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Pain in Shoulder Blades

A photo of shoulder blade musclesMany people report pain in the shoulder blades.

...but the shoulder blade is a massive area with multiple attachments connecting to many different regions. The shoulder blade sits on top of your rib-cage and has muscle attachments to the neck, the rest of the shoulder joint, the mid-spine, and even the lower back.

Due to this region being connected to so many body parts, we really need to know what area of the shoulder 

blade hurts, and what reproduces the pain. The pain could be a rotator cuff injury, or a muscle strain depending on how it started hurting. Sometimes, the rotator cuff muscles can become overworked due to continuous tasks or posture that makes their job more difficult.

Muscle knots and pain in the shoulder blades

Muscles are designed to pull to create tension.  If your muscle feels it can’t handle the task, it creates a trigger point to help the muscle pull, and get the job done.

A back view of the mid back and shoulder muscles

When muscles of the shoulder blades get overworked, they can create painful trigger points as well. A trigger point is essentially a muscle knot that has gotten so irritated, it refers pain to other locations in the body.  Trigger points can be extremely painful and can actually refer pain to the shoulder blade!

Examples of muscle issues that can refer pain to the shoulder blades:

  • trapezius strain
  • rhomboid strain
  • latissimus dorsi strain
  • and others!

The spine and pain in the shoulder blades

Pain referral of the infraspinatus muscle

Another area we need to check is your neck and mid back. These areas have a bunch of little joints called facet joints. Sometimes, these joints can become irritated. The irritation essentially sends a signal to all the surrounding muscles to hold on for dear life, which may lead to pain in the shoulder blade. Even a pinched nerve in your lower neck can cause symptoms into this area and should be ruled out.

Can physical therapy help with pain in the shoulder blades?

Don't let yourself worry!  When you see your physical therapist, they can take in all of this information, and evaluate the mid back, the neck and muscles of the shoulder blades and shoulder to get to the root cause. When it comes to pain in the shoulder blade, knowing WHERE the symptoms are coming from are half the battle.

If you live around Howard County, MD and are looking for physical therapy in Columbia, MD, look no further!  Reach out on our contact page to get started!