8 Reasons for Shoulder Blade Pain and How to Treat It

July 1, 2018
The back is made up of bones, ligaments, nerves, muscles, and joints. Consequently, back pain is very common.

Do you know where your shoulder blades are?

They’re the broad bones found in the back just behind your shoulders. They serve as a midway point where muscles and tendons run. 

Unfortunately, shoulder blade pain is very common. In some cases, it can simply be a sign of tiredness, but it could also be a signal of something more serious.

Work, study, obligations, and household chores can all put our backs under a lot of strain. And that’s without thinking about any physical work you might have to get your shoulders to do.

Possible Causes

1. Poor Posture

Man suffering from shoulder blade pain

It’s really important to maintain good posture, since your shoulder blades are connected to tendons. In addition, a lack of sleep or remaining in a particular position for too long can be damaging for your back.

But how do you know whether you have good posture or not?

  • Stand up and put your back against a wall.
  • Make sure that your head, buttocks, and most of all your shoulders are touching the wall.
  • You’ll know you’ve done it right if you can pass your hand through the curve that is formed by your lower back.

2. Poor Diet


An unbalanced diet weakens your muscles. This could be from eating too much fat, or not getting the nutrients and vitamins that you need. Consequently, you’ll end up with terrible back pain, particularly in your shoulder blades.

3. Muscle Tension

Woman suffering shoulder blade pain

One very common cause of shoulder blade pain is muscle tension. This can be caused by excessive physical exertion, carrying something heavy, or by an awkward movement.

The shoulder blades are connected to the entire musculoskeletal system. Therefore, when we feel tension, we may feel pain around, above, between, and beneath the shoulder blades.

4. Heart Problems

heart health

One of the more serious causes of pain in the shoulder blades is aortic dissection. This is where there is a break in the artery that delivers blood to the heart. Therefore, this is a very serious condition.

This can cause pain in the lower back as much as the upper back. It’s very important that you don’t ignore these symptoms, as it could be a warning of a potential heart attack.

5. Fractures

In order to suffer a shoulder blade fracture, there has to have been a strong impact.

However, a break or fracture of the bones or ligaments will cause intense pain straight away, so it’s crucial that you go straight to a doctor. An accident of this magnitude could even cause death.

6. Arthritis

woman with arthritis

This particular condition is very common in older people and it mainly affects the joints.

Arthritis causes pain and inflammation which gets worse over time and with more physical activity. Sometimes, knots can appear in the area above the shoulder blades and it can also cause deformities.

7. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones lose density. This weakens them and causes pain, particularly in the arms and the spine. The bones can become so weak that it’s possible to suffer a shoulder blade fracture.

8. Cancer

It’s not very common at all, but it’s possible that pain in either shoulder blade can be caused by a tumour. If the tumour develops in the upper part of the lungs, the pain can be felt around the shoulder blades.

This sort of pain will be intense and constant and will intensify at night and when lying down. If you suffer these sorts of symptoms you should go straight to your doctor to discount a malignant tumour.

Treating Shoulder Blade Pain

Regardless of what is causing your pain, whether it be serious or mild, there are a variety of treatments you can turn to, such as medication, physiotherapy, or changing your habits. You should only resort to surgery in very serious cases.

Recommendations

  • Take care over your diet.
  • Do physical activity. Try yoga.
  • Try physiotherapy and back massages.
  • Avoid highly stressful situations.
  • Try to change your posture from time to time at work.
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