain can derive from any of these structures and understanding where it is coming from is crucial for the process of treatment. Structures that lie in the area between the shoulder blades include:

  • Skin
  • Muscles: There are multiple muscles in this area including middle and lower trapezius and rhomboids muscles. Muscle strain is the most common cause of pain between the shoulder blades. Its symptoms include aching , soreness, and muscle inflammation.
  • The thoracic spine
  • Thoracic aorta: A segment of the aorta, the main artery of a human body that supplies oxygenated blood to the circulatory system. When the aorta gets ruptured, it causes a life-threatening situation. The symptoms accompanying thoracic aorta rupture include sharp and severe pain in the upper-middle back. If you experience this, calling and an emergency right away is mandatory, as surgery is required to fix a ruptured aorta.
  • Heart: Part of the heart is also located in the area between the shoulder blades. Pain deriving from the heart is often a symptom of a heart attack. If you experience shortness of breath and chest pain, call emergency immediately.
  • Part of the esophagus
  • A portion of the lungs

Pain between shoulder blades may start in any of these structures or may begin in other regions as nerves transmit pain signals.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Rhomboid Muscle Pain

The amount of time it takes to recover from rhomboid muscle pain will depend on how severe the strain is. Most mild strains will heal within three weeks. More serious strains can take several months to heal.

It’s important to avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting during recovery. Slowly return to your activities once you feel fully healed. Pay careful attention to how your body responds to activities after a period of rest. Notice if there’s any discomfort or pain, and respond accordingly.

See your doctor if you don’t see improvements. Physical therapy may be recommended for chronic strains.

There are steps you can take to prevent rhomboid muscle pain from happening in the future. Here are a few tips and guidelines:

  • Always warm up before a workout and cool down afterward.
  • Practice proper technique when playing sports.
  • Take a break from exercise and activities when you feel sore or tired.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects, and use proper form when you do.
  • Carry heavy backpacks on both shoulders, not one.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

How Do You Know If Theres Something Wrong With Your Lungs

What Are the Warning Signs of Lung Disease? Trouble breathing or shortness of breath: It’s not normal to have shortness of breath for no reason, or that doesn’t go away after exercise. Feeling like you’re not getting enough air: Labored breathing, when it’s hard to breath in and out, is a warning sign of trouble.

Can Pain Between Shoulder Blades Be Caused By Acid Reflux

Causes of Upper Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades ...

Acid reflux is a fairly common condition in the United States, with over 15 million Americans experiencing heartburn each day. While acid reflux has a variety of symptoms, it rarely progresses to anything an antacid can’t fix. But for serious cases of acid reflux, it can manifest in some extremely painful and difficult to manage symptoms, most of which aren’t typical of your usual episode of heartburn.

So can acid reflux cause symptoms like acute pain between your shoulder blades? It can, but it usually means it’s progressed beyond simple heartburn and into Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD. While it can require more treatment than acid reflux, the chest and back pain it causes can be managed.

When To See A Doctor For Pain Between The Shoulder Blades

You should take pain between the shoulder blades serious, particularly if the pain is unusual, moderate, or severe.

This way, you can err on the side of caution if it turns out to be a minor problem.

Pain accompanied by other symptoms is a strong indication that there may be an underlying, possibly life-threatening, the condition causing the pain.

Seek medical attention immediately if you have pain between your shoulder blades and one or more of these symptoms:

  • Pain or tightness in the chest, arms, neck, or jaw
  • Fever
  • Redness, swelling, or pain in your legs
  • Paralysis on the left or right side of your body
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Loss of consciousness

What To Do For Pain Between Shoulder Blades: 8 Treatments

There are numerous ways to treat pain between shoulder blades. These range from inexpensive at-home solutions to invasive treatments that require professional intervention. You should always talk with a doctor before starting any kind of treatment plan.

These are some of the more common treatments for upper back pain and shoulder blade pain that your doctor may recommend, or that you may wish to bring up to your doctor at your next appointment.

Above all, remember to be patient with yourself. Depending on the severity of your pain, it can take weeks or months for you to fully heal. Dealing with pain is tough, so don’t push yourself too hard, and ask for help and support when you need it.

Stretches For Upper Back Pain In Between Shoulder Blades

Almost everyone has experienced back pain at some point in their lives so it’s not surprising that you too may be dealing with upper back pain regularly, specifically in between your shoulder blades. There are causes of upper body or upper back pain – poor posture, cervical spine problems, and injury are the most common ones. Having pain near or under your shoulder blade may limit arm movement and interfere with your daily activities. Depending on the cause of your pain, this could be solved by doing some stretches.

So what are the stretches for upper back pain in between shoulder blades should you do in order to ease the discomfort and get some relief? The pain can range from achy or tender across the upper back and shoulder, or burning and sharp pain between the spine and shoulder. If the left and right shoulder pain are muscular in nature, there are several ways to approach shoulder blade pain relief and there are stretching techniques that can give you both short-term and long-term pain relief for tight muscle and pain. If the pain is caused by something else and radiates to other parts such as the chest muscle, it’s important to identify it and let your doctor take care of it.

Things That Can Cause Pain Between Your Shoulder Blades

Best Health

Whether it’s a dull ache or sharp spasm, pain between the shoulder blades can be a caused by a variety of things. It can be due to bad posture while staring at a computer screen all day, an exercise mishap, or an overuse injury.

Sometimes referred to as scapular pain—scapula is another name for your shoulder blade—it’s a common problem. According to a paper published in the Pain Research and Management, chronic shoulder pain affects about 19 percent of Canadian adults, with one half of those reporting chronic pain suffering for more than 10 years.

Here’s how to recognize this discomfort, know how to address it, and understand when to see a doctor.

How Can I Help Prevent Rhomboid Muscle Strain Or Spasm

Here are some of the things you can do to help prevent rhomboid muscle strain or spasm:

  • Do warm-up exercises and stretching before activities to help prevent injuries.
  • When you work at a computer, take frequent breaks to stretch your neck and back.
  • Follow safety rules and use any protective equipment recommended for your work or sport.


Pain Between Your Shoulder Blades: Not A Poking Matter

In Neck Pain, Physical Therapy, Shoulder Pain by Seth Peterson, Physical Therapist Oro ValleyAugust 11, 2019

It can feel like squeezing, a dull ache, or like a hot poker getting driven into the area next to your shoulder blades.  It can make it hard to breathe, hard to back the car up in the driveway, or make sitting almost unbearable.  It’s effects are clear—but the cause isn’t so easy to determine. 

As a physical therapist, I often see patients who have struggled with this for months thinking it was a pulled muscle.  Doctor Google, massage therapists, or a well-meaning spouse pushing on the area was often cited as evidence.  If you reference anatomy charts, you’ll see that this area of the spine has several layers of muscle.  There are deep spinal muscles, muscles along the spinal column called the erector spinae, and groups of muscles that pull the shoulder blades together .  However, similar to other areas in our body, you can’t always tell what’s causing the pain by pushing.  It’s true that this type of pain really isn’t a “poking” matter.  

So what DOES cause pain in the shoulder blade area?  Above is an infographic of the referral patterns of some of the joints and discs in the neck and thoracic spine.  As you can see, all of the above structures can cause referred pain and tenderness between the shoulder blades.  While touching an area in pain can be part of coming to a diagnosis, it clearly shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on. 

Recent Posts

Costotransverse Joints & Pain Between Shoulder Blades

A 2008 study in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders showed pain patterns between the shoulder blades of the costotransverse joints, which articulate the thoracic spine and the ribs. The point space is surrounded by an articular capsule and ligaments which limit mobility to gliding motions. It is bounded rib tubercle and thoracic transverse process, and is further limited by the close biomechanical relationship between the costotransverse and costovertebral joints. Pain usually responds to manipulation and exercise.

It Feels Like My Shoulder Blades Are Stuck To My Back

Causes Of Pain Between Your Shoulder Blade And Spine

The main purposes of a shoulder blade is to attach the back of the body to the front – a strut. Functionally, the scapula’s purpose is to move the arm.

When you lift your arm, the top of the shoulder blade should rotate toward the spinewhile the bottom of the shoulder blade should rotate away from the spine. This motion is called SCAPTION – an abbreviation for Scapular Plane Elevation.

The three muscles responsible for this action are: The trapezius, the levator scapula and the rhomboids. They get tight and trigger points form.  

When these muscles get tight, they pull the shoulder blade forward INtoward the chest not allowing for proper motion of either the shoulder blade or the arm.

Given their location and function you can see how all three muscles cause pain.

Sitting at a computer for hours every day, constantly looking down at your mobile device cause the muscles to thin and weaken. They respond by building muscle knots for stability. The root cause is inflexibility of the thoracic spine. Lost is the NORMAL give-and- take motion in the back.




How can I tell if this is my problem?

Raise one arm overhead, level with your ear . If you can’t straighten your arm completely or if your pain increases, INCLUDING PAIN IN YOUR SHOULDER, chances are you have lost some of your scaption.

Chronic Shoulder Pain Treatment Or Arm Pain Treatment

Through years of experience, we’ve figured out that good and long-lasting chronic shoulder pain and arm pain relief doesn’t work unless all bases are covered.

The best pain management combines pain-reducing treatments with selected therapies like physical and psychological rehabilitation treatment.


  • Medications to reduce the pain

  • These may be simple over the counter medications or can be medications prescribed by your pain specialist. Medications might include muscle relaxants or nerve pain medications . Sometimes analgesic compound creams are used to ease pain.

  • Pain interventions

  • Injection therapies can be used to target, diagnose and manage chronic pain caused by muscle, joint and nerve pain.

  • It includes interventional therapies like nerve blocks radiofrequency ablation , pulsed radiofrequency and epidural and nerve root steroid injections. Sympathetic nerve blocks can also be performed.

  • Some of these therapies can be focused on various structures that might be causing or making the pain worse like the glenohumoral joint, the acromio-clavicular joint, the subacromial bursae, muscle trigger points, the brachial plexus, the spinal nerve roots and other nerves around the shoulder. Platelet-rich plasma can also be used in some locations around this area.

  • Nerve stimulation or neuromodulation techniques

  • Surgery

  • Rehabilitation


    Warning Signs Of More Serious Arm & Shoulder Problems

    In some instances, shoulder pain and arm pain can indicate more serious problems. These problems might include cancer, fractures, infection, severe nerve compression and ankylosis spondylitis. 

    • If there is cancer in the bones of the spine, this usually means metastases .

    • Fractures of the spine can be caused by a direct hit, fall, accident but sometimes can occur without trauma, called spontaneous fractures. Spontaneous fractures, usually can occur in elderly people with osteoporosis or those who may be taking steroid medications that weaken the bone.

    • Infections of the spine tend to occur if patients have a weakened immune system from any cause or medical condition. Sometimes infections of the spine can occur if there is an infection elsewhere in the body. People with spinal infections usually feel unwell and can have sweats and a fever.

    • Nerve compression, called myelopathy, where there is a dangerous compression of the spinal cord in the neck. Myelopathy could cause symptoms that might include, weakness or problems with coordination in the arms, hands, legs, or even feet.

    • Ankylosing spondylitis is progressive arthritis of the spine and can cause widespread inflammation, pain and stiffness throughout the spine.

    Seek urgent and specialist medical advice if:

    How Do You Relieve Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades

    Relieving the Pain Under Your Shoulder Blade Rest your upper back from activity. If your pain worsens when you do certain movements or physical activities, such as household chores or exercise, rest for a day or two. Apply ice and/or heat. Take over-the-counter medication. Massage it out. Visit a health care provider.

    Can Heartburn Cause Pain Between The Shoulder Blades

    When stomach acid makes its way back into the esophagus, it can cause an intense burning in the chest. In some cases, a dull, aching pain can also radiate down from the neck and in between the shoulder blades. You can alleviate symptoms of acid reflux by avoiding spicy, fatty, or acidic foods, such as garlic, onions, tomatoes. Coffee and tea also have a high acid content that can trigger heartburn.

    Sleeping on an incline can help reduce acid reflux at night so your sleep is not interrupted. You can do this by using a wedge pillow or an adjustable bed frame.

    Pain Between Shoulder Blades: Causes And Treatments

    Shoulder blade pain, also called interscapular pain, is common, though the cause ranges widely, from minor tweaks to medical emergencies. Shoulder pain is characterized by dull, aching, burning, or shooting…

    Typically, shoulder blade pain is mild and goes away on its own, however, certain conditions potentially cause chronic or severe shoulder pain. This article discusses the numerous causes of shoulder pain, possible treatment options, and how you can prevent future shoulder pain.

    Shop Our Mattresses

    Treatment For Pain Between Shoulder Blade And Spine

    Treatment of your pain will depend on the underlying reason for your symptoms. In order to get rid of pain you are experiencing between you carry blades, it’s extremely crucial to first figure out the exact cause.

    When pain in between the shoulder blades is because of muscular causes it can be challenging to deal with, but various kinds of nerve obstructs done under ultrasound guidance have actually revealed considerable promise recently.

    Signs And Symptoms Of Pain Between Shoulder Blades

    As mentioned, the specific nature of back pain between the shoulder blades makes it something that should not be ignored. We’ve outlined some of the possible outcomes of what that pain might entail, and all of those require you to take more action than just “taking it easy.” Below are some of the more common symptoms of back pain between the shoulder blades that you should be aware. Any of these by themselves or in conjunction means you should at the least consult with a doctor or medical professional.

    • Chronic pain that lasts for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. That should not be seen as normal.
    • Any sharp explosions of pain in the area.
    • If the pain starts out in-between your shoulder blades, then extends out to other areas of your back and even your arms, there’s probably an issue.
    • Almost stabbing-like pain in-between the shoulder blades is another indicator.
    • Lingering pain that stays with you throughout the day, every day.

    Again, either of these symptoms are not to be taken lightly. Better to find out what’s wrong early rather than wait till the condition worsens. Know the signs and act on them immediately.

    More articles

    Popular Articles