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Why Do I Have Pain Between the Shoulder Blades?

WTHN Team/10.09.21

Why Do I Have Pain Between the Shoulder Blades?

Why Do I Have Pain Between the Shoulder Blades?

There are few things more frustrating than having back issues, and that is especially true in your upper back. It can even be concerning if the pain continues for multiple days. Is it something bad? Did you sleep wrong? Should you go see a doctor? Is it something that you could fix yourself?

Unfortunately, back pain plagues many of us. Let’s dive into all the possible reasons behind pain between the shoulder blades and what you can do to alleviate it.

Upper Back Pain Causes

There are plenty of reasons why your upper back may be bothering you, and not all of them are obvious. Taking a hit or clumsily backing into something can bruise you, but sometimes the body gives us aches and pains that are a little bit harder to explain, especially when it’s hard to see the area in question. 

Interscapular pain, or pain originating from between the shoulder blades, usually comes from a muscle strain of some kind. However, if the pain is acute and excruciating, you should never hesitate to go to urgent/emergency care or call your doctor about it. 

If the pain is less intense, or comes and goes depending on the day, we have good news — you may be able to ease those aches with simple fixes from fixing your posture to just getting better sleep. 

Poor Posture

Many people suffer from excessively poor posture thanks to the massive rise in computer-based employment; people unfortunately spend the majority of their time with slouched shoulders. After spending years in a slouched posture, trying to stand up or sit up straight becomes more and more difficult since the muscles in your back have weakened significantly and can start to hurt after just a few minutes of being in correct posture. 

Poor posture doesn’t just apply to your spine, though. Plenty of physical activities involve a correct posture to prevent you from injuring yourself. For example, when lifting something heavy, you should lift using your knees instead of your back. This will not only provide you with increased lifting power, but will also stop you from hurting yourself. Maintaining proper posture is important, no matter what you’re doing.

How To Fix Poor Posture

The best way to solve poor posture is to become more aware of your body and take steps to improve it. As noted above, your back muscles can weaken if you’re constantly hunched over, but if you spend just a few minutes sitting up straight throughout the day, you will eventually shore up your back muscles for longer periods of correct posture.

You can also purchase ergonomic chairs and desks if you need to sit for long stretches of time at work and don’t always remember to try and sit up straight.

Muscle Strain

On the other side of the spectrum is the overuse of certain muscles. If you have started a new exercise program and went overboard lifting weights or didn’t stretch out properly after exercising, it’s not uncommon to be sore the next day or for a few days afterward. Even stretching sometimes isn’t enough to prevent soreness entirely, especially between the shoulder blades.

If the pain continues for multiple days without easing up in intensity, or is accompanied by other symptoms like shortness of breath, you should see your doctor immediately, as it could be a sign of a serious medical issue or injury.

How Ease Muscle Strain

The best thing for slight muscle strain is actually to continue your exercise program. Some soreness is expected when you first begin or ramp up your intensity. Your muscles must tear down during strenuous activity to signal your body to rebuild the muscles stronger. However, if the pain is severe, you should instead rest or confine yourself to light activity.

Another solution? Our newest blend, Head to Toe Relief, taps Chinese herbs trusted to alleviate discomfort in the moment and the long run - with natural ingredients handpicked for both safety and strength.

Slept Wrong

One of the most common complaints is that people have slept in a strange position overnight and woke up the next morning with muscle aches and cramps. Holding any position for eight hours straight can cause muscle cramps, especially if you have an older bed or a hard mattress.You may also have too many pillows or too few pillows, may be trying to accommodate a partner in bed, or making room for snuggly pets.

However it happens, it is challenging to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day when the first thing you realize is how much your shoulders or the space between your shoulders aches.

How To Get Better Sleep

Unfortunately, it is challenging to solve this type of problem since you can’t do anything while you’re sleeping. Waking yourself up through the night to change positions will likely result in less rest overall. Turning your mattress over or replacing it entirely might be able to help minimize the amount of pain you wake up in.

If the problem is your position, and not your bed, one of the best solutions is to try acupuncture to relieve the muscle aches. Acupuncture can even help you loosen up by releasing tight muscles and increasing your circulation to speed up recovery.

General Stress

In our society, it is not uncommon for people to be under a fair amount of stress, much of which can be carried in the shoulders. This can cause a near perpetual ache between your shoulder blades. On top of everything else that is stressing you out, it can be a serious annoyance to also deal with the pain of trying to manage and shoulder that stress.

How To Deal with the Stress Dilemma

There are plenty of ways to mitigate stress, even when you can’t change the external factors that might have led to the stress in the first place. 

Some people find that exercising can help strengthen shoulder and back muscles to better carry the stress. 

Others find that stretching improves circulation and can relieve pain. 

Meditation or taking me-time can also help relieve stress by temporarily isolating you from the pressures from the world that are imparting the stress.

In addition to these methods, acupuncture is approved to help both pain relief in any area of the body as well as to help balance hormones, improve emotional regulation, and boost your overall mood (which therefore relieves some of the stress you have been dealing with in addition to the pain).

Wrapping It Up: Listen to Your Pain

Pain is how your body tells you that there is something wrong. Unfortunately, many people are out of touch with their bodies or are dealing with non-specific pain and trying to just guess at the issue. 

By staying in tune with your body and trying to address the root cause of your pain, instead of just ignoring it, you are working towards a healthier lifestyle.

If you’re ready to take your first steps towards a pain-free life, we have custom acupuncture treatments which can be specifically tailored for your holistic and unique healing journey. It’s your body and thus your pain, so simply listen and you may be surprised at what it’s telling you!



What Causes Pain Between the Shoulder Blades? Medically reviewed by Grant Hughes, MD

Shoulder Blade Pain: Causes, Treatment, and More

7 Possible Causes of Pain Under Your Shoulder Blade

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