Upper Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades – Causes and Treatment

fix upper back pain between shoulder blades

The pain between your shoulder blades is quite common and may reappear every now and then. It is a type of discomfort that most doctors would name an interscapular pain. Painful sensations vary widely in how they feel, as well as their intensity. For example, some people feel soreness or dull pain, while others have shooting pain. It hits the superior part of the back. In most cases, there is not much to be concerned about. In other situations, you might need to see a doctor.

Learning how to fix upper back pain between shoulder blades goes in two different directions. First, you need to understand the causes of this issue. Once you have the causes, you can prevent it or ameliorate it by paying attention to them. Second, there are various things you can do to make the pain go away, whether or not you work on the causes too. Now, what should you know in terms of causes and triggers?

Causes of upper back pain between shoulder blades

There are a series of different causes that may lead to this unpleasant pain. An injury – even if not so obvious – is the most common one. An injury does not necessarily have to be an accident. It does not always need to take you off work. Instead, a simple action could cause an internal injury that might seem irrelevant at first. It could be insignificant in the beginning, but it may gain in intensity later on – even over the next day.

Heavy lifting is the most common cause of injuries. Various types of exercises may also affect the back and cause unpleasant effects. Other similar activities are just as common – for example, you might accidentally strain a muscle while sleeping. You may not even be aware of it. Then, longterm causes imply a poor posture, but also your work or lifestyle. Sitting in front of a computer for many hours a day may cause this problem.

Before learning how to fix upper back pain between shoulder blades, you should also know that injuries to different parts of the body could be quite harmful as well. A spine fracture or perhaps a rotator cuff tear can cause pain in the upper part of the back. The good news is that most of these causes can be easily dealt with – a few simple changes in your lifestyle or work. Other causes are more difficult to deal with, but they are also rare:

  • Degenerative disc issues
  • Scoliosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Acid reflux
  • Shingles
  • Gallstone
  • Nerve compression
  • Specific types of cancer

How to fix upper back pain between shoulder blades

Now that you are aware of the main causes, you should know that certain applications at home can ameliorate such unpleasant episodes. You can fix upper back pain between shoulder blades without even seeing a doctor. There are home remedies that you can add into your daily routine without any major interruptions. Most of them are based on performing the right types of exercises. So, what kind of physical activity do you need?

1. Basic exercises

Physical activity is not suitable for your back only, but for the whole body – including internal organs. Basically, exercising on a regular basis will strengthen muscles. Of course, you will need specific exercises for the back. The stronger your back is, the less likely you are to get injured or experience such pains. Some of the best exercises you can do include sit-ups, pull-ups and pushups. They will also strengthen other muscles around the core for better support.

push ups

2. Stretching

Simple exercises are not everything, as you can also bring in a plethora of stretching sessions. Yoga is one of the easiest and most popular ones – lots of tutorials available over the Internet. There are more stretching techniques out there. Their role is to boost the circulation to muscles, while it will increase the mobility, relieve the pain and prevent further problems. A doctor, a personal trainer or the Internet could give you plenty of ideas.

  • Here is one of the simplest and most efficient stretches for your back.
  • Cross the right arm over the body.
  • Use the left arm to pull the elbow of the other arm.
  • Simply pull it towards the chest.
  • Hold the position for about 10 seconds, then do the same for the other arm.
  • You can repeat this exercise a few times for each side of the body.

Do it whenever you have a few minutes off – it will greatly improve your comfort and can relieve pain.

Suggested article: 4 Simple Upper Back Stretches To Relieve Tension And Pain

3. Dieting

You may find it difficult to believe – can you fix upper back pain between shoulder blades with a better diet? Absolutely. While the diet should be used in conjunction with other techniques, it does help. Certain foods will promote inflammation throughout the body. They will also make the symptoms worse. Stay away from junk foods or processed foods. Stick to lots of fruits and veggies instead. Omega 3 fatty acids are mandatory, so fish is a great choice too.

4. Resting

This is the most obvious solution when trying to fix the annoying pain between your shoulder blades. Many times, rest will help. Whether or not the pain is caused by an injury, give yourself a good rest. Take a few days off work or perhaps start sleeping more. Less effort will also help – anything that could reduce the impact over the back muscles.

5. Hot and cold therapies

You do not need any sophisticated therapy centers to get a good session. Instead, you can relieve the pain at home with various therapies. Both hot and cold therapies work wonders against this pain. You will need compresses to get it done though. Use cold and hot compresses for about 15 minutes – about four times a day.

6. Different types of therapy

There are more types of therapy out there when interested in how to fix upper back pain between shoulder blades. Therapy can be handy anytime, but it is more efficient when the pain is triggered by an injury or exhaustion at work.

Massage therapy implies relying on a professional. An expert will focus on the area between the blades. Consistency is key because you want the muscular tissues to be fully relaxed. You can also find various devices to try out at home – no need to pay for someone else to do it.

On another hand, an issue caused by a severe injury might be even more problematic. The same rule applies to compressed nerves. Stick to occupational or physical therapy – at this point, you cannot get it done at home, so you will need a professional.

Suggested article: 18 Self Massage Techniques For Different Body Parts

Self Massage Techniques

Medications to fix upper back pain between shoulder blades

Ideally, if you can sort this problem out in a natural manner, go for it. Medications are chemicals and while they can fix upper back pain between shoulder blades, they also come with adverse reactions that may cause other issues.

Some medications will help against this problem because they are categorized as anti-inflammatory drugs. In severe cases, doctors may administer steroids – usually as pills, but injections are also common. Antidepressants may also help, not to mention muscle relaxers. Do not take anything by ear – instead, discuss with your doctor if the pain is exquisite and you might need drugs.

When surgery becomes an option

The actual surgery is a last resort. Most people out there will manage to get rid of the back pain without surgery – even after severe injuries. However, some injuries are quite harsh and may cause various issues. If the pain is severe, a surgery might imply removing some scar tissue. Other times, tendons could also be fixed in the area. About nine out of 10 sufferers will sort this issue out without requiring surgical help though.

When to see a doctor?

Generally speaking, you will not have to see a doctor to fix upper back pain between shoulder blades, but a specialist might be needed if the pain is unusual or severe. Pain underlines the fact that something is wrong. Generally speaking, it is treatable, but in some cases, it could be serious – think about getting it checked out then.

When the shoulder blade pain is associated with other issues, all these signs indicate a more severe problem. For instance, you need to go to a doctor straight away if you also experience sweating, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, loss of vision, fever, and so on. At this point, the pain is obviously not related to a physical problem.

In such cases, the treatment will depend on the condition you suffer from.


Bottom line, learning how to fix upper back pain between shoulder blades is not so difficult because most people can do basic exercises and a few changes in their lifestyles. Sure, this problem could indicate other conditions, but there are certain signs that could raise some question marks. Other than that, the pain is fully treatable at home with the right exercises and a healthy lifestyle.

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