Causes of back pain between the shoulder blades

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People often associate back pain between the shoulder blades with the appearance of various spinal disorders. In fact, there are many reasons for discomfort, ranging from problems associated with nerve roots to the displacement of the discs. Soreness is sometimes associated with other ailments that relate to internal organs.

Sometimes people do not focus on the pain between the shoulder blades. Because of this, the progress of the disease is noted, the need to undergo lengthy and expensive manipulations in the future.

Table of Contents

  • Causes of back pain between the shoulder blades
  • Spinal injury
  • Pain due to diseases of the internal organs
  • What kind of pain happens in intensity and nature between the shoulder blades?
    • It’s a dull pain
    • Sharp pain
    • Sharp pain
    • Another nature of pain
  • Diagnostics
  • Treatment of back pain
    • What can you use on your own?
  • Preventive actions

Causes of back pain between the shoulder blades

Before prescribing treatment, the doctor must understand why the back between the shoulder blades hurts. Manifestations can be caused by ailments of the spine or involvement of internal structures in the inflammatory process.

Pain due to problems with the spine occurs if there is:

  • Intervertebral hernia. It rarely appears in the sternum, but such cases occur. The changes are due to the fact that the external part of the disk begins to protrude due to excessive load. Against this background, the space between the vertebrae decreases, which leads to a pinched nerve.
  • Muscle overstrain and hypothermia. Such manifestations in the area of ​​the shoulder blades are not considered a disease since they pass on their own. If there is a constant effect of negative factors, the likelihood of developing degenerative changes, a hernia increases. Under the influence of the cold air of the air conditioner, a “cross” may occur, requiring a complex effect.
  • Tuberculosis. Most people have been infected with a micro bacterium since childhood. With injuries or with weakened immunity, a focus may arise, which even with the use of modern diagnostic research methods can not always be immediately recognized. The diagnosis is most often made when the pain of intense intensity appears. With tuberculosis, foci can be detected in the lungs.
  • Scoliosis. With this disease, the main part of the human skeleton is curved. Often suffering from scoliosis of the thoracic and lumbar. A deviation in the configuration of the chest can be detected. The reasons are various deviations in the development of the ligamentous skeleton, bones, large loads.
  • Osteochondrosis. This ailment is “younger”, therefore it is also found in children. An inflammatory reaction occurs that develops in the tissues around the damaged elements. Stiffness in the ribs also leads to disturbances in breathing.

Sometimes pain in the spine between the shoulder blades occurs due to intercostal pinching of the nerve. It is characteristic for her to form unpleasant sensations on one side only. There is a compression of the nerves, which can have different reasons. If inflammation of the muscular skeleton of the back occurs, we are talking about myositis. Sensations arise in different parts of the human skeleton, often are aching in nature.

Spinal injury

When the back between the shoulder blades hurts as a result of an injury, we can assume a bruised back. This is a soft tissue injury. Appears when falling or direct hit. Unpleasant sensations arise immediately after a traumatic event, swelling form. The formation of skin hematoma is possible. The symptom intensifies with a change of position, tension or when feeling. In this case, you need to ensure a bed rest.

In the thoracic region, fractures of the elements of the spinal column are rare, but they are very dangerous. In this area, there is a narrow canal for the spinal cord. With a compression fracture, the pain is initially weak, but every day it grows. The danger lies in the fact that any displacement leads to pathologies in the spinal cord.

Sometimes there is an unpleasant feeling between the shoulder blades in the back due to dislocation. There is an offset of the top element. This pathology is detected with severe trauma. Symptoms as a fracture. The diagnostician will make the final diagnosis only after an X-ray.

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Pain due to diseases of the internal organs

Pain between the shoulder blades sometimes occurs against the background of a malfunction in the activity of the heart muscle. With ischemia or angina pectoris, blood supply is disturbed. Soreness also gives in the left upper limb.

A symptom of an ailment is formed during degenerative processes, cancer, and injuries of the respiratory system. A common phenomenon is when the pain radiates to the shoulder blades for problems in the trachea, as well as for pathology of the pulmonary system. Sometimes symptoms of the disease can appear with pancreatitis, ulcers, and cholecystitis.

Other reasons include working conditions. The development of various diseases occurs with the involvement of connective tissues. This is due to a constant sitting position or heavy loads.

Pain in the spine during inspiration indicates dry pleurisy. It most often occurs with pneumonia, when there is inflammation of the membrane that lines the chest cavity from the inside. Usually, the sensation decreases if you lie on the affected side.

Doctors say that pregnancy is often the cause, especially in the later stages. The pain appears due to the increased load on the bones and back. Such pains do not require treatment, often go away on their own.

What kind of pain happens in intensity and nature between the shoulder blades?

The specificity of pain in the spine is often associated with the causes that led to its occurrence. This parameter is taken into account in the diagnostic process, but more often requires refinement using various research methods. People have different pain thresholds, subjective feelings with the same pathology can also be different.

It’s a dull pain

Manifested with ulcers, coronary heart disease. If it is permanent, doctors may suspect kyphoscoliosis when there is a pathological curvature of the frame simultaneously in the anteroposterior and lateral directions.

For a dull character, a pressing sensation is characteristic, not a very painful, gradual onset, a subtle increase in intensity. Strengthens with a change in body position or during movement.

Sharp pain

It is found with exacerbation of osteochondrosis in the upper back. Arises in response to the movement or lifting of objects. The cause of back pain between the shoulder blades can be an attack of cholecystitis. Symptoms may spread to the right under the rib after eating spicy or oily foods. With unpleasant feelings in the back and abdomen, doctors may suggest a stomach ulcer.

The acute form appears with irritation of the surface and deep tissues, skeletal muscles. Its duration depends on the time of tissue repair. When included in the process of joints, bones, muscles, most often we are talking about deep pain.

Sharp pain

Appears unexpectedly. Occurs when:

  • changing the structure of the disk;
  • neuralgia;
  • acute process in the pancreas;
  • ischemic necrosis.

Sharp pain is formed under the influence of superstrong irritants. This often leads to the fact that a person does not move fully, breathing is disturbed.

Another nature of pain

Stitching sensations appear with diseases of the internal organs, therefore, they are always supplemented by other symptoms. For example, with pleurisy, a cough additionally appears, severe weakness. When an ulcer breaks through, attention is also paid to strong sensations in the abdomen, heartburn, nausea.

Burning pain appears with ischemia. It is characterized by a short action, subsides during a state of rest. The decrease in intensity is associated with taking cardiac medications or analgesics.

Unpleasant sensations may appear after sleep or physical exertion. They give to the cervical region, sternum, different sides of the back. It differs in temporary and chronic. A different type of sensations can be provoked by an inactive lifestyle, being overweight, frequent hypothermia, and prolonged physical labor.


When the spine hurts between the shoulder blades, orthopedic consultation is required. Depending on the alleged underlying cause, a visit is made to a neurologist, cardiologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist.

Be prepared for an X-ray examination. It allows you to establish the presence of pathology from the spinal column and lungs. This is a non-invasive research method associated with the use of special radiation.

Using X-rays, it is possible to establish the presence of trauma, evaluate bone healing, and exclude diseases of a malignant nature. It is carried out for 5-15 minutes. When examining the spine in the area of ​​the shoulder blades, a picture is taken in the direct and lateral projections. Depending on what data will be received, a further diagnostic program is formed.

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If there are signs of a disease of the respiratory system, a blood test is prescribed to study the white blood cell formula, which allows you to confirm the presence of inflammation. If there is a suspicion of an intervertebral hernia or the presence of metastases, a tomography of the sternum and spine is prescribed. Additionally appointed:

  • ultrasound,
  • ECG,
  • ECHO-KG.

Treatment of back pain

When it is established why the back between the shoulder blades hurts, physiotherapeutic methods, drugs, and exercise therapy are prescribed. It is impossible to engage in independent action, but to stop the symptom, you can drink anti-inflammatory drugs or analgesics before visiting a doctor.

If the problem is associated with the spinal column, hodroprotectors can be prescribed to protect this part from further destruction. Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed to relieve inflammation. If sharp or aching back pain does not allow performing elementary actions, analgesics are prescribed (Novigan, Analgin and others).

When treating in a hospital, an integrated approach is used. The doctor selects it individually, changes depending on the strengthening or reduction of the syndrome. Severe pain in the spine is eliminated by injection and blockade. In this case, injections with local anesthetic action or with hormones are given. During rehabilitation, the use of physiotherapeutic techniques is possible:

  • electrophoresis
  • ultrasound,
  • laser exposure
  • traction.

You can apply gentle methods of manual exposure. This is a system of manual techniques aimed at restoring the normal position of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs. The duration of such a session is about 30 minutes. You can not use such techniques for bacterial or viral abnormalities of the spine or joints, fresh injuries or cancer.

At the final stage of treatment, exercise therapy is used. It allows you to cope with many pathologies. Often used for pain in the shoulder blades caused by scoliosis. When choosing exercises, the form of the ailment, clinical manifestations are taken into account. If you do not choose the right effects, you can provoke the progression of the disease.

What can you use on your own?

With pain in the muscles in the upper back, removing discomfort is easy. When a sign appears during work, you need to change the position of the body, perform simple gymnastic exercises. This can be a circular movement with the involvement of the shoulders, mixing and raising the shoulder blades.

Do it yourself a massage. To do this, alternately with your right and left hands, knead the muscles that you will get. If at home there is a Kuznetsov applicator, use it according to the instructions. For self-massage, you can use a tennis ball.

You can also remove pain between the shoulder blades in the back with the help of compresses. But before using this method, consult your doctor. If signs appear from a reboot, cooling compresses will help.

With established vertebrogenic cause, applications with Dimexide solutions are effective. Its action is aimed at improving blood circulation in a problem place. Due to this, spasms and pressure on the nerve are reduced.

Preventive actions

In order to prevent the emergence of diseases, it is necessary to perform feasible loads, to pause between the activities. Doctors advise to lead an active lifestyle, engage in exercise therapy. Try to find time for simple gymnastic exercises.

Annually undergo a routine examination by a surgeon, cardiologist, and doctor for your main ailment. Pain between the shoulder blades will appear with an incorrect posture. Keep your back always straight.

Carefully choose your mattress and pillow. Give preference to orthopedic types. Especially if before that there were problems with the spine or is overweight.

In conclusion, we note that back pain in most cases is not an autonomous disease, but a sign of a violation in the body. The specialist will try using various methods to determine the root cause.


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