Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Pain between shoulder blades can be attributed to many causes and may or may not signal a back problem. For example, many people have a warning signal within their body which lets them know that they are about to be ill with something. The something might be a bad cold, a case of flu, or a badly upset stomach. But prior to the onset of the health problem, they start experiencing pain in some part of their body. Often it is a headache but for some it is pain between shoulder blades. The pain will usually manifest early enough that they are able to ward off the oncoming condition.

Pain in the middle back can also be related to stress. All of us are exposed to stressful experiences at some time another and for some it is almost a chronic condition. Body aches and pains often accompany stress. These can include migraines, simple headaches or stomach aches. But for some, stress results in pain between shoulder blades. However, stress related pain is easily identified as it always accompanies the stressful situation. And it disappears along with the stressor. But since stressed muscles are more susceptible to injury, people with this problem should actively seek out coping methods such as deep breathing techniques, yoga, etc.


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Pain between shoulder blades is also related to other illnesses that are not back related. However, this type of pain usually originates somewhere else in the body and spreads to the shoulder blades. Gall bladder problems often cause pain between shoulder blades but the pain usually begins in the upper abdomen and then spreads upward to the shoulder blades.

The neck pain that is caused by arthritis or disc disease may also spread down between the shoulder blades. Although this is rare, angina pectoris can be experienced in the shoulder blades but it begins in the chest. Pain in the mid back can also be a symptom of some cancer. It is an early warning sign of liver cancer but occurs late in the development of esophageal cancer.

Women need to be especially vigilant about pain between shoulder blades as this is a symptom of potential heart attack in a woman. Whereas men experience crushing chest pain, women usually feel the pain in their back or between their shoulder blades.

Osteoarthritis is another condition that causes pain between shoulder blades. However, osteoarthritis normally begins in the neck and then radiates to the area between the shoulder blades. There are definite back problems that do cause pain between shoulder blades. A very common one is cervical herniated disc. The symptoms also include muscle pain in the neck. However, in the case of cervical herniated disc, the pain between shoulder blades is chronic.

Pain between the shoulder blades can also be an occupational problem. People who sit for many hours working at computers often experience this. If this is the cause, the pain can be relieved by ensuring proper posture while sitting and taking short breaks.

However, because of the many problems associated with this mid-back pain, people who routinely experience this should have their symptoms evaluated by a knowledgeable health professional.

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By: Updated:

Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFTPain Relief Expert, Post Rehab Specialist.

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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