• Justin Nassra LMT

What Causes Shoulder Blade Pain & How Do You Treat It

If Sitting down at a desk and computer all-day pain & discomfort between your shoulder blades is an unfortunately all too common feeling. People who experience shoulder blade pain usually have a dulling aching sensation or shooting pain in the upper part of their back between their shoulder blades.

There could be a number of possible causes as to why you are experiencing the pain in your shoulder blades. Straining a muscle or tendon is one of the most common causes of this type of discomfort.

Some muscles strains can result from:

  • Heavy lifting

  • Poor posture

  • Sitting at a computer for extended periods of time

  • Exercising with poor form

In some cases, you can even strain a muscle in your sleep (we’ve all woken up with some type of ache before) Stiff necks are one of the most common.

Expirencincing an injury such as rotator cuff tears, spine fractures, or other injuries that

cause trauma can contribute to pain between your shoulder blades.

A couple of home self-treatments that people have had success with are:

  • Exercise: For overall health, exercise is very crucial. From a fitness standpoint general fitness exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, plank holds, etc, can all help strength areas in your back, that could help with the pain.

  • Stretching: I’m a huge fan of stretching, but only when it’s done in productively. You can go ahead and stretch your upper back all you want but more times than not you are just overstretching the muscle even more and probably doing more harm than good. The majority of people do not have good posture. In fact, people with poor posture suffer more from discomfort in their shoulder blades. Think about it if you are sitting down the majority of your day at a computer and your upper back is hunched for hours at a time you are stretching the muscles on the posterior side of the body. You need to be doing the opposite which is opening up your pecs and shoulders from the anterior side of the body because they are in such a flexed position for long periods of time.

A couple of assisted therapies that you can revert to that can help with the issue is:

  • Massage Therapy: A massage therapist can work areas in your specific nagging areas in your shoulder blade to relax the muscle tissue, that you can’t seem to get rid of.

  • Physical Therapy: If you have undergone an injury or have a compressed nerve your physician may recommend you see a physical therapist. Your therapist will help you perform certain exercises that could improve your symptoms.

Some common good practices that you can start doing are, practice good posture, lifting heavy items with good form- not just yanking with your back and sitting in intervals- if your job has you sitting for the majority of your day, take mini-breaks every 30 mins to stretch out or try switching on and off from a seated position while you work to a standing position.

Justin Nassra LMT

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