Pain Between the Shoulder Blades

Pain Between the Shoulder Blades | Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

shoulder-pain-workout-man1Pain between the shoulders is a common complaint that I hear as a chiropractor in San Diego. Long hours of sitting at the computer will produce complaints from patients such as “It hurts between my shoulders”.

Pain Between the Shoulder Blades
Causes Stress

The area between the shoulders is especially prone to stress. This area is subjected to the postural stresses of both work and our personal electronic items like tablets and smart phones as well as the emotional stresses of a difficult job, a nit-picking boss or a badgering spouse or child. Therefore pain between shoulder blades can become chronic shoulder pain if the patient continues any of those stressful habits of situations.


pain-between-shoulder-bladeSuffering an injury between the shoulders can occur from traumatic causes including car accident injuries, sports injuries and falls. If the area between your shoulder blades is already irritated (which you may or may not be aware of), you can even injure yourself by picking a sock up off the floor or reaching across your desk for a cup of coffee. Obviously, the area between your shoulders is not that fragile but it does become irritated and inflamed by repeated exposures to stress allowing you to be easily injured between your shoulders.

Diagnosing Pain Between the Shoulder Blades

In order to diagnose pain between the shoulders, a chiropractor has to examine the neck, the upper thoracic spine and the injured shoulder. Since all of these areas are subjected to stress and are anatomically closely related they all need to be considered as a source of your pain. Once the source of the pain between the shoulders is diagnosed, treatment can begin. Of course, depending on the diagnosis treatment may be directed at the neck, upper back, the shoulder itself or all three areas if necessary.

Treatment for Pain Between the Shoulder Blades

Treatment for pain between the shoulders from a chiropractor involves chiropractic adjustments as well as other in-office therapies. Effective treatment from a chiropractor also includes at home therapies that are intended to keep the muscles of the shoulder both flexible and strong. Treating pain between the shoulder blades is often very effective. In my San Diego chiropractic clinic we have had great success in treating pain between the shoulder blades but it always requires a committed patient who is willing to do some (not all) work on their own.


Chiropractors see many patients with shoulder injuries because many patients feel their pain between the shoulders in their upper back. Pain between the shoulders can be from a traumatic event such as a car accident or from daily bad posture. Pain from bad posture is frustrating because patients can’t identify a specific cause for their pain – which can also make diagnosis a little more challenging. Treating pain between the shoulder blades is straightforward once the correct diagnosis has been made. This holds true for both acute shoulder pain and chronic shoulder pain but there are differences in treatment.

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