What are the top causes of pain between the shoulder blades?

What Causes Pain Between Shoulder Blades

What causes pain between the shoulder blades? Several factors may contribute to shoulder blade pain, also known as interscapular pain. Besides muscle strains, this type of pain could also indicate cancer, a heart attack or other more severe issues.

You feel pain when something is wrong with your body. There are lots of reasons why you might be experiencing shoulder pain.

What causes pain between the shoulder blades?

The shoulder blades can become painful when any part of the body near them develops an issue. As a result, nerve signals are sent that result in shoulder pain despite the pain originating elsewhere. This type of pain is called referred or radiating pain, and it can originate from the following:

  • Bulging or herniated discs — Your nerves or spine can be irritated or pressed by a herniated disc in the cervical spine. The result can be shoulder pain. Herniated disc symptoms also include:
    • Tingling.
    • Arm pain.
    • Numbness.
    • Neck pain that is positional, meaning that it gets better or worse when you bend your neck or extend it.
  • Strain in the muscles — What causes pain between the shoulder blades can be triggered by a muscle strain (pulled muscle), typically, the rhomboid muscles. This can happen from:
    • Golf, tennis or other activities that require twisting.
    • Poor posture when standing or sitting for long periods, especially leaning forward.
    • Inadequate support from your mattress.
    • Heavy lifting.
  • Cancer — In rare lung cancer cases (specifically Pancoast tumors), referred pain is possible. A tumor can irritate nerves at the top of the lung and cause radiating pain between the shoulder blades. Pain in this area may also result from the following cancers:
    • Cancer of the esophagus.
    • Lymphomas.
    • Mesothelioma.
    • Cancer of the liver.
  • Acid reflux — The area between the shoulder blades can be painful due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These other symptoms are also associated with GERD:
    • Hoarse voice.
    • An aching feeling in the chest.
    • Problems with swallowing.
  • Pancreatic inflammation — A pancreatic inflammation may also cause pain that radiates into the shoulder blade area. This is due to its proximity to your diaphragm, a muscle partially attached to your spine located in your chest.

What causes pain between shoulder blades varies from person to person, and discomfort between the shoulder blades can be caused by many factors. A physical therapist can help you determine the source of your shoulder blade-area pain and help you find effective treatment for it.

Find physical therapy that can help ease the pain between your shoulder blades

If you’re considering what causes pain between shoulder blades in your current physical state, Franklin Rehabilitation has physical therapists who can treat your shoulder pain. We can perform a free screening to determine the cause of your pain between your shoulder blades. Moreover, our therapists can design a customized physical therapy plan for you that focuses on reducing your pain and preventing it from returning. 

Contact us for more information or schedule an appointment with our team if you suffer from pain between your shoulder blades.