Pain between the shoulder blades is a rather popular malaise which is usually experienced by people above 30 years of age, although it may be a problem concerning young people as well.
Pain between the shoulder blades can be a normal reaction to some processes in your organism which shouldn’t worry you. Yet, it can be also a sign of rather serious health conditions which should be diagnosed as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell when the pain is normal and when it is a symptom of a serious change in your body in case we are estimating the seriousness of the pain exclusively by its duration.
Sometimes acute pain experienced for a short time can be absolutely normal, whereas in other situations it can be a sign of a serious injury or heart attack. Constant pain can also mean different things.
If you are experiencing the pain between your shoulder blades, it is crucial to learn about the various possible factors which can trigger this kind of physical discomfort.
First of all, you should understand the symptoms which are indicating the pain between your shoulder blades.
As it has already been mentioned, the pain in this area of your back can be sharp and acute. It means that you are feeling short bursts of strong stubbing pain. Other type of your pain is dull.
You can also feel chronic dull pain which can be either strong or weak. Chronic pain can last for a long time. You can be experiencing such discomfort up to several months.
While describing the pain between your shoulder blades, it is crucial to emphasise that the discomfort you are feeling can also be different. For example, the pain can be felt in specific places which means that it is local. Otherwise, you may be suffering from the pain which can spread to other parts of your body, for example to your arms.
If you want to try to diagnose the pain you are feeling between your shoulder blades, it is advised to get a diary where you should note the types of your pain and the days when you feel it. You can also provide a special scale of the intensity of this pain where you will mark the most unpleasant feelings with 10 and the mildest pain with 1.
What Causes the Pain between the Shoulder Blades?
As far as you can guess, the pain between your shoulder blades can be caused by absolutely different things. Some of them can be rather serious whereas others won’t bring you too much discomfort although they can also be rather worrying. Let’s look through the major factors triggering this unpleasant sensation.
1. Poor Posture
Poor posture is one of the major causes of the pain between the shoulder blades. Poor posture can lead to the discomfort irrespective of your age. Furthermore, it is crucial to emphasise that many young people are risking developing poor posture as a result of the modern life style.
You can have poor posture because of working in the same position during long hours. It doesn’t matter, whether you need to stay too long or sit, both of these activities can cause poor posture while being performed for a too long time without any breaks.
You should also pay your attention to the posture you usually have when you are having a rest. Unfortunately, you may feel yourself comfortable although your posture isn’t normal at all.
If it is difficult for you to estimate your posture, you can visit a doctor or ask other people to keep an eye on the position of your back. Even if you do not feel any extraordinary pain now, poor posture will lead to unpleasant conditions of your back in the future.
Bear in mind that poor posture is also affecting your internal organs. An inappropriate position of your back makes your internal organs have strange positions as well. This can trigger serious illnesses of your internal organs.
2. Flue and Colds
Many people do not consider this fact at all, although flue or cold can cause the pain between the shoulder blades as well. You know that among the most popular symptoms of these diseases such as nasal congestion, fever and coughing there is also weakness of the entire body. Yet, you can also feel various kinds of pain in different parts of your body including your shoulder blades.
If you are suffering from any of these illnesses right now, it will be easier for you to understand whether the condition is caused by your illness or by any other reason. You just need to wait until you recover and then it will be possible to estimate whether the illness was a culprit.
You shouldn’t be afraid of this health problem because such pain isn’t serious or unbearable and it doesn’t lead to other problems with your back. It is just a reaction of your organism to the infection and high temperature.
3. Herniated Disc
Herniated disc is a problem which can be caused by several reasons. One of the most popular causes of this health condition is lifting heavy things, especially, in an uncomfortable position.
Herniated disc has another name which is slip disc. There are special pads between the parts of your spine which allow your back to move freely and perform various physical activities. Unfortunately, in some cases, the pad can break down because of some medical conditions, accidents or, as it has already been said, excessive physical activities.
If you are suspecting that you may be suffering from this malaise, it is important to visit a doctor. A health expert will make important recommendations for treating this problem which will help you to feel better.
One of the most important things you will need to do while treating herniated disc is having a rest and avoiding physical activities.
4. Compressed Nerve
Compressed nerve is a popular cause of the pain between the shoulders. It can occur after an accident or excessive physical activity such as weight lifting.
One of the most popular symptoms of this malaise is the pain which starts from the area between the shoulder blades and radiates to other parts of your body, mainly to your arms.
Sometimes you can feel the same symptoms, even if your nerve hasn’t been compressed. It is possible when your back has been exposed to a strong or cold wind or low temperature. As a result, this exposure causes the inflammation of your nerve.
Both a compressed nerve and the inflammation of a nerve can be treated with special medications. Their major task is helping you to go through the pain. You can also use special lotions and creams for this purpose. The treatment of a compressed nerve can also need physiotherapy.
5. Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder is another health condition which can cause pain between the shoulder blades. In this case, there is no synovial fluid in the joints of your shoulders. As a result, you can feel aggravating pain while performing any movements and generally have limited activity of your shoulder blades.
It is important to visit your doctor if the symptoms you are experiencing are the same as those described above. Your doctor will offer you several types of therapies which will help you to get rid of this ailment.
6. Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a particular condition of your back in which the spinal canal narrows. Pay your attention to the fact that the spinal canal can become narrow in any part of the spine.
Yet, usually the pain you are feeling because of spinal stenosis starts in the middle part of your back and it can radiates to the area between your shoulder blades. In addition to it, a very popular symptom of this problem is the feeling of numbness in your legs.
Spinal stenosis can be treated by medications. Some exercises can also be performed which will help you to reduce the pain and discomfort.
Osteoarthritis is a condition of the joints which are located in the middle part of your back. This illness usually makes you feel the pain in the morning and in the evening. You should visit a doctor in order to get recommendations for treating this problem.
Sometimes, people do not actually realise that a serious change has took place in their back and some bones have cracked. If you are feeling strong pain between the shoulder blades which is also accompanied by the pain in the entire back, it is quite possible that there was a serious injury of your back. You should visit your doctor as soon as possible in order to diagnose the problem and address it.
In some cases, you may need to undergo a surgery which is important for reversing the correct posture of the bones. If your bones have changed their position after the fraction and the right position haven’t been reversed, the bones can heal in an incorrect posture.
It can be rather dangerous since you may feel constant pain in various parts of your body and your movements can become rather limited. Therefore, you should visit your doctor immediately. You will also need quite a lot of time in order to be able to heal the fraction.
9. Gallbladder Problem
Gallbladder is such an organ which can affect other parts of your body once you have any problems with it. For example you may feel the pain in the middle part of your back, between your shoulder blades and in the upper part of your abdomen.
Such issues as the inflammation of gallbladder as well as the gallbladder stones can cause these unpleasant sensations.
If the real cause of your pain is any problem with gallbladder, you are likely to feel the discomfort after having a meal.
Providing your symptoms are the same as those which have been described in this part of the article, you should visit your doctor who will prescribe you appropriate medications. In the case of gallbladder stones, you may need some other kinds of therapy as well since this condition is rather serious and can become even more painful in the future.
10. Heart Attack
Remember that the pain in the middle part of your back as well as the pain between your shoulder blades can indicate heart attack. Unfortunately, many people do not understand they are having heart attack which prevent them from getting appropriate medical help.
What are other symptoms of heart attack which will help you to understand your health condition? You may experience light-headedness, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold sweats, vomiting, fatigue and nausea while having heart attack.
If you have a combination of these symptoms, do not waste your time and call 911.
11. Muscle Imbalance
Poor posture has already been described in the current article. Yet, you should understand that poor posture as well as the lack of physical activity can lead to the development of muscle imbalance.
It means that some of your muscles will need to work harder because other muscles do not work at all. Once a part of your spine weakens, the entire back can feel discomfort.
People who just started doing exercises can also feel the pain between their shoulder blades. It is the result of the condition in which the muscles you make work are not adjusted to this type of activity. Your muscles can also become irritated by the position of your spine.
12. Dysfunction of the joints of your ribs
Your ribs are connected with joints which provide stability to the upper part of your back. These joints can start working improperly which can cause unusual movements of your spine. This can lead to the pain between your shoulder blades.
13. Structural Irregularities
Some people have particular structural irregularities in their spine. It can be genetic heredity or the result of an injury of your spine. Structural irregularities can cause pain in various parts of your back, including the area between the shoulder blades.
How to Treat the Pain between Shoulder Blades?
You have already learnt some information about the methods of treating the pain between the shoulder blades. In some cases, you will need to take pain medications and use chiropractic care and massage therapy. In other situations, you may need to conduct yourself to a surgery.
Massage therapy is used for reduction of the tension in your muscles, whereas chiropractic therapy is used for healing the damaged or irritated joints.
If your condition is not serious, you can try several useful remedies at home. One of the best remedies is improving your posture.
Your Sitting Position
For example, when you are sitting, you should use exclusively a comfortable chair with an appropriate height. It is better when the arms of the chair are angled downwards (slightly). You shouldn’t have your wrists raised too much. If you are working with a computer, you should locate the monitor in such a way as to have it slightly below the level of your eyes.
Pay your attention to your knees which should be bend at 90°. The feet should touch the floor. The lumbar support of your chair should be appropriate and maintain the natural curve of your back. You should never hunch your shoulders over.
Each part of your spine should have an appropriate posture if you want to avoid the pain between your shoulder blades and other types of discomfort in your back.
It is advised to make breaks each 45 minutes and move around. You can also perform some simple exercises for stretching even when you are sitting.
Your Posture When You Are Standing
You have already found the recommendations for keeping an eye on your posture. Yet, how can you understand that your posture is poor?
Come up to your mirror and observe your appearance. Poor posture includes the following positions of your organs. Your head may be protruded forwards. The shoulders can be protruded forward as well or retracted.
In addition to it, there may be tension in the muscles of your neck and shoulders. This tension is felt when you are trying to move your shoulders backwards and forwards actively.
Remember about these aspects of the right posture and try to avoid inappropriate position of your head, neck and shoulders.
The Posture When You Are Lying Down
Do not think that lying is such a comfortable position for your body that it doesn’t matter what your posture is. It is a mistake which can lead to various unpleasant consequences even if your posture while sitting or standing is correct.
When you are lying on your back, it is extremely important to have a right position of your neck. It means that you need to have a small pillow or a rolled up towel. You can put this towel or a pillow between your shoulders and neck.
If you want to give the lower part of your back more relaxation while lying, you should place a small pillow under your knees.
When you are lying on your side, it is still crucial to support your neck with a pillow or a towel. You can also place a pillow in front of you. This pillow is needed for your arm. You can place your arm on the pillow in order to prevent the rotation of the trunk.
You can also place a pillow between the knees which will reduce the angle between the knees and hips.
Stretching with some elements of yoga is a perfect combination of physical activity for people who are suffering from the pain between the shoulder blades. Still, if the pain you are experiencing has been caused by an injury of your bones, joints or spinal discs, you should contact your doctor before starting doing any type of exercises.
You can start stretching your spine with the lower part of the back. Place your hands on the hips. Lean backwards and perform a stretch. This is a perfect exercise for the lumbar spine.
You can also lie on the tommy while your hips are being kept on the ground. You should push the body with arms. The aim of this exercise is getting your arms in a straight position.
The Cat Stretch is a very popular exercise which is done by many people who want to keep their bodies healthy. You just need to stand on your knees and hands. First, you should arch the back in such a way as to have your abdomen as low as it is possible.
Then, you will need to perform a stretch in an opposite way. The back should be arched upwards whereas the tummy should be pulled. It is important to hold both of these positions of for several seconds in order to stretch your spine more effectively.
Now, you should stand up trying to make correct posture of your back. Then, you should straight the arms forwards. Place one hand in the other. Now, try to push both of the arms forwards.
You will feel how the muscles of the upper part of your back are stretching. You can perform the same exercise while sitting. The most important thing is to have correct posture all the time.
In order to loosen up your shoulders, you can perform shoulder shrugs backwards, upwards and forwards. This can be done before stretching your back as well as after stretching.
Finally, you shouldn’t forget about stretching your neck. It is extremely simple to perform these types of exercises. You can take the chin toward the chest. Take the head from one side to another. Try to do it in such a way as to touch your shoulder with your ear.
It may be rather difficult when you start your exercises, yet, you will be able to do it after stretching your back and neck regularly. You can also look diagonally down to the both sides of your shoulders. This will help you to stretch the muscles which are located deeply in your neck.