Pain between the shoulder blades or back pain: symptoms and treatments

Pain between the shoulder blades, in the dorsal region, is a frequent cause of consultation worldwide. the same usually indicates a contracture or muscle injuryHowever, it can also be a warning sign of a more serious condition. Next we tell you more.

The interscapular region is made up of the thoracic spine, where the costal arches articulate and a large variety of muscles insert. These musculoskeletal elements are responsible for protecting internal organs such as the heart, lungs and esophagus, as well as the thoracic aorta.

The term backache Refers to pain located in the back of the body, under the shoulders and between the shoulder blades. This is a symptom that expresses the presence of a condition or disease in the spine or adjacent structures. In addition, some thoracic and abdominal pathologies can radiate to this area.

back pain symptoms

The symptoms of pain between the shoulder blades vary depending on the cause. In most cases, back pain is the result of a combination of several pathological agents and affects approximately half of the adult population at some point in their lives.

This discomfort can occur isolated or associated with other pain in the cervical or lumbar region.. In general, the discomfort caused by a muscle twitch is usually limited to one side of the body and worsens with changes in posture.

Similarly, it is common for back pain of muscle origin to be relieved by pressing hard on the area or by applying cold compresses. However, interscapular pain is also the result of inflammatory processes in the spine. In these cases the discomfort will refer to the center of the back and will ease at rest.

Dysfunction of the rib cage and abdominal organs can also present as back pain. Additionally, the person will experience some classic symptoms of the condition. This is the case of sweating, cold and loss of consciousness, typical of an aortic aneurysm.

Possible causes of pain between the shoulder blades

Pain between the shoulder blades can be musculoskeletal or visceral in origin. given the large number of anatomical structures that converge at this level. The condition usually goes away after a couple of days and in some cases it persists over time.

Muscle tear or traction

Effort of the muscles of the dorsal region it is the leading cause of pain between the shoulder blades. Education estimate a prevalence of back pain due to muscle causes from 60% to 85% in the adult population.

Among the situations that contribute to this discomfort are the following:

  • Bad posture when you are standing or sitting.
  • Sports that involve rotation of the body, such as tennis and golf.
  • overworked to lift heavy objects.
  • Sleeping on surfaces with inadequate support.

Likewise, sudden movements and falls can also cause damage to the muscle fibers in the back. If trauma is suspected, it is advisable to apply ice or cold packs and consult a specialist.

The classic golf motion is associated with pain between the shoulder blades from twisting the back.

slipped disc

Herniated discs in the thoracic spine may be responsible for compressing the nerves, promoting pain between the shoulder blades. The intensity of the discomfort varies, worsening when carrying objects or holding the same position for long periods of time.

In most cases, the pain is accompanied by numbness, tingling and heaviness in the shoulder, elbow and forearm. In general, those affected should rest and take painkillers. Advanced cases usually require infiltration.

Rheumatic diseases

Degenerative and inflammatory disorders of the musculoskeletal system can cause pain in various parts of the body. Arthritis is a common disease in the elderly. which can manifest itself with pain in the neck and in the interscapular region.

Other rheumatic causes of back pain include the following:

  • spondyloarthritis.
  • fibromyalgia.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Osteoporosis.

Heart problems

In general, a myocardial infarction usually manifests as severe chest pain that radiates to the shoulder. However, some research they suggest women are more likely than men to experience pain between the shoulder blades in the event of a heart attack.

In most cases, the pain is compressive in nature and persists for more than 30 minutes. In addition, it is often accompanied by nausea, shortness of breath, sweating, paleness and lightheadedness. Given the evidence of these symptoms, do not hesitate to consult.

On the other hand, inflammation of the pericardium covering the heart or pericarditis can also cause chest pain that radiates to the back. This can be exacerbated by breathing deeply or lying down. and is relieved by leaning the chest forward.

Thoracic aortic aneurysm

An aneurysm is a dilated artery produced by an acquired or congenital weakness in the wall of a blood vessel. Education estimate a prevalence of thoracic aortic aneurysms between 6 and 10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year. It is more common in men over the age of 60.

Ruptured thoracic aneurysms often present with a squeezing or stabbing pain in the chest that extends between the shoulder blades. In addition, it is common for the person to experience cough, hoarseness and difficulty breathing. A ruptured aneurysm is a critical situation that requires emergency care.

abdominal conditions

There are a large number of abdominal problems that can present as back pain. This is the result of the proximity of the affected organ to the back. or by nerve irradiation of pain at this level.

Cholecystitis, pancreatitis, inflammation of the spleen and peptic ulcer are the main diseases associated with this type of pain. Usually, the discomfort is severe on the side of the body where the dysfunction is.

Pancreatitis causes pain between the shoulder blades.
Pancreatitis causes pain in the abdomen that is so intense that it radiates to the back.


Tumors are responsible for causing pain in various regions of the body by compression of the nerve pathways. Some types of lung cancer, such as Pancoast tumor, can cause pain between the shoulder blades.

Other neoplasms with the same signs are as follows:

  • Cancer of the esophagus.
  • lymphomas.
  • Breast tumors.
  • Mesotheliomas.
  • Osteosarcomas.
  • Liver cancer.

Treatment of pain between the shoulder blades

Treatment for back pain will depend on the condition or disease causing it of the symptoms. In general, the healthcare professional gives priority to temporary relief of discomfort through the use of pain relievers, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids.

Muscle contractures usually require massages and physiotherapy sessions to recover the tone of the fibers. Similarly, minor injuries are addressed with bed rest measures, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and cold therapies.

For their part, herniated discs and rheumatic diseases require continuous monitoring by a doctor to ensure quality of life. Moreover, the affected person needs to implement changes in their exercise and diet habits to ensure effective recovery.

Myocardial infarction, pericarditis, and thoracic aneurysms are emergency situations that require hospitalization, drug management, and even surgery. On the other hand, abdominal problems have a high recovery rate and ultimate relief when detected in a timely manner.

A common symptom that should not be underestimated

Pain between the shoulder blades is a common symptom that can be taken lightly. In most cases it warns of the presence of a muscle injury or contraction, but it can also be the result of a serious pathology.

In this sense, prompt attention by a specialist physician is essential to protect the life of the affected person. For this reason, do not hesitate to consult a health professional if the pain persists and is accompanied by respiratory distress or loss of consciousness.

The post Pain between the shoulder blades or back pain: symptoms and treatments that first appeared in research-school.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular