Published on April 15, 2014
What Causes Pain In-between Shoulder Blades?
Pain in between the shoulder blades can often feel as if there is a deep knot between your spine and your scapula (the bone that connects the shoulder to your spine). However, what many do not realize is that the pain in-between the shoulder blades can be coming from the neck and/or cervical spine area. This is because the nerve that innervates the muscles between the shoulder blades comes from the cervical spine. Cervicogenic Dorsalgia is the main diagnosis for this type of pain.
Cervicogenic Dorsalgia is often treated by soft tissues therapy, massage and fascial release techniques. This helps decrease the tension and tightness of the muscles that connect from the mid-back to the cervical spine / neck. When muscles become tense and tight from hours of repetitive strain such as, sitting at a computer desk all day with no intermittent periods of standing, they can compress the joints where the nerves exit the spine, travel to the mid back and pain can be felt in between the shoulder blades.
Cervical traction is a technique that can also be used to help distract the cervical joints and relax the tissues that surround them. This will help decrease the pressure on the joints and nerves that innervate the muscles of the upper back. Heat can also be applied to increase blood flow and circulation to these areas.
If sitting for long periods of time, frequent breaks from your desk is recommended as one of the best treatment methods to prevent pain in-between the shoulder blades. Stretching often is very important to help keep the muscles lengthened. Below are explanations of the stretches that should be completed:
- Hold onto a chair and tilt your head in the opposite direction of the hand that is holding on. Use the other hand to gently pull the head and add extra pressure. This will stretch your trapezius and levator scapula muscles, which connect from the neck to the shoulder blades.
- Use a door handle to lean over and traction your shoulder in order to stretch the shoulder blade away from the spine.
- Place the thumbs at the base of the head, with the fingers pointed upwards on the head. Gently pull upwards, creating space between the joints to traction the neck. This will help decrease the neural tension between the shoulder blades.