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How To Fix Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades

When To Call Your Doctor Or 911

How to Fix Muscle Pain Between Your Shoulder Blades for Good

Some of the causes of pain between the shoulder blades are serious and can be life-threatening.

If your symptoms are accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, or even if you just have a “gut feeling” that something bad is happening in your body, call 911 right away. Don’t wait. Many of the serious causes of pain between the shoulders require urgent medical treatment.

How To Fix Upper Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Now that you are aware of the main causes, you should know that certain applications at home can ameliorate such unpleasant episodes. You can fix upper back pain between shoulder blades without even seeing a doctor. There are home remedies that you can add into your daily routine without any major interruptions. Most of them are based on performing the right types of exercises. So, what kind of physical activity do you need?

What Conditions And Disorders Affect The Trapezius

Injuries that affect how the traps works include:

  • Muscle strains: Due to an accident, rigorous exercise or overuse, the traps muscle can stretch too far or tear. This common injury can lead to muscle cramps or muscle spasms. Back strains and back spasms can affect the traps muscles or any muscles in the lower back.
  • Nerve damage: If the nerve that controls the trapezius gets injured, the trapezius muscle may not work as it should. Though uncommon, this type of injury can result from neck surgery . Nerve damage can cause muscle weakness. In severe cases, the entire traps muscle can be paralyzed.
  • Tightness and pain: Poor posture, such as sitting at a desk with hunched shoulders for long periods of time, can cause tightness in the traps. People who sit at a computer for several hours a day have a higher risk of chronic pain in the neck and shoulders. Headaches can result from tension in the shoulders, especially if tight muscles put pressure on the nerve that controls the trapezius.

Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Cramps In Lower Back

Consider Shoulder Injections And Surgery For Severe Or Chronic Pain

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. Youll 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, youll 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.

Poses To Eliminate Pain In Between The Shoulder Blades

Exercises To Relieve Shoulder Blade Pain

The most common cause of pain in between the shoulder blades is rounding your upper back, repeatedly and for long periods of time. This can happen at work, while driving or even as you type on your smartphone. And when you combine this with specialisation in just one or two athletic disciplines, you run the risk of exacerbating the stress and the pain as a result.

If youre a cyclist or mountain biker, you spend long periods of time rounded over your handlebars. Surfers, swimmers and weightlifters put considerable stress through their shoulders and upper back. And for runners, the torso remains relatively immobile, which can contribute to the tension. In this article, Ill give you 3 poses that you can start practicing today to reduce or hopefully, eliminate the pain.

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How To Fix A Knot In Your Back

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If you have any kind of job that involves staying in a sitting position for long periods of time, then chances are you have experienced the “knot”, a muscle tension that feels like its sitting right under your shoulder blade, making it achy, burning and sore. You try to take a break and move around, but it doesn’t budge.

When you go home, you ask someone to try to massage the sensitive area, but they can’t find the right spot. You take a hot bath, maybe some Advil, but you can still feel it. You dread the next work day because you know the knot will be coming to work with you tomorrow.

Am I describing something youve experienced? If so, I have some remedies for you.

Understanding the knot: what is it?

There are a number of areas in the upper back that can become sore and irritated, but the one I am referring to involves trigger points in the rhomboid muscles. They lie between the shoulder blades and can become overstretched in postures that round the shoulders forward. Excessive sitting at a computer can tire out these muscles and they respond by becoming tight and developing trigger points .

Can I prevent it?

Yes! I’m sure youve been told this before, but it works: get moving! Static postures are not natural for the body. If you can take breaks, do so. Postural strengthening can also be an important tool to prevent rhomboid pain.

Ok, I have pain. What can I do?

Next, try this:

Does Anxiety Cause Back Pain

Adults tend to carry stress in their shoulders. When we are anxious, these muscles tense and put pressure on the back, which can lead to pain. Feelings of emotional stress often lead to chronic pain in the shoulder blades. This is because emotional anxiety often affects the nerves and muscles that run through the neck and upper back. Anxiety or psychological stress has a profound impact on a persons physical symptoms, says Dr. Bhavik Sheth, Physical Therapist. It is very common for neck and shoulder pain to be worse at times of high stress, and less symptomatic at times of leisure or pleasure.

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What Types Of Back Surgery Might You Need

Needing upper back surgery is rare, but if you do need it, you have options. These are some of the most common procedures for thoracic spine injury.

  • Kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty: To repair compression fractures due to osteoporosis, your doctor will inject a glue-like bone cement.
  • Spinal laminectomy/spinal decompression. If you have spinal stenosis , your surgeon may remove bony walls of the vertebrae to ease pressure on the nerves.
  • Microdiscectomy. When a disc bulges and presses on a nerve, microdiscectomy minimally invasive removal of a disc is the gold standard procedure.

The success of your treatment, at least in terms of pain relief, may depend on whats causing your upper and mid back pain.

The not-so-good news: Some people will never be pain free.

If you have a condition that leads to chronic pain for instance, fibromyalgia or spinal stenosis its important to manage expectations for relief, says University of Washington pain control expert David R. Patterson, PhD.

The truth is that most chronic pain does not have a cure. You can only manage it, says Dr. Patterson That could mean a combination approach to therapy: body as well as mind .

Perhaps the best news of all is that most back pain gets better on its own, even if you do nothing but exercise patience.

Anatomy: Merck Manual. Injuries of the Spinal Cord and Vetrebrae.

Can Heartburn Cause Pain Between The Shoulder Blades

Fix Shoulder Blade Pain in 30 SECONDS

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.

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Learn More About Chiropractic Care

Be sure to talk with your doctor before making an appointment with a chiropractor. Once you get the okay, you can begin researching chiropractors in your area. Your doctor may even refer you to someone.

A chiropractor can manipulate the joints that are bothering you, potentially providing much-needed pain relief. While there is not yet strong evidence to show chiropractic is effective in cases of shoulder pain, it is considered safe so long as the chiropractor has the proper training and experience. For some types of pain, this can be a helpful and noninvasive therapy to relieve pain.

Causes Of Back Pain Between Shoulders

There are several reasons for pain between your shoulder blades. Mild or heavy injury to your tendon or muscle is the primary reason for upper back pain. Muscle strain is the result of:

Poor Posture

Poor posture is the common cause of pain between the shoulder blades. How you sit and stand can promote either back pain or strong back muscles. Bad posture is usually due to:

  • sitting for an extended period
  • using a chair without back support
  • leaning over a desktop or laptop
  • leg crossing

Your position while doing these things could result in mild to severe pain in the middle back. To manage the pain, you need to stretch the muscles in your upper back. For example, you can roll your shoulders backward and forward. You can also link your hands behind your back and gently pull your arms downward.


You can definitely feel the effects of stress on your emotional health and physical body. When a person is stressed, their body becomes tense, which results in pain on the neck, shoulders, chest, and between shoulder blades.

If stress stays for an extended period, the pain may be accompanied by headaches and physical discomfort.

The best way to fight the symptoms that comes with stress would be to address the root cause. Know your stress triggers and have a great support system make sure to get enough sleep and exercise regularly.

Carrying or Lifting Heavy Objects


Muscle Injury

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Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades While Sleeping

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Treatment Options For Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Relieve pain between your shoulder blades

Treatment for the pain between shoulder blades depends on the severity and the outlying condition. Some of the treatment options involve activities or exercises you can do at home to help manage the pain. After first confirming with a doctor to diagnose the source of your pain you can move on to try some of these remedies.

Stretching A cat stretch to be more precise. It involves rounding your shoulders while pushing your spine back so you stretch the upper back area. The best time to do this is after a hot shower because the muscles will be most malleable.

Heat Heat is great for relieving the tension in the afflicted area of the back. A heated towel or heat bag should be appropriate.

Posture Better posture means less stress on the spine.

Sleep Put an asterisk beside this one. We dont only mean sleep, but sleep well on a good mattress. Sleeping on a poor mattress can actually contribute to back pain. If you find yourself not sleeping well on a regular basis and cant point to any other external factor, try changing your mattress.

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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 youre 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.

Problems In Muscles Bones And Joints

When your rotator cuff tendon rubs or catches on nearby tissue and bone as you lift your arm, its called shoulder impingement, which is another very common cause of shoulder pain.

If you are an active athlete, a rotator cuff injury might be the reason for your shoulder blade pain. In rare cases, an accident or sports trauma can cause a broken scapula.

Sometimes, osteoarthritis might be the root cause. Osteoarthritis makes your joints sore and tender. Other diseases that may generate upper back pain between shoulder blades are various disc diseases or fibromyalgia.

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Perform Shoulder Stretches And Exercises

Stretching and exercising not only feel good, they can also reduce your shoulder pain in some cases. The cause of your pain between shoulder blades will dictate what kind of exercises you should do. For example, Heathline recommends a specific set of exercises to relieve text neck pain.

Speaking more generally, yoga is a gentle form of exercise that can increase flexibility and strength. Stronger muscles are better able to cope with everyday stressors and heal faster from injuries.

Whatever sort of exercise you choose to do, take it slow at first, especially if you arent used to regular exercise. The minute you feel sharp pain or discomfort, stop. You can either set a specific time to exercise every day, perform your exercises when your pain is at its lowest, or both.

Prevention Of Upper Back Pain

Fix Pain between the Shoulder Blades

The following tips may help to prevent you from developing upper back pain.

  • Lift objects safely and correctly by bending at your knees and not from the waist.
  • Make sure your back is properly supported when sitting.
  • If you wake up with back pain, a more supportive mattress that adjusts to your back and supports its various curves and hollows may help.
  • Take regular breaks from sitting for long periods of time and from doing repetitive tasks.
  • Practise good posture see our section on causes of back pain.
  • Exercise regularly see our FAQ on some specific exercises for upper back strength.
  • Learn and practise good technique for any sports youre doing.
  • Stop doing any activity that you know is causing your back pain.
  • Stop smoking it can speed up the degeneration of the discs between your vertebrae that act as shock absorbers.
  • If you are overweight, losing weight may help to reduce the risk of back pain.

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A Part : Egoscue Exercises For Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades

The Egoscue method works for everything I have tried it on.

Chronic lower back pain, neck pain, knee pain, it always provides relief. So lets start with that.

If youre sitting over your computer like a hunched caveman, your neck is grossly out of alignment.

The point of these Egoscue exercises is to let gravity re-align your neck and back.

WHY: This is getting your neck, upper back, and hips re-aligned using the wall.

How to do it:

  • Scoot your butt as close to the wall as possible like in the picture above
  • Make sure the back of your head is touching the wall, and pull your shoulder blades back, so they are flat against the wall
  • Put your hands face up in your lap
  • Pull your toes back so they are flexed
  • Hold for 5 minutes
  • Resources and tools mentioned in this technique:

    How to do it:

  • Lay flat on your back, and put your legs up at a 90 degree angle on a chair, couch, or object
  • Roll your shoulder blades back so they are flat on the ground, and let your arms fall naturally at a 45 degree angle
  • Hold for 15 minutes
  • What Causes Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades

    The thing about back pain between shoulder blades is that its pretty normal. Doctors call it interscapular pain. Pain between the shoulder blades is typically accompanied by sore, dull, and sharp pain in the upper back. In most cases, upper back pain between the shoulder blade is not a severe condition for you to worry about. But sometimes, it indicates an underlying health condition that requires medical advice. For instance, you are at risk of breast cancer. This condition would need mastectomy surgery, where your breast will be removed to prevent cancer from developing. Go to Refine Clinics site to read what to do post-mastectomy. Meanwhile, lets discuss the common reasons why you have upper back pain between the shoulder blades.

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