What does it mean if I have pain between my shoulder blades?

When you lift your arm and use your shoulder to reach for your coffee mug in the mornings or when you pick up your laundry basket off the floor, do you notice a pain in between your shoulder blades? Approximately 18% to 26% of adults in the U.S. experience shoulder pain at some point in their lives. If you’re one of them, find out here what your shoulder pain could mean and how PT can help you.

What are some of the potential causes of pain between your shoulder blades?

There are many reasons why you might be feeling pain in between your shoulder blades. If you have recently developed this pain or haven’t seen a medical professional for a diagnosis yet, you may be left wondering why you’re in pain. These are some of the most common reasons why someone could be feeling pain between their shoulder blades: 

  • Muscle strain — One of the most common reasons for pain between the shoulder blades is muscle strain. Overusing the shoulder muscles, pulling your muscles the wrong way or lifting items that are too heavy can place strain on the muscles and result in painful tearing and inflammation.|
  • Muscle tension — Too much tension that’s built up in the muscles can lead to knots of muscle and areas that become uncomfortable to move. Muscle tension and stiffness can result from too much activity, too much inactivity, injury, and stress.
  • Arthritis — You may be surprised to learn that arthritis can also cause pain in between or around the shoulder blades. Arthritis is a condition that involves inflammation in the joints and can cause pain, stiffness and serious discomfort. It can affect any joints in the body including the shoulder joints. In cases where the shoulders become affected by arthritis, a person may feel pain and inflammation in one or more areas of the shoulder.
  • Herniated discs — Everybody has discs in between the vertebrae in their back. When one of these discs becomes herniated or slips, it can cause pain between the shoulder blades. This is especially true if it’s a disc located higher in the back, toward the neck and shoulders.
  • Pinched nerve — Sometimes shoulder pain can result from pinched or compressed nerves. When one of the nerves in your shoulder or back becomes compressed from some other tissue or bone in the body, it can cause pain and discomfort in nearby regions.
  • Traumatic injury — Are you an athlete who has sustained an injury to their shoulder in the past? Perhaps you’ve been involved in a car accident and suffered an injury to your upper body. Traumatic injuries can cause lingering pain and discomfort in the area where they occurred, including the shoulder blades.
  • Scar tissue — If you’ve ever been injured in the past, you may have an excess growth of scar tissue. Scar tissue can cause tightness and discomfort in the tissue and may be the source of pain between the shoulder blades. 

When should you get treatment for the pain in between your shoulder blades?

It’s time to schedule a visit with a physical therapist if your shoulder pain has lasted longer than a week or two and your symptoms are interfering with your ability to perform daily functions. It’s always a good idea to consult with a professional even if you think you may be fine. They’ll help determine the severity of your condition and what type of treatment you may need.

How can physical therapy help someone with pain in between their shoulder blades?

Physical therapy is an effective exercise-based treatment solution for those looking to address the source of their shoulder pain. Here’s what they can do to help:

  • Relieve pain and discomfort.
  • Teach you how to prevent future pain and discomfort.
  • Improve your shoulder’s range of motion.
  • Reduce muscle tension and stiffness.

Lattimore PT can address your shoulder pain with effective treatment

Lattimore Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation Network started in 1992. John and Cindy Shuman, husband and wife, first launched their own physical therapy practice intending to improve the quality of life of each community member. Since 1992, Lattimore PT has opened dozens of different locations across New York.

Our team of licensed physical therapists across the state is dedicated to understanding the best treatment for you. We specialize in taking a “hands-on,” interactive approach with each of our patients to provide them with the best care possible. We aim to make each physical therapy session enjoyable yet productive. The ultimate mark of success is a patient who feels positively impacted by our work. Are you ready to experience “the Lattimore way”?

We’re more than qualified to help address your shoulder pain concerns in a productive and professional environment. We’ll do our best to make sure that you experience treatment in a way that works best for you. We treat a wide variety of conditions and patients with unique circumstances. You are not just another diagnosis when you come to our clinic. We believe that each patient deserves help. Let us be the ones to give you the treatment you need.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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