What's The Cause Of The Pain Between My Shoulder Blades?

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What’s Causing The Pain Between My Shoulder Blades?

Monochrome male shirtless body pain, shoulder blade injury. Shirtless young man inflamed on scapula injury area highlighted in red glow.

Have you ever woken up with pain between your shoulder blades that seems like it came out of nowhere?

Or you may have occasional twinges throughout the day when making specific movements, or the discomfort is a constant companion that never seems to go away?

If so, rest assured – you're not alone in experiencing this discomfort.

Many people suffer from the aches and pains that come from tight muscles between their shoulder blades. But the most important question is what's causing this pain for you.

Understanding the root cause behind your back issues is vital to getting relief. Let's learn more about why you might feel these sensations in your shoulder blades and how physical therapy can help.

This article summarizes the potential causes and contributory factors of pain between your shoulder blades and the different tactics you can use to resolve it.

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Understanding Pain Between Your Shoulder Blades

pain in between shoulder blades

Do you ever feel sudden pain between your shoulder blades that doesn’t seem to go away? If so, it’s essential to identify exactly what you’re feeling and understand whether it could be a type of pain that needs medical attention. 

Is it a dull ache, sharp, stabbing pain?

Is it constant or intermittent pain that comes and goes?

Where is the pain? 

Is it on one side or in the middle right between your two shoulder blades?

Identifying what you're feeling can be your first step in working to alleviate the issue.

You might feel pain in the shoulder blades for various reasons, ranging from poor posture to underlying health conditions.

However, you can start feeling better quickly when you recognize the symptoms and seek help from a Physical Therapist.

Don't ignore these important signals from your body. Instead, note any discomfort you feel and remember that it's important to get a proper diagnosis and not leave things to chance.

When you relay your symptoms to us during your consultation, we can diagnose the issue quickly. 

4 Common Causes of Pain Between The Shoulder Blades

poor posture in diagram causing shoulder pain

The shoulder blades, also known as scapulae, are two triangular-shaped bones on the upper back. They play a pivotal role in arm movement.

The most common causes of shoulder blade pain include poor posture, muscle strain, rotator cuff injury, and nerve compression.

Poor posture puts a lot of pressure on the muscles around the shoulder blades, leading to pain. 

Similarly, lifting heavy objects or repetitive overhead movements can cause muscle strain. Rotator cuff injuries can cause shoulder blade pain, and nerve compression occurs when a nerve gets pinched or trapped.

Therefore, it’s crucial to identify the root cause of shoulder blade pain to alleviate the discomfort and promote healing.

You know how frustrating it can be if you have had pain between your shoulder blades for a long time. It's one of those pesky ailments that can affect your daily routine, making it challenging to move around during the day and sleep through the night without pain.

While you might be experiencing this type of pain for several reasons, four common causes are worth exploring to see if you recognize the symptoms.

From poor posture to spinal issues, properly identifying what's causing your discomfort is the first step toward finding relief.

Posture Issues:

Remembering good posture when sitting at a desk or staring at a phone all day can be challenging. But poor posture can lead to severe problems, from chronic pain (particularly shoulder pain) to even affecting our breathing.

That's why it's important to be mindful of how you hold yourself throughout the day. A good trick is to imagine a chord pulling you upwards from the top of your skull, elongating your spine, and opening your chest.

Remember to get up and move around every hour to keep your body limber. Your future self will appreciate your effort to care for your posture now.

Muscle Tension and Knots:

Do you ever feel painful knots in your muscles? You're not alone. Muscle tension and knots are common issues many people experience – often right between the shoulder blades.

Muscle tension occurs when muscles contract and do not relax, resulting in tightness and discomfort. These knots, also known as trigger points, are areas in the muscle that feel like hard lumps and can cause pain and stiffness.

These issues can be caused by stress, poor posture, injury, or muscle overuse. 

Fortunately, there are ways to relieve muscle tension and knots, such as stretching, massage, and relaxation techniques. 

Poor Nutrition:

Unhealthy diets and poor nutrition are big societal issues. But with the rise of processed foods and fast-paced lifestyles, it's no wonder many people struggle to get the right nutrients into their bodies.

Not getting enough nutrients and/or calories can lead to many health problems and even be life-threatening in severe cases. It can also contribute to increased inflammation and pain between the shoulder blades.

It's important to prioritize your health and ensure you're giving your body the fuel it needs to function correctly.

It might seem simple, but eating a healthy diet is a positive step towards a healthier and pain-free lifestyle.

Stress and Anxiety: 

We all feel stress and anxiety at some point - maybe before a big exam, during a job interview, or amid a global pandemic.

It's a natural response to challenging or uncertain situations. However, if these feelings become chronic and start interfering with your daily life, the stress hormones the body creates to deal with these stresses can contribute to pain and inflammation.

But several strategies can help you manage stress and anxiety and reduce pain between the shoulder blades, such as practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques, exercising regularly, getting good quality sleep, and asking for help from a loved one or a mental health professional.

Remember, caring for your mental health is as important as your physical health.

How To Fix Pain Between The Shoulder Blades

woman massaging neck. Side view, copy space

Dealing with pain and discomfort in your body can be frustrating, especially when it starts impacting your work life, social life, and all other aspects of your daily life.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to find relief. Beginning with exercise, you can help your body's natural healing process by staying active and strengthening your muscles.

Stretching is a simple yet effective way to relieve tightness in the muscles and joints around your shoulder blades.

Massages are another excellent method for addressing shoulder blade pain, helping to release tension in the neck and shoulders and increasing blood flow.

If you combine these methods into your life, you may find the relief you need.

If these methods alone don't help and your shoulder blade pain persists, we recommend that you seek help from a professional Physical Therapist. 

Physical therapy can provide immediate pain relief and lead you to long-term healing.

By working closely with one of our Physical Therapists, we can help you identify the underlying cause of your shoulder blade pain and develop a personalized treatment plan to address it. 

This may include stretching and strengthening exercises, manual therapy techniques, and other modalities to decrease pain and improve your range of motion.

With our help, you can regain control of your body and return to living life to the fullest.

When To Seek Help For Persistent Shoulder Blade Pain

Digital composite of Highlighted spine of man at physiotherapy

Aches and pains are a part of life, but it's wise to seek help from a Physical Therapist when they persist for an extended period.

While trying to tough it out alone is tempting, there's no need to suffer needlessly. Getting help from a Physical Therapist can help to permanently alleviate the pain by identifying the underlying root cause. 

We also know that you're looking for a quick fix for the problem, but when it comes to your health and wellness, it's important to think long-term.

Combining physical therapy treatment with positive lifestyle changes is the key to long-lasting relief. Whether incorporating regular exercise into your routine, practicing mindfulness and meditation, or making changes to your diet, these habits will benefit you in the short and long term.

Developing healthy habits like exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep each night, fueling the body with nutritious food, and learning effective stress management strategies can all help you enjoy long-term relief from shoulder blade pain. 

But most importantly, when you’re in pain, it’s important to be proactive and listen to your body. Your body will usually tell you when it’s something that requires intervention.

Getting the proper treatment can make a world of difference in your quality of life and overall well-being. So, don’t hesitate to seek help if you have persistent pain.

Certainly, don’t ever ignore signs or symptoms that last longer than just a few days and are progressing in intensity – because this type of pain could be a sign of a serious underlying condition. 

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