Back Pain Relief Between Shoulder Blades


Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is something that many people struggle with on a regular basis. Pain between your shoulder blades is a common complaint from individuals who suffer from back pain. But what are the causes of this type of back pain? In this article, we will explore some of the more common causes of back pain between your shoulder blades:

  • Muscle strain or sprain
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Scoliosis
  • Fibromyalgia

Poor Posture

Poor posture is one of the most common causes of back pain, particularly in the area between the shoulder blades. Poor posture can be caused by many factors such as a job requiring long hours of sitting, incorrect technique when lifting heavy objects, or a lack of knowledge about proper posture and body mechanics.

When poor posture is present, muscles in our neck, shoulders and upper back become strained due to extended periods of working in a poor position and an unnatural way which causes a decrease in the muscle’s ability to support our body’s weight adequately. Over time this leads to fatigue and pain between the shoulder blades.

Other common causes of this kind of pain can be muscular imbalances caused by strenuous activities that require us to use certain muscles more than others or repetitive strain injuries from movements that require us to move our arms over our head or remain static for long periods such as data inputting. Both activities put a strain on the skeletal system, particularly spine joints not usually used for regular physical activity leading to increased discomfort in the muscles located around it.

Treating these cases by stretching exercises can help improve muscle length-tension relationships as well as core strength thus improving stability and agility and relieving some tension in these areas, therefore, decreasing pain levels. Additionally consulting with medical professionals regarding proper body mechanics can help prevent future cases from happening beforehand, by increasing awareness regarding improved techniques that would otherwise make one’s work easier with fewer chances of ache issues between shoulder blades occurring again.

Muscle Imbalance

Muscle imbalance is one of the potential causes of back pain, especially pain between the shoulder blades. When the core muscles (abdominals and lower back) become weaker than the surrounding muscles due to everyday movements or lack of exercise, it can result in an imbalance that can cause pain. Other causes of muscle imbalance include poor posture, overuse injuries, or repetitive motions.

The abdominal and back muscles must be strong to support your spine and prevent muscle imbalances. This is especially important if you are physically active in sports or work that involves heavy lifting, pulling, and pushing. Incorporating a variety of core strengthening exercises into your fitness routine will help counteract common postural imbalances caused by daily activities and create a balanced muscular system. Common exercises used to strengthen the core muscles to reduce back pain include:

  • Planks
  • Side planks
  • Bridges
  • Squats
  • Lunges

Although muscle imbalance does not always cause back pain between the shoulder blades, it can create tension in the surrounding muscle groups which could result in chronic discomfort if left untreated for too long. Identifying any imbalances with an experienced healthcare professional and addressing them through lifestyle changes – such as improved posture – as well as physical activity will help reduce this type of discomfort over time.

Weak Core Muscles

Having weak core muscles can lead to back pain between the shoulder blades. Your core muscles are located in your mid and lower back, abdomen, bottom, and pelvis. These muscles help keep your spine in alignment when you move. Weak core muscles can cause the upper part of your spine to become misaligned and pressure on the nerves causes pain in the shoulder blades.

Fortunately, weak core muscles can usually be fixed with exercises that strengthen these particular muscles in a safe way. Some exercises recommended for strengthening your core include:

  • Pelvic tilts
  • Planks
  • Wall sits
  • Yoga poses such as boat pose or cobra pose
  • Deadlifts

It is important to remember to perform these exercises safely and properly with concern for any existing injuries or chronic medical conditions.

If your back pain does not improve with exercise treatments, talk to an orthopedic doctor about ways to relieve your symptoms without doing further damage to any underlying issues that may be causing it.

Self-Care Strategies

Self-care plays an important role in helping to relieve pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades. Simple lifestyle modifications such as proper stretching, strengthening exercises, and proper posture can help to reduce pain and improve mobility.

Let’s take a look at some of the self-care strategies you can implement to help relieve or prevent back pain between the shoulder blades:


Stretching exercises can be a great way to help relieve tension and promote relaxation in the back muscles, helping to reduce acute pain between the shoulder blades. Simple stretches can be done from the comfort of your home or office chair and don’t require any special equipment or training. To get started, here are some simple stretches for reducing back pain between shoulder blades:

  1. Shoulder shrugs: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Lift one shoulder up as high as you can, hold it briefly, and then return it to the center. Repeat five times on each side.
  2. Rear deltoid Stretch: Sit comfortably in a chair with good posture, lift one arm up and rest it across your chest while grasping the elbow or forearm of that arm with your opposite hand behind the shoulder blade area. Hold for five deep breaths before releasing and then repeat on the other side.
  3. Side bends: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, arms by sides. Slowly reach one arm overhead while lengthening through the side body towards that armpit while keeping knees soft and gently bending from side to side from waist level in a smooth action for five repetitions on each side.
  4. Spine twist: Sit comfortably in a chair, bring both legs up towards your chest then cross them at your shins so one foot is over the opposite knee then twist your torso gently toward the opposite direction for five repetitions in each direction.

When beginning any exercise program please seek advice from a healthcare professional if needed to ensure safety throughout all activities recommended here today.

Strengthening Exercises

If you’re looking for back pain relief between your shoulder blades, incorporating strengthening exercises into your daily routine is a great way to build balance and protect your spine. Strengthening helps keep the body functioning optimally, allowing us to move with greater ease and faster recovery times. While stretching will provide flexibility and a break from stiffness, strengthening helps us remain free from chronic pain.

Fortunately, there are some exercises you can add to your self-care strategy that is specific for the shoulder blades. When performed correctly, these exercises can help alleviate tension and strengthen the muscles to contribute to better back health.

Strengthening Exercises:

  • Seated row or chair row: Sit in a chair and hold a light weight in each hand or an elastic exercise band above each shoulder blade (keeping arms straight). Bend elbows out slightly until hands are drawn back towards chest. Pause then slowly return arms to starting position while keeping elbows near ears. This is one repetition and should be repeated 10 times.
  • Reverse fly: Begin by bending forward at the waist with knees bent slightly and toes pointed away from you. Hold weights (or an elastic exercise band) in each hand so that palms are facing inward with arms extended down below hips level before beginning exercise – bend arms slightly at elbows as if forming wings facing downward towards the floor below you – push the chest forward as if reaching out away from your torso while maintaining elbow bend – pause and squeeze shoulder blades together before slowly returning arms to starting position below hips level – this is one repetition of exercise – repeat 10 times.
  • Door press: Stand facing the open door with elbows bent at 90 degrees so that forearms rest against the side of the door frame – press against the door when exhaling then release on inhale for 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each side of the door frame (right/left).

Posture Correction

One of the most beneficial self-care strategies for relief from back pain between the shoulder blades is to focus on proper posture. Stress and poor posture can result in continual tension in the upper back, eventually leading to muscular pain.

In order to correct poor posture, it is important to be aware of which postural changes are helpful and which are harmful. Sitting up straight with shoulders back while they are relaxed is a good starting point. Avoid slouching or hunching forward as this will strain the muscles more and create discomfort throughout your upper torso.

Another key factor when striving towards proper posture alignment is keeping your weight balanced uniformly throughout your thighs, hips, and shoulders when seated or standing. Countless hours spent sitting on a chair can contribute to muscular imbalances in these areas leading to back pain between shoulder blades if not addressed properly over time.

Proper ergonomics plays an important role in helping reduce pain-causing tension from long periods of sitting or standing at a desk as well as straining certain muscles with repetitive motions during sports or hobby-related activities. Utilizing height and tilt adjustable chairs that place your weight lower towards the floor (aided by adjusting lumbar support, if available) helps maintain a balanced weight properly aligned across all muscle groups for hrs of activities already contributing drastically towards reducing upper back pains due to mismatched postures.

Medical Treatments

Back pain between your shoulder blades can be a nuisance and can limit your mobility making simple tasks difficult. Thankfully, there are a variety of medical treatments available that can help relieve your back pain. Let’s look into the medical treatments and which one may work best for you:


There is a range of medications that may be used to treat back pain between the shoulder blades. Depending on the cause, your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, corticosteroids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids, and topical creams.

  • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce pain and inflammation. Common examples include ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
  • Muscle relaxants: Muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine can reduce tension in tight muscles and provide short-term relief from spasms.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids can help to provide rapid relief from severe pain and inflammation due to an injury or illness. Commonly prescribed corticosteroid medications include prednisone and methylprednisolone.
  • Antidepressants: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine can help to alter brain chemistry so that pain is more manageable and fatigue associated with chronic illnesses is reduced. Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline are another class of drug that can help with both depression-related pains along with nerve-related pain down each arm from the shoulder blades.
  • Anticonvulsants: Anticonvulsant medications such as pregabalin and gabapentin are not used for treating seizures but rather for neuropathic pain that can come from nerve damage due to an injury or condition like shingles or diabetes mellitus.
  • Opioids: Opioid analgesics such as oxycodone can be especially helpful for managing severe bouts of acute (sudden onset) back pain between the shoulder blades when nothing else has worked effectively but only if they meet certain criteria by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When using opioids it’s important to monitor them closely so they do not result in any dependency over time; this should be done in consultation with a healthcare professional if you take them regularly over a period of time.
  • Topical creams: Topical creams including capsaicin cream, lidocaine patches, salicylates cream (such as Aspercreme’), and menthol ointment have been shown to temporarily help alleviate soreness associated with strain injuries at the site of application without systemic effects like those caused by oral medications mentioned above.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an important part of treatment for people with back pain between their shoulder blades, as it can help to reduce the pain, strengthen muscles and improve the range of motion. Physical therapists use various techniques such as stretching, strengthening exercises, manual therapy (massage or osteopathic manipulation), and even special equipment such as stability balls.

Physical therapy often incorporates therapeutic modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, hot and cold packs, and traction to relieve muscle tension and pain. Depending on the severity of the problem, physical therapy may be used in combination with medication or other treatments. To ensure full benefit from physical therapy interventions, sessions should be performed regularly over an extended period of time.


Surgery is one of the more serious medical treatments for back pain relief between shoulder blades. It is mostly reserved for cases that have failed to respond to any non-surgical treatments or where the severity of pain, risk of paralysis, or other problems are so great that surgery must be considered.

Open spine surgery (i.e. traditional back surgery) is being replaced with less invasive and more precise treatments such as stereotactic radiofrequency thermocoagulation, tubular discectomy, endoscopic lumbar discectomy, and interlaminar microdiscectomy – a less invasive alternative to open spine surgery. Non-invasive options may include acupuncture and spinal manipulation therapy (chiropractic care). In cases where pharmacological treatment is advised such medications as muscle relaxants, non-steroidal drugs, injections, and narcotics can be used. Typically, physical therapy may be prescribed alongside these prescriptions to helping reduce inflammation in the lower back area which could be causing pain between the shoulder blades.

In rare situations when none of these options work (or if they provide only short-term relief) a minimally invasive replacement disc procedure or artificial spinal disc may be considered to replace severely injured discs or eliminate nerve compression completely allowing for permanent relief from persistent back pain between shoulder blades.

Alternative Treatments

Back pain between the shoulder blades can be debilitating, but luckily there are alternative treatments that can help. Massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic adjustments are a few of the most common types of alternative treatment for relief from back pain. Additionally, there are a few at-home remedies that may help relieve the pain associated with shoulder blade back pain.

In this article, we’ll explore different types of alternative treatments to help soothe your back pain:


When it comes to finding relief from pain between shoulder blades, acupuncture is certainly worth exploring as an alternative treatment option. Acupuncture is based on principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and aims to help restore balance and energy flow in the body. In particular, practitioners use tiny needles inserted into particular pressure points on the body as a way of stimulating certain areas that can help reduce pain.

Acupuncture is best known for its effectiveness in helping with chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain and tension headaches. Studies suggest that patients respond very positively to acupuncture treatments between the shoulder blades, even after several months of regular visits.

In addition to its pain-relieving effect, other benefits associated with acupuncture include better sleep quality, improved digestion, and increased energy levels. Because it is a drug-free treatment approach, there are also few or no side effects associated with acupuncture sessions compared to other forms of medical intervention that often have serious risks or long-term effects.

Depending on your condition, your practitioner may prescribe one or a combination of different techniques so you receive maximum benefit from your visits – including cupping therapy or moxibustion (warm herb alternatives). Speak with your acupuncturist or doctor about whether these alternative approaches would be effective for your specific needs.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a centuries-old practice believed to improve the health of the body and mind. It is gaining in popularity for the treatment of back pain, particularly in between the shoulder blades. Massage therapy can be used to relax tense muscles, improve circulation and stimulate your body’s own natural healing processes.

Your massage therapist will evaluate your posture and range of motion before beginning any treatments. He or she may ask about your lifestyle and medical history to understand what type of massage would be most beneficial for you.

The massage strokes used by massage therapists are designed to lighten chronic tension by stroking tender points found between the shoulder blades. By releasing stress from these points, your therapist encourages greater relaxation and decreases pain in the area surrounding them.

The following techniques are often used during therapeutic massages to help relieve back pain:

  • Effleurage (gliding)
  • Petrissage (kneading)
  • Tapotement (tapping)
  • Lomi-Lomi (long direct strokes)
  • Trigger point therapy (localized pressure).

No matter which technique is used, all help bring an increased sense of physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being – essential parts of healing. Furthermore, research suggests that ongoing use brings lasting benefits such as decreased stress hormones, improved sleep habits, and an enhanced level of physical fitness thanks to improved circulation from massage therapies like those mentioned above.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is a system of complementary medicine based on the notion that misalignments of the spine and other joints of the body can affect health and well-being. It is focused on programs for physical rehabilitation and manipulation, lifestyle counseling, nutrition advising, reconditioning exercises, and supplemental therapies. The goal is to align your body properly so that it can heal itself.

Chiropractors use manual techniques such as specific joint manipulations called adjustments to reduce pain and restore range of motion in order to maintain normal skeletal alignment and mobility. They can also provide additional treatments such as hydrotherapy (hot/cold packs), ultrasound therapy, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), electrical muscle stimulation, massage therapy, ergonomic training, and more.

The primary therapy recommended by chiropractors for relieving back pain between your shoulder blades is spinal manipulation or adjustments. An adjustment consists of a gentle thrust delivered with the hands that serve to realign joint structures to improve functions in the affected area(s). Manipulations may be beneficial in the:

  • Reducing inflammation around the joint structures between your shoulder blades
  • Increasing range of motion
  • Decreasing stiffness and soreness
  • Improving posture to improve overall health and well-being.

Prevention Strategies

Preventing back pain between your shoulder blades can be achieved through various methods. Taking preventive steps to ensure your back muscles are not overworked can help reduce the incidence of back pain. This includes:

  • Proper posture
  • Exercise
  • Stretching

Additionally, using the right equipment for activities such as gardening can also help. Can look into this section more closely to explore the various prevention strategies for dealing with back pain between your shoulder blades.

Maintain Good Posture

Maintaining good posture plays an important role in keeping your back healthy and preventing muscle strain and tension. Poor posture can put extra strain on the structures of your upper back, leading to not only discomfort but also potentially causing long-term problems.

When sitting, be sure to keep your bottom right back against the chair, spine straight, and feet flat on the floor. If you need additional lumbar support, you may want to use a seat cushion or low-back support belt. Avoid slouching and hunching forward if possible, while taking regular breaks to stretch or walk around.

When standing, keep your head up, shoulders back and feet slightly wider than hip distance apart – all aimed at reducing pressure on your spines, hips, and shoulders. Make sure you can switch from one foot to another from time to time throughout the day and divert some of the weight off one foot onto another whenever possible.

Exercise Regularly

Engaging in physical activity on a regular basis, rather than sporadic and intense workouts, has proven to be an effective way to prevent, manage, and reduce back pain between the shoulder blades. Regular exercise allows muscles to become stronger and more flexible, improving posture and helping to protect against episodes of future back pain.

Physicians typically advise a combination of aerobic exercises – such as brisk walking or jogging – performing strength training exercises with weights or resistance bands, stretching to maintain flexibility, and core stability exercises. Core stability exercises are a form of fitness training that focuses on developing abdominal and trunk muscles that absorb a large portion of the shock transmitted through the back when we perform physical activities. To prevent episodes of back pain between the shoulder blades specifically, it is necessary to focus on strengthening lower back muscles in addition to those around the shoulder girdle while keeping the spine properly aligned during these exercises.

A regular exercise regimen may also help one gain better control over muscle tension patterns so that certain involuntary movements that destroy posture are reduced or eliminated entirely. When this occurs there is less stress placed upon the bones and joints in our spine which result in fewer episodes of chronic pain occurring between our shoulders. For more information about specific types of exercise for causes of back pain between your shoulder blades please consult with your physician for advice before gathering an appropriate treatment plan specifically tailored to your needs.

Use Proper Lifting Techniques

Using proper lifting techniques can help to prevent and relieve back pain, particularly between the shoulder blades. When lifting a heavy object, it is important not to bend over at the waist. Instead, you should squat down, bending at the knees and keeping a straight back while bringing the object up close to your body. Maintain good posture when carrying a heavy load as this will ensure that the weight is evenly distributed across your body instead of putting all of the strain on one side. If you need to twist or turn while carrying a heavy item, make sure to pivot your feet instead of attempting to move your upper body alone.

Additionally, it is important not to lift objects that are too large or too heavy for you – always get help if necessary. Lastly, it’s important to take frequent breaks if you are engaged in a physically taxing activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pain between the shoulder blades can be caused by a variety of conditions, including poor posture, muscle strain, arthritis, a herniated disc, or a pinched nerve. Other causes can include fibromyalgia, injury, overuse, and infection. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause.

  1. Take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind.
  2. Roll your shoulders backward and forward a few times.
  3. Reach your arms up and over your head and interlock your fingers. Gently pull your arms away from your body and hold the stretch for a few seconds.
  4. Stand against a wall in a doorway or corner and hug yourself. 5. Perform shoulder blade squeezes.
  5. Try self-massage with a foam roller or tennis ball.
  6. Perform chest-opening stretches.
  7. Do strengthening exercises for your upper back.
  8. Get a professional massage or other bodywork.

If upper back pain between the shoulder blades does not improve after several days of home treatment and rest, or if it is accompanied by other signs or symptoms such as fever, chest pain, tightness in the chest, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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