Understanding the Causes of Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Understanding the Causes of Pain Between Shoulder Blades

pain between shoulder blades

Are you one of the many adults struggling with nagging pain between your shoulder blades? 

It’s a common issue that can disrupt your daily activities and leave you feeling frustrated.

Did you know that shoulder injuries in youth sports participants can increase by up to 50% during summer leagues?

Especially for baseball and softball players, the demands of pitching and throwing can take a toll on shoulder health.

But here’s the thing – you don’t have to let shoulder pain hold you back from enjoying the activities you love.

Overview of the Shoulder Blade Area

The area between the shoulder blades, also known as the scapulae, plays a vital role in upper body movement and stability. 

It’s surrounded by an intricate network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that work together to support the arms and shoulders.

Understanding the root causes of pain between the shoulder blades is crucial for effective management and relief.

Whether it’s due to poor posture, muscle strain, or underlying medical conditions, pinpointing the source of the discomfort is the first step toward finding relief and reclaiming your active lifestyle.

Common Causes of Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Muscle Tension and Poor Posture

Spending long hours hunched over a computer or slouched in a chair can lead to muscle tension and strain between the shoulder blades.

The repetitive nature of modern-day desk work often exacerbates this issue, causing discomfort and stiffness.

Prevention Tips: Take frequent breaks to stretch and move around, allowing your muscles to relax and prevent stiffness.

Incorporate shoulder blade strengthening exercises into your routine to improve posture and alleviate tension.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint and facilitate arm movement.

Overuse, repetitive motions, and sudden impacts can lead to injuries or tears in these structures, resulting in pain and discomfort between the shoulder blades.

Prevention Tips: Perform regular rotator cuff strengthening exercises to maintain shoulder stability and prevent injuries.

Avoid overexertion and practice proper lifting techniques to minimize strain on the shoulder muscles. 

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

This condition occurs when the blood vessels or nerves in the thoracic outlet, located between the collarbone and first rib, become compressed. 

It can cause pain, numbness, and tingling between the shoulder blades, as well as in the arms and hands.

Prevention Tips: Avoid activities that require prolonged overhead arm positioning, and take frequent breaks to stretch and change positions.

Strengthening exercises for the shoulder and neck muscles can help improve posture and reduce strain on the thoracic outlet.

Poor Sleeping Position

Sleeping in an awkward position or on an unsupportive mattress can lead to muscle stiffness and discomfort between the shoulder blades.

This is especially common among individuals who sleep on their stomachs or with their arms extended overhead.

Prevention Tips: Invest in a supportive mattress and pillows that promote proper spinal alignment during sleep.

 Experiment with different sleeping positions to find one that minimizes pressure on the shoulders and upper back.

Use pillows to support your arms and maintain a neutral spine while sleeping.

Gallbladder Issues

Pain between the shoulder blades can sometimes be a symptom of gallbladder problems, such as gallstones or inflammation.

This type of pain is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort.

Prevention Tips: Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle to reduce the risk of gallbladder issues.

Avoid fatty or greasy foods, and limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine. Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to support digestive health.

Take the First Step Toward Relief

Don’t let pain between your shoulder blades limit your quality of life any longer. 

Our team of expert physical therapists at Power Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine is here to help. 

We offer shoulder pain assessments to diagnose the underlying causes of your discomfort and develop personalized treatment plans to address your specific needs.

Take the first step towards relief by scheduling your shoulder pain assessment today.

Call us at (714) 557-2100 or visit our clinic to schedule your assessment. Let’s work together to get you back to your best!

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