Pain between shoulder blades is a type of upper back pain that can have a variety of causes. Most of the time, it arises due to a physical issue. However, pain between the shoulders can also be caused by an underlying ailment that causes referred pain in the upper back. The sooner you discover the underlying cause of the pain, the faster you can treat it.
The physical causes of upper back pain include injuries or trauma to the shoulder blades. You might experience this kind of pain if you have had an accident or fall. The culprit could also be an injured rotator cuff or neck stress. Muscle strains while working out and prolonged hours of poor posture can also cause pain. These cases, are often treated with medication or even surgery to correct the physical cause of the pain.
Other causes of pain between shoulder blades:
Pain between shoulder blades can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. For instance, if you have a history of arthritis, the arthritis might spread to the shoulder blades and cause pain. Osteoporosis, a condition that causes bone degeneration, can also affect the shoulder blades. Heart disease and upper respiratory issues can cause upper back pain as well. The best way to relieve pain caused by an underlying medical issue is to treat the issue first.
Emotional strain or stress can also cause pain between the shoulder blades. To relieve this kind of pain, try relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation. Getting a massage is another great option.
3 Rare Causes of Pain Between Shoulder Blades
1. Nutritional Deficiency
Many people do not realize that nutritional deficiency can cause upper back pain. A balanced diet is crucial for maintaining overall health. If you have not been careful with your diet, you might start noticing pain between your shoulders. Our shoulders need a constant supply of nutrients to function properly. If you have a poor diet, your shoulder ligaments and tendons may weaken, and this can cause pain.
If your diet is mainly composed of carbohydrates, then it is time to include more vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, B6, and B12 are great for strengthening the muscle ligaments and tendons around the shoulders. You can also take minerals like magnesium and zinc to enhance the functioning and performance of your shoulders. Look for foods rich in vitamins and minerals or take supplements.
2. Sudden Weight Gain
Sudden weight gain can also cause pain in the upper back. Weight gain destabilizes your body, especially if it happens suddenly. The excessive weight will put pressure on your neck and may result in upper back pain. If you have gained a significant amount of weight in the past few weeks or months, then it might be the reason for your upper back pain.
After weight gain, your shoulders and neck might not be able to support the increased body weight effectively. The best way to get rid of this kind of pain is to lose weight. Losing weight will not only help you to relieve the pain, but it is also beneficial to your overall health.
3. Mental Health
Mental health is often associated with back pain, especially upper back pain. People who experience anxiety and depression might also complain about a sharp pain between their shoulder blades. In these cases, it can help to identify potential triggers. For instance, if the pain often arises before or after an anxiety attack, then anxiety may be the cause.
If the pain between your shoulder blades is connected to your mental health, then the only way to solve it is by treating the underlying issue.
Shoulder Blade Pain Frequently Asked Questions
Most of the time, shoulder blade pain is a recurring problem. Because it comes and goes, it can be difficult to go to a doctor for a diagnosis. If you are not sure what the source of the pain is, you should seek the advice of a medical professional.
You should also see a doctor if you are experiencing other symptoms. For instance, if the upper back pain is accompanied by fever, fatigue, and nausea, see a doctor immediately. Upper back pain can be a sign of a heart attack, especially in women. The earlier you see a doctor, the better.
People who are at greater risk for shoulder blade pain include those who do sedentary jobs and spend a lot of time sitting. Women are also more likely to suffer from this type of pain.
Schoolchildren suffer from upper back pain because of their heavy backpacks. A family history of this kind of pain can increase the chances of developing it later in life. Generally, upper back pain is less frequent than lower back pain.
Fortunately, surgery for shoulder blade pain is only recommended in very rare cases. Back pain can usually be treated using other therapies like massage and even chiropractic care.