How to Relieve Pain in Between the Shoulder Blades

Are you suffering from a nagging, even irritating pain between your shoulder blades? Pain in between the shoulder blades can be quite severe, affecting not only your sleep but also your daily life. In this article we will look more closely at pain of this nature, what may cause it and what you can do to relieve it.

A Little Lesson in Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder blade or “scapula,” is the bone that is found in the upper portion of the body. It’s considered a part of the socket that connects the upper arm to the body. The shoulder blades are dense with tissue and muscles that protect the bones and joint by providing cushion and support. These supportive structures also allow the shoulders and arms to have smooth and coordinated movements all the time, or so we hope.

Unfortunately, the area of the shoulder blades can be at high risk of developing injury and pain. The frequent movements that involve the scapula can lead to muscle straining or tearing of the tendons. These circumstances can cause you agonizing pain, swelling and inflammation.

Some Causes of Pain

Accidents and sports related injuries are common factors that cause shoulder pain because of straining or over-stretching. In severe cases, dislocation can occur.

Stress and poor body mechanics are also factors that are linked with upper back pain. The pain that is brought about by stress is usually localized at the lower neck and in between the shoulder blades. Poor body mechanics can put pressure on the spinal area. Pain can be felt right between the shoulder blades. Other common factors that are associated with scapular pain are organic diseases like tumors and infection.

There are also instances where pain can be felt at the scapula but the main problem is not directly related to the shoulders. This type of condition is called “referred pain”. A common example of this is a gallbladder problem. The pain originated from the gallbladder but it radiated towards the right side of the scapula.

Heart attacks also have referred pain associated with it. The chest pain can radiate towards the left side of the scapula accompanied by vomiting. Sometimes, referred pain can be helpful because it can serve as a sign of an impending problem and medical help is soon sought.

Consulting A Doctor

With your health care practitioner’s assistance, you can find effective relief if you know what the exact cause of the pain is. Any treatment regimen is greatly dependent upon the root problem. The first and smartest thing you can do is to consult your doctor. This is a priority.

Self-diagnosing is the one of the worst things that you can do. Never self-diagnose when it comes to upper back pain because you need to rule out any potentially serious disease. It is best to seek an expert’s advice. Your licensed health care practitioner is the best person who knows how to deal with your pain problem and who can give you the most effective regimens based upon your particular problem.


Your doctor may prescribe steroids to treat the inflammation, painkillers to relieve you from pain or diuretics to decrease any fluid swelling. Remember to take these drugs judiciously. Even if they are considered safe, over-the-counter drugs, adverse reactions can occur.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is usually indicated to rehabilitate a shoulder injured through dislocation, tear or strain. There are also a series of exercises that can help soothe the upper back from pain, relieve you from stress and regain your back muscles’ strength and flexibility. Your therapist will teach you those exercises.

Therapy can also provide heat, massage, ultrasound treatments and other measures for pain relief and to promote healing.

Know the Cause

Pain is always a symptom of either disease or injury. There are a lot of factors that can cause pain between the shoulder blades. To effectively treat the pain, you have to pinpoint the cause. Again, knowing the exact cause of pain enables you to target the origin of pain with the right treatment regimen. It also helps you to avoid future re-injury and return of your pain.