Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Pain between shoulder blades can occur in many forms. The area between shoulder blades is located in the upper back and surrounds there parts of the thoracic spine. Pain Between Shoulder Blades are nerves, muscles, and ribs that end in the vertebral bodies. Pain in this area can be attributed to the numerous anatomical structures in this area, on the one hand, superficial triggers in question, but also the thoracic and upper abdominal organs must not be overlooked, which are protected by the rigid rib skeleton.

Pain Between Shoulder Blades

The many causes of the pain between shoulder blades can be narrowed down by the concrete naming of the location and type of pain. Organic causes may be behind the pain, but they are significantly less likely to be found, as the more probable musculoskeletal complaints.

Very often, the cause of the pain between shoulder blades in the back muscles. The strong muscles of the upper back and the neck can be heavily stressed by certain movements and strength exercises and similar to the sore muscles lead to pain. After strength exercises in the upper back or through sports such as racing, this pain can occur quickly. The neck muscles are also very susceptible to tension and pain. The neck is often not covered by clothing and can thereby undercool and tense. In addition, the neck muscles carry a relatively heavy weight with great flexibility. Even in sleep due to the wrong location can a tension of the muscles occur quickly. This pain can pull along the muscles in the upper back and cause pain between shoulder blades.

Rarely can the spine be responsible for the pain? Disorders of the spine are often due to the intervertebral discs between the individual vertebral bodies. Even in the upper back can cause a herniated disc due to improper loading and heavy lifting. The pain occurs in the middle between the vertebral bodies and can be provoked by movement. In some cases, the pain may radiate into the arms or chest.

In rare cases, thoracic and upper abdominal organs may be behind the pain. Especially with very sudden and very severe pain, but also with permanent pain that can not find a muscular cause, an organic cause must be excluded. In particular, the lungs, heart, and stomach can be affected.
In case of very acute severe pain, there may be an indication of a heart attack. The pain can radiate to the left arm and it can also cause respiratory distress.

Stinging pains that occur more or less suddenly after eating or drinking may be related to the stomach. For example, in case of severe heartburn or gastric ulcer, food intake can cause severe pain, most often behind the sternum but also between shoulder blades. The lungs may also cause pain between shoulder blades. Responsible for this may be inflammation, injuries of the pleura or tumors.

Can this be an indication of lung cancer?

In very rare cases, pain between shoulder blades can find their origin in the lungs. Often only pneumonia is responsible for this. If the pleura is infested, it may develop painfully, as the lungs themselves are not sensitive to pain. Even external injuries to the pleura s, for example, a needle stick or a broken rib could lead to such pain.

However, a slowly progressing, dull ache can also be one of the first symptoms of lung cancer. Because the lungs themselves are not sensitive to pain, the tumor has time to grow and spread locally. Only when the tumor spreads to the edge of the lung, in the chest or in other organs, it comes to the pain. Often a malaise, pressure, and pain in the chest are in the foreground. If the tumor is located in the back of the lungs, it can cause pressure pain between shoulder blades. These increase with time and are little controlled by movement or breathing. If you experience symptoms such as coughing, tiredness or feeling unwell, you should consult a doctor.

Can that come from the heart?

The heart can also provide an organic cause of pain between shoulder blades. A typical symptom constellation in acute cardiac events is severe back and chest pain with tightness and shortness of breath. This may be an acute myocardial infarction. In this case, an ambulance should be called and the affected person should take a seated position and support breathing by supporting the arms.

In already known heart disease, the pain between shoulder blades can occur as an occasional attack after a short period of stress. Depending on the degree of severity, just a few meters or steps of the movement are enough to trigger a pain. There is a constriction of the coronary vessels, which limits the oxygen supply to the heart.

Can that come from the stomach?

The stomach is in the upper abdomen and reaches below the ribs. Pain in the stomach can be projected onto the sternum, ribs or between shoulder blades. The most common cause of this is heartburn. Too fatty foods, caffeine, alcohol or nicotine can lead to excessive acid production in the stomach, which irritates the mucous membrane there. This can cause a burning sensation in the chest and between shoulder blades. In case of severe irritation, an ulcer may occur in the stomach, which also causes severe pain in connection with the food.

This painful mucosal irritation heals itself within several weeks if no further acid acts on it. The therapy consists of the reduction of the acid in the stomach.

Can that come from the pancreas?

A very dreaded and rare disease is pancreatic cancer. This is not noticeable over a very long period of time and first symptoms often appear only after a proliferation and spread. Pain between shoulder blades is a very non-specific, potential symptom of the pancreas. Often there are constant, slight, diffuse pressure pains, which do not get much worse and do not get better. Even in this case, a cause in the pancreas is still very unlikely, as well as many spinal changes cause similar pain.

Accompanying symptoms

The accompanying symptoms are very dependent on the cause of the pain between shoulder blades. The accompanying symptoms may also provide further evidence of a cause, such as an organ area, and facilitate the diagnosis. Muscular problems are often associated with pulling or burning pain, aggravated by movement. Complications of the thoracic spine can be acute or slow creeping. Surrounding nerves may be affected, causing pain and tingling, numbness or even paralysis.

Organic causes are rarely noticeable only with back pain. In acute diseases of a particular organ more specific symptoms occur. Heart complaints can cause chest pain, left arm pain, shortness of breath and fainting. Even with diseases in the lungs, an increasing respiratory distress can occur.

Where does stinging pain come from?

Stinging pain speaks for an acute pain that has a direct trigger. Muscular complaints or spinal disorders are rarely acute but can be caused by wrong movements here, a stinging pain. If it comes without a recognizable cause or movement to a strong stabbing pain between shoulder blades an organic disease can behind it. A heart attack or gastric ulcer are typical causes of acute, sudden, stabbing pain.

Pain between shoulder blades while breathing

Breath-dependent pain can, in turn, stand for several clinical pictures. Breathing raises and lowers the chest, causing movement in the ribs, neck and upper back muscles. In case of severe pain in the muscles, the respiratory movement can trigger stinging pain. The ribs or the bony spine may also be damaged if the respiratory movement causes pain.

Breathing-dependent pain may also be localized in the lungs. There, only the pleura is sensitive to pain, rubbing along the inner layer of the pelvic skin with each breath. If there are inflammations or large tumors in the lungs, they can rub painfully on the pleura during respiration.

Blockage of the thoracic spine

At the thoracic spine, blockages of individual vertebrae can trigger the pain between shoulder blades. This is especially common in the upper part of the thoracic spine or in the cervical spine. A wrong movement can cause the joints between two vertebral bodies to block, resulting in an acute stabbing, fast-shooting pain. The vertebral body is restricted in its movement. The musculature strains itself strongly, which is why the resolution of the blockade can take some time. By slight manipulation, ie manual intervention, the blockade can be reversed. Thereafter, the musculature must be relaxed by exercise therapy.

Pain between shoulder blades after eating

If the pain occurs immediately after eating, the cause may be in the stomach. By eating the stomach is stretched. If there is already an irritation of the stomach, for example, through an ulcer, any food intake can be very painful with pain that radiates to the back . Until the healing process, you must consume easily tolerated foods and avoid fatty foods. In rare cases, there may also be a hole in the diaphragm through which the stomach enters the chest cavity. This is called a “thoracic stomach”. As the stomach stretches through the food, it presses on surrounding organs and can cause pain.

When coughing and cold

Coughing is a reflex to remove foreign matter from the airways. The diaphragm bends abruptly and also the entire respiratory aid muscles contract. Muscular damage can make any a cough very painful. Even with longer infections and colds, the cough can be painful. Due to the many tensions in the muscles when coughing, the muscles can hurt and burn like a sore muscle.


The diagnosis must always be started with a specific questioning of the time, place and type of pain . Also accompanying symptoms and potential triggers can provide important clues. Subsequently, further investigations can be carried out. For muscular complaints the cause can often be determined by a physical examination . For the diagnosis of the thoracic and upper abdominal organs numerous means are available. For example, recurrent pains emanating from the heart, a so-called catheter examination revealing possible bottlenecks of the coronary arteries.

What to do if there is pain between the shoulder blades?

The therapy varies greatly with the identified cause.
Muscular complaints often require no therapy. Only mild massages and thermal therapies can speed healing. Also, spinal diseases can be treated poorly. In the case of chronic ailments, especially muscle building and exercises to support the spine are needed. Even with a herniated disc of the spine in most cases, asymptomatic pain therapy is performed. Only in some cases, surgery may be necessary.

The treatment of diseases of the lung, heart, stomach or pancreas must be very specific to the disease. A heart attack has to be treated in a clinic according to certain criteria. These include medical as well as interventional therapies. Tumors that are rarely behind the pain may be treated surgically and medically.

Tap against the pain

When taping two basic methods must be distinguished. There is a conventional tape that is stuck tightly to the skin, restricts movement and supports joint functions . Today, however, one often speaks of the so-called ” Kinesio tape “. This is an elastic tape that is also stuck tightly to the skin. It does not restrict the movement but should cause by the slight external pulling effect that movements performed consciously becomes. This should lead to fewer jerky movements, so that less frequent strains and tension occur. In addition, the tape promotes blood circulation under the skin and provides a warming effect. The tape can be used in sports for prevention or in case of muscular injuries to support the therapy.

Duration of pain between the shoulder blades

The duration of pain between shoulder blades depends on the cause and the therapeutic success of the Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades. Depending on the severity, muscular symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Strong strains and torn muscle fibers, above all, require a long healing time. In the case of complaints of the thoracic spine, care must be taken that the back pain does not become chronic, If the pain is not treated adequately in time, it can persist for a long time. At 6 months pain duration one speaks already of a chronic pain. The duration of organic diseases cannot be predicted. Heart disease, for example, can worsen over years. Drug and surgical therapies can often halt the progression of the disease but can not cure the disease.

Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades – Causes & Therapy

The neck feels stiff and tense, and you feel pain in the upper spine? Pain in the upper back can be very uncomfortable. We explain where these complaints come from and how you can effectively relieve back pain.

Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as poor posture or sitting, bad bending, and lifting, or sports injuries.

When the Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades hurts up – symptoms

Upper Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades usually affects the cervical vertebrae or the areas of the thoracic spine. They manifest in symptoms similar to lower back pain: stiffness, muscular tension, and restricted mobility.

Some sufferers complain in the morning after getting over pressing and acute Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades in the upper part of the spine. These can cause the neck and shoulders to stiffen, which is extremely uncomfortable and limits the ability to move. In addition, the back problems can cause headaches – especially if the pain is in the neck.

Pain Between Shoulder Blades – causes

Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:

Muscular injuries or joint fractures (inflammation):

They are the most common cause of upper back pain. They mostly occur in the muscles around the shoulder blades. The main joint of the shoulder, the Glenohumeral joint, connects the arms to the torso. This joint is the most flexible in the whole body – and therefore the most unstable.

To compensate for this vulnerability, the shoulder consists of a variety of strong muscles that support the joint while allowing a variety of movements. These muscles extend over the upper back and shoulders. They are very prone to injury, which in turn can cause pain.

Living habits:

Certain lifestyle habits can contribute to tension and pain in the upper back, such as repeated unilateral load on the back due to:

  • too little sport or excessive sport with the wrong technique
  • overweight
  • Too long sitting, especially with a wrong, one-sided attitude: For example, stop reflex posture, in which the upper part of the back is strongly rounded and leads to painful muscle tension.
  • the lifting of heavy objects
  • a permanently high-stress load

Other causes:

There are a number of diseases that can cause upper back pain. Many of them are spinal problems, including herniated discs, pinched nerves, rheumatism or “sweating” arthritis of the vertebral joints in the cervical and thoracic vertebrae. In some cases, Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades in the thoracic spine, tightness of the upper body and shortness of breath may also be signs of a heart attack. In case of severe pain, consult a doctor immediately!

What treatment options are there?

If the cause of your Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades is a muscular injury or muscle strain, you can treat the affected area with an ice compress – a bag of frozen peas is one of the simplest solutions here.

An analgesic gel containing, for example, active ingredients such as ibuprofen or a herbal medicine such as arnica can help reduce Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades and make your upper back more flexible. Devil’s Claw can also be used internally for general joint pain.

If the Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades persists or recurs, your doctor may also prescribe a manual therapy to a physical therapist or chiropractor. The treatment can include massages and manual movements of the joint so that it loosens and restores the ability to move. The treatment also includes exercises that should be done at home and during the day.

If you want, you can also buy guidebooks in which exercises for strengthening the back are presented.

6 home remedies for Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Do you have backs too? Three out of four Germans suffer from back pain. The good news is that over 90 percent of all Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades is usually harmless. Only very rarely is behind the pain in the back a serious disease. And you can do a few things yourself so that your symptoms disappear quickly. Just try it with the power of nature. We present proven home remedies for back pain.

1. arnica in muscle and Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Arnica is a true all-rounder. Arnica contains essential oils, flavonoids, and coumarins. These ingredients relieve muscle and Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades and inhibit inflammation. Arnica also has a relaxing effect. In the pharmacy, you get  Arnica Ointment. Simply apply the ointment directly to the painful areas and massage in gently.

2. hay flower sack – a natural painkiller

A hay flower sack has real depth effect. The hay flowers stimulate the metabolism and have antineuralgic and antirheumatic effects. In addition, hay flowers solve cramps, silent pain and have a positive effect on cross and back problems due to their skin-irritating, warming effect. Just put the warm hay flower sack on the painful area for about an hour. If you do not have time for haymaking, you can buy ready-made hayloft sacks from the pharmacy.

3. Juniper has a stimulating and anti-rheumatic effect

Juniper is a medicinal herb known since antiquity. Juniper oil has many positive effects. So the stimulating juniper oil should work wonders for Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades and tension in the shoulder and neck area. Juniper oil promotes blood circulation and relieves tension. Juniper oil also helps with rheumatism, arthritis, and gout. Simply apply the diluted juniper oil in a circular motion to the affected area. A juniper oil bath additionally warms the muscles and helps to loosen tension in the back and neck area. Add a few drops of juniper oil to 33 degrees warm water. Finally, brings you a cold font back on track.

4. Good for the cross: infusion of willow bark extract

An infusion of willow bark extract is a proven home remedy for Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades and osteoarthritis. The active ingredients in the willow bark are similar to the drug acetylsalicylic acid. Willow bark has an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic effect. You can easily make this home remedy yourself. You’ll need a teaspoon of chopped willow bark (use bark from young twigs) and 250 milliliters of boiling water. Simply sprinkle the finely cut willow bark with the hot water. Let it rest for about 20 minutes. For back pain, drink several times daily a cup of hot willow bark tea. Alternatively, buy willow bark extract for infusion in the pharmacy.

5. Camphor – proven home remedy for back Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades

The medicinal plant camphor irritates and stimulates blood circulation. In addition, camphor relieves local pain. This relaxes and warms cramped aching muscles and helps with joint and back pain. Camphor is often offered in combination with other essential oils such as rosemary, eucalyptus, menthol, and clove as a blood circulation ointment. Just apply in the morning and evening to the painful area.

6. Medicinal herb rosemary relieves Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Rosemary oil contains the essential oils borneol and cineole. The popular spice plant stimulates blood circulation, vascular toning, invigorating and warming. Rosemary oil is a good bath additive for those who have it in the cross. Just put a few drops in the 33-degree warm bath. In addition, rosemary increases blood pressure and strengthens the consciousness.

Pain Between Shoulder Blades
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