It is usual to experience pain between the shoulder blades. Interscapular pain is what doctors call this type of discomfort.
People with shoulder blade pain often have aching, dull, painful, or shooting pain in the top area of their back between their shoulder blades. Leaving people with urgent desires to relieve pain.
Most of the time, shoulder blade pain isn’t a cause for concern. However, when feel chronic pain symptoms, it can be an indication of a more serious condition in other circumstances. Continue reading to learn more about this prevalent issue and how it can be handled or avoided.
What Are the Causes?
There are numerous potential causes of chronic pain between your shoulder blades. Muscle or tendon damage around the shoulder blades is a common cause of this type of pain. More serious causes may also exist. Below are the causes, explained.
Strains in the Muscles
Muscle strains can be caused by;
- bad posture
- working for long amounts of time at a computer
- other activities, even during sleep
Other injuries to your body can also cause pain between your shoulder blades. These injuries might include:
- tears in the rotator cuff
- fractured spine
- dislocation of the shoulder
- tears and other trauma-causing injuries
- Other reasons
Other possible reasons of shoulder blade pain include:
- a ruptured or bulging disc in the spine, or degenerative disc disease
- spinal stenosis, or spinal cord narrowing
- reflux of acid
- syndrome of myofascial pain
- lung cancer, lymphomas, liver cancer, oesophageal cancer, mesothelioma, and malignancies that spread to the bones
- compression of the nerves
Emergency Causes that make People Suffer Chronic Pain
Some abrupt incidents that cause shoulder pain necessitate immediate attention. These can frequently produce excruciating pain, but not always. These are some examples:
A heart attack occurred. Shoulder blade pain can occur at times.
a symptom of a heart attack, particularly in women. Other indications, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, may also be present. If you experience these symptoms, seek emergency medical attention.
Aortic dissection, also known as thoracic aorta rupture, occurs when there is a tear or rupture in the inner layer of the aorta, which is a large blood vessel that branches off from your heart. This may result in a strong pain in your upper middle back. If this occurs, contact your local emergency services immediately. Aortic tears are classified as a medical emergency.
Embolism of the Lungs
People who are undergoing a pulmonary embolism report a sudden, severe pain in their shoulder blades, typically accompanied by shortness of breath. This could be due to blood clots breaking off in their legs and migrating to their lungs. If you suspect you have a pulmonary embolism, get emergency medical attention right once.
How Chronic Pain Affect People
The scapula, commonly termed the shoulder blade, is a big flat, triangular bone midway up your back. You have two, one on either side of your back.
A network of muscles surrounds and attaches to the scapula, supporting and maintaining its posture. These muscles make it possible for you to move your arms.
The posture of the scapula may shift if an accident or ailment weakens or otherwise destroys these muscles. Dykinesis refers to a shift in the position or motion of the scapula. It’s a prevalent source of shoulder blade discomfort.
More serious reasons of shoulder blade pains include a heart attack, cancer, or a blood clot. It’s critical to see a doctor for a diagnosis, especially if your pain is sudden or severe.
Shoulder blade pain symptoms may include;
- Around the scapula, there is discomfort that might be subtle or acute.
- A lack of strength in the afflicted arm, particularly when performing overhead movements.
- A restricted range of motion that makes raising your arm above your shoulder difficult.
- As you move your shoulder, you hear a snapping sound.
- Winging is a noticeable projection of the scapula.
- A skewed stance on the affected side.
When Should You See a doctor to Treat Chronic Pain?
You should consult a doctor if your pain is extreme, strange, or doesn’t go away. Pain is an indication that something is amiss. Your situation may not be critical, but it could be. If it irritates you in any way, you should have it looked out.
If your shoulder blade discomfort is accompanied by other symptoms, you may have a life-threatening disease that necessitates immediate medical attention. Seek medical attention right away if you have pain between your shoulder blades and the accompanying symptoms:
- breathing difficulty
- chest pain
- sweating excessively
- discomfort, edema, or redness in your legs
- spitting up blood
- heart rate that is too fast or too slow
- sudden difficulty speaking
- vision impairment
- paralysis on one side of your body
- loss of consciousness
Managing chronic pain
Treatment for your shoulder blade pain will depend on the cause and severity of your condition. Recovery time will vary from person to person.
Natural cures: Some people get relief from shoulder blade pain through home remedies.
Exercise: Exercise can help strengthen parts of your back, potentially alleviating shoulder pain.
A study published in 2020 discovered that exercise therapy was just as beneficial as corticosteroid injections or shoulder decompression surgery in alleviating shoulder discomfort.
To minimize your shoulder pain with exercise, it’s better to consult with a physical therapist. They will create a workout routine tailored to your individual condition. That way, you’ll know your exercises are benefiting rather than harming your shoulder. Your primary care physician might be able to refer you to a physical therapist.
Back and abdominal muscle strengthening exercises include:
Diet: Certain foods might cause inflammation in your body, which can aggravate your symptoms. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods. Choosing meals strong in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, may also assist.
Rest: Rest is sometimes all that is required to recover from shoulder blade discomfort, especially if it is the result of an injury.
Cold or hot therapy: Using hot and cold compresses between your shoulder blades may help ease pain. Typically, they should be used for 15 minutes at a period, every few hours.
Physical therapy: Physical therapy may provide relief in many circumstances, especially if the pain is caused by overuse of your muscles or joints, or an accident.
Massage Treatment: A massage therapist can concentrate on the muscles between your shoulder blades to calm them. You can also purchase handheld massage gadgets to use at home.
Occupational therapy: If you suffer an injury or a pinched nerve, your doctor may advise you to undergo occupational therapy. A therapist will assist you in performing activities that may alleviate problems.
Medications: Certain drugs can help you get rid of the pain and stiffness between your shoulder blades. These may include anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB).
Steroids are sometimes given as a tablet or injection to help with pain and inflammation. These are corticosteroids, as opposed to anabolic steroids, which are used to build muscle.
Muscle relaxants and antidepressants are also sometimes administered for pain management in shoulder blade problems.
Surgery: Surgery is only used in rare cases to treat shoulder issues.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), nonsurgical treatments such as changing activities, rest, exercise, and pharmaceuticals help the vast majority of persons with shoulder blade pain.
Surgery is often reserved for situations involving:
- severe shoulder blade discomfort
- arthritis that is severe
- fracture of the shoulder blade
- surgically treated injuries
If your doctor recommends surgery, it may involve the removal of scar tissue or the repair of tendons in your shoulder or upper back. Shoulder replacement surgery is another option.
Diagnosing the Chronic Pain
Your doctor will begin the diagnosis process by discussing your medical history and symptoms with you. They will then perform a physical check on your shoulder and scapula to look for areas of weakness, soreness, or tightness.
Your doctor may also do muscle and resistance strength tests to determine the root of your shoulder blade disease.
They may also order imaging tests like:
- CT scan
- MRI examination
Your doctor may send you to a specialist such as a neurologist or an orthopaedist for a further diagnosis and specialised therapy.
For more information on chronic pain management, pain disorders, chronic pain resources, psychogenic pain, effective chronic pain treatment options or other physical therapy, you should book a consultation session with a specialist at Chronic Therapy today, to give you professional advice that will suit your personal experience.
Also, for people with chronic pain who are constantly worried on how to treat chronic pain or get their chronic pain treated, our specialist at Chronic Therapy have made huge success over the year in recommending reliable resources to manage chronic pain from nerve pain or any other developing chronic pain conditions.
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