Shoulder pain or pain between the shoulder blades can be quite common in people with vad posture practices.
For example, the excessive use of laptops and computers is one of the leading causes of back pain between shoulder blades. People who have to sit for long periods of time at their office desk are highly likely to experience this type of pain, either in an acute or chronic form.
Additionally, people who suffer from postural disorders such as scoliosis or kyphosis, that alter the alignment of the vertebrae in the spine, can aso experience this type of pain.
Acute pains last for a short time but may be high in intensity and severity. On the other hand, chronic pain lasts for months and gradually increases in severity.
What causes pain between the shoulder blades?
What causes pain between the shoulder blades?
As previously stated, upper back pain (between the shoulder blades) may be caused by repetitive inactivity due to excessive use of electronic equipment (computers and laptops), but there are other facts that may lead to this type of pain, including:
- Back muscle strain, which appears mostly due to a tear in the muscle’s tissue in the back, neck and shoulders regions
- Injury to the back
- Problems with spinal discs, such as a herniated disc
- Heavy lifting
- Poor posture
- Shoulder bursitis
- Referred pain, where the source of the pain is located elsewhere in the body from where the pain is felt
However, because of the location of this pain, which is situated along the thoracic spine, it is important to know that this region of the body houses vital internal organs, which, if damaged, may also manifest interscapular pain (pain between shoulder blades).
Please note, that these are severe issues and if you suspect your pain is caused by any of them, seek medical attention immediately. Make sure you stay informed about any of these conditions to recognise the signs and tell them apart from back pain that is caused by non-vital-organ-related factors:
- Heart attack, or other heart issues
- Blood clots near this region, as well as issues with blood vessels
- Pulmonary embolism
- Aortic dissection
Also pay attention if your shoulder blade pain is accompanied by other symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and also if you experience any sharp pain, shooting pain or sever pain of any nature.
That being said, and provided that your pain is not caused by something serious, you can try some of the following approaches:
1) Applying Pressure to Trigger Points
This is an effective way to relieve pain that is present between the shoulder blades. To do this, you have to locate the exact trigger points between your shoulder blades. You will need a massage ball for this.
Lie on your back and put the massage ball between your shoulder blades, in the affected region. Look for a tender spot and keep the ball there.
Press your body on the ball to apply pressure to the region. Keep still for 30 seconds in that spot and do not roll over. Now, do the same process with other spots where you feel pain.
2) Hot or Cold Compress
If you feel pain or discomfort between your shoulder blades, use cold and hot compresses. Just place the compresses in the affected region for up to 15 minutes. Repeat the process every few hours to stay comfortable the whole day.
Cold Press: To make a cold press, put ice cubes in a zip lock bag. Wet a washcloth with cold water and wrap it around the bag.
Hot Press: To make a hot press, fill a bowl with hot water. It should not scald your skin. Take a face towel and soak it in hot water. Wring out the excess water and apply the compress to the area of pain.
3) Focus on Diet
Sometimes, this pain is also caused due to inflammation. If you are eating too many inflammatory foods, such as processed foods, these can worsen the pain. Try to eat foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. They help in reducing inflammation and preventing pain in all parts of the body.
Stretching also helps in relieving pain between shoulder blades, as well as neck pain or upper back pain and stiffness in these areas. This increases circulation to the affected region and improves mobility. You can do different stretches that target the upper part of your back. Here is an easy one:
- Cross the right arm over your body.
- Use the left arm and pull on the elbow of your right arm towards the chest.
- Hold in place for 10 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
Exercise can also help relieve pain between shoulder blades. You can try exercises like pushups and pull-ups as they are good for pain relief. Sit-ups also help to make the back and abdomen muscles stronger.
Healthy and strong back muscles help reduce the pressure that is exerted on the spinal column, by providing additional support, and thus reducing your chances of developing pain in this region. Please refer to this link to learn some of the most effective exercises for back pain relief.
6) Practice good posture
When possible, try to adjust your posture while sitting down by using ergonomic equipment with your chair, so that your back is fully supported in this position.
Additionally, there are certain exercises you can perform to strengthen your core muscles, which are responsible for keeping your upper body upright and in a correct position.
7) Get help from a physical therapist
Physical therapy can be highly beneficial in that it mobilises the spine and has the potential to reduce the pain and stiffness in one’s back.
8) Use anti inflammatory medication
Although it only provides temporary relief, anti-inflammatory medication can alleviate pain and inflammation in the back.
However, one should exercise caution when taking such medication, as it can lead to long-term side effects.
9) Use a spinal decompression device
Spinal Decompression Therapy
Author: Spinal Backrack