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What Causes Pain Between the Shoulder Blades?

If you’ve ever felt a nagging pain between your shoulder blades, you know how distracting it can be. Whether it creeps up during a long day at the desk or hits you after some heavy lifting, this kind of discomfort is not only annoying — it can really hold you back from enjoying your daily life. At Performance Sports Medicine Institute, we hear about this problem often, and we’re here to help. Let’s dive into what causes this pain and how you can prevent or treat it.


Common Causes

Posture and Muscle Strain

Poor posture is one of the most frequent sources of pain between shoulder blades. Slouching or sitting for extended periods without adequate back support may lead to muscle fatigue and strain. This type of shoulder blade pain typically feels like a dull ache and may be accompanied by muscle stiffness.

A muscle strain may also occur from sudden movements or overexertion, such as lifting heavy objects without proper form. If left untreated, this type of pain can become chronic and affect your mobility.

Injury and Overuse

Injuries like herniated discs and scapular fractures can cause pain between the shoulder blades, often due to accidents or physical trauma. A herniated disc happens when the soft inside of a spinal disc pushes out and pinches nerves, causing sharp back pain. Scapular fractures, though not as common because muscles protect them, can occur from hard hits or falls, leading to intense pain and limited arm mobility.

Overuse injuries come from doing the same activities repeatedly, which puts stress on the muscles of the shoulder and back, eventually causing pain. Recognizing these symptoms early and getting medical help to recover properly is important.


Stress can manifest in many ways, including pain between shoulder blades. When we are stressed, our muscles tense up, which can result in painful knots and spasms. As a response to stress, our bodies may also release certain hormones that can cause inflammation and discomfort in the back. In addition to causing physical pain, chronic stress may also lead to poor posture and habits that further contribute to pain between shoulder blades.

Treatment and Prevention Strategies

Effective management of pain between shoulder blades involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments, medical treatments, and, in some cases, surgical interventions. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and ensuring proper posture during daily activities can significantly help reduce the risk of developing interscapular pain.

Live Free From Shoulder Pain

Don’t let the pain between your shoulder blades hold you back any longer. At Performance Sports Medicine Institute (PSMI), we’re committed to helping you regain your comfort and mobility. Our team of experts is ready to provide personalized treatments and strategies tailored to your specific needs. Book your appointment with PSMI today and take the first step towards a pain-free life.

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