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How to Relieve Shoulder Blade Pain?

Updated: Jul 9


Shoulder blade pain can be a nagging and persistent issue that affects daily activities and overall quality of life. The shoulder blades, or scapulae, are essential for a wide range of motions and are connected to various muscles and nerves. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and how to relieve shoulder blade pain is crucial in managing and alleviating the discomfort effectively. Let’s understand this issue in more detail.



shoulder blade pain.


What are the Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain?

Shoulder blade pain can originate from various sources, ranging from muscular strain to underlying medical conditions. Common causes include –

 

Muscle strain

When muscle fibers are loaded beyond their capacity, you experience muscle strain. Some factors contributing in muscle strain are – heavy weight lifting, poor posture, overdoing any physical activity or working on computers for extended hours.

 

Poor posture

A poor posture, especially when you have a sitting job or stand for long periods, puts pressure on your spine. This can lead to ache under the shoulder blade. Slouching over a desk puts unnecessary stress on muscles and ligaments, thereby causing shoulder blade pain.

 

Fracture

Fractures are not the most common causes of shoulder blade pain, but they could be one of the causes leading to left shoulder blade pain or knots in the shoulder blade. Shoulder blade fractures are serious injuries for which you must get immediate medical attention.

 

Trauma

An accident or fall can lead to shoulder blade pain. An injury or hit can seriously result in inflammation around and under the shoulder blade. The degree and kind of pain is dependent on the extent of the injury.


Muscle Knots 

Muscle knots are also one cause of pain in the shoulder blade area. Also called myofascial trigger points, muscle knots are areas of tight muscle fibers formed by overused or injured muscles, which can result in pain, stiffness, and discomfort.

 

Pulmonary causes

Pulmonary diseases might also be the reason for left shoulder blade pain and muscle strain below the shoulder blade. Certain conditions like pleurisy, pulmonary embolism, or pneumothorax may become the causes of pain. Pancoast tumors and lung cancers can further aggravate the condition of pain under the shoulder blade.

 

Visceral causes

Sometimes the possible cause of shoulder blade pain could be shingles. It is a form of viral infection that causes a painful rash. Gallstones may also be the cause of ache under shoulder blade.

 

What are the Symptoms of Shoulder Blade Pain?


causes of shoulder blade pain.



The shoulder blade is also called the scapula. It is a large, flat, triangular bone midway up your back. You have one shoulder blade on each side of your back, a total of 2. A network of muscles is attached around the scapula to support its position so that you can easily move your arms. When any injury or condition weakens the muscles around the scapula, its position may change, which is called dyskinesis and is a leading cause of scapula shoulder blade pain. Some more serious causes could be blood clots, heart attacks, or even cancer.

 

Symptoms of shoulder blade pain include –

  • A dull ache or a sharp pain around the scapula.

  • Weakness in arms.

  • Facing difficulty in raising your arm above your shoulder.

  • You can hear a snapping sound when you move your shoulder.

  • Tilted posture on the affected side.

  • Signs of inflammation or injury around the shoulder blade.

 

How to Get rid of shoulder blade pain?

The answer to how to relive shoulder blade pain involves a combination of self-care strategies, exercises, and possibly medical intervention. Here are some effective methods –

 

Exercise


execise with physiotherapist for shoulder blade pain



Exercising regularly not only strengthens muscles around the shoulder blade but also your back, reducing pain and improving support. You can consult a physiotherapist for the same as he will design the exercise regimen in a manner that improves your condition.


Some good set of exercises to strengthen your abdomen and back muscles are – situps, pushups and pull ups. 

 

Diet

There are some food items that intensifies inflammation in your body and may worsen your symptoms. A balanced diet is a rescue in such conditions. Have a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods.


Include a combination of vegetables, fruits, proteins and healthy fats in your meals. Also, choose foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like seafood, nuts and seeds, plant oils etc. Steer clear of eating processed foods.

 

Rest


massage therapy for shoulder blade pain.



Short breaks, as well as proper rest, are necessary to give relief to your shoulder blades. Sometimes, even taking a day off can work wonders for your physical health and may relieve your pain.


If you know that the pain is due to the overuse of muscles, don’t indulge in any activity that you know will exacerbate the pain.


Get enough sleep, and your body will repair itself during the rest. Even if that is not working, you can consider massage therapy to relieve muscle pain.  


Stretching

Stretch the muscles around your shoulder to ease the tension causing discomfort. Some gentle stretches like neck rolling, neck stretches, shoulder rolls, chest openers. Regular stretching can also help with improving flexibility.

 

Apply ice or heat


cupping therapy for shoulder blade pain.



You can try cold therapy as an option. Take ice in a wrapped cloth and apply it to your back for 10-20 minutes at a time. If you are applying it more than once a day, make sure that there is at least a 2-hour break in between sessions. On the other hand, you can also try heat therapy, where you have to use a heating pad instead of ice. And the 2-hour rule remains the same.


Cupping therapy is also an alternative in which heated cups are placed on your body to create suction, which promotes healing, reduces pain, and increases blood flow.


Keep in mind that you should protect your skin with a layer between your skin and the ice/heat. Try alternating solutions between ice and heat to see what works best for you.  


Medication

Over the counter medicines can help you in some conditions and you can purchase them from a local grocery or drug store. Some common medications are – naproxen, aspirin, ibuprofen. Always read and follow the instructions on the label before taking any medicine.

 

When Should You See a Doctor?

If your pain is severe and doesn’t go away with the home remedies, it's time to see a doctor. Seek treatment for shoulder blade pain right away if you are experiencing additional symptoms with it like –


  • Excessive sweating

  • Chest pain

  • Fever

  • Loss of vision

  • Sudden difficulty in speaking

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Irregular or rapid heart rate

 

Tips for Prevention of Shoulder Injuries and Pain

Preventing shoulder blade pain is not a daunting task, provided you take good care of your health. Let’s decode what we are saying –

 

  • Maintain a good lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercising, and adequate hydration.

  • Take frequent breaks, especially if you have a sitting job, and do some easy stretches during those breaks.

  • Ensure that your workspace supports a good posture and have an ergonomic workstation.

  • Be careful when you lift heavy items, and always bend your knees first whenever you are lifting.

 

Final Thoughts

“How to relieve shoulder blade pain” becomes manageable with the right approach. Understanding the causes and symptoms is the first step towards effective treatment. Incorporating lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and good posture, can help alleviate and prevent shoulder blade pain.


If the pain persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice to rule out any serious underlying conditions. Taking proactive steps can lead to a healthier, pain-free future, ensuring that shoulder blade pain does not interfere with your quality of life.

 

AT RMT Movement, we believe in the importance of nutrition and movement as a key to healthier life. Our services range from massage therapy, physiotherapy, acupuncture and many more.


If you are someone seeking treatment for shoulder blade pain, RMT Movement is the right place to come to. Our massage therapists will give you personalized care and attention and will help your shoulder pain vanish away soon. Contact us for more information.

 

FAQs


What Causes Pain by Shoulder Blade?

Pain by the shoulder blade can be caused by muscle strain from overuse or poor posture, injuries like fractures or trauma, and referred pain from conditions affecting the lungs, heart, or abdominal organs. Nerve compression and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis can also contribute to shoulder blade pain.


How to Stretch Shoulder Blade Pain?

To stretch shoulder blade pain, try shoulder rolls, cat-cow stretches, and chest openers. These stretches can help improve flexibility and relieve tension in the muscles around the shoulder blades.


How to Massage Shoulder Blade?

To massage the shoulder blade, use your fingers or a massage ball to apply gentle pressure along the muscles surrounding the scapula. Circular motions and kneading techniques can help release muscle knots and improve blood flow. You can even consult a massage therapist for the same and get your massage done in an effective manner.


Is Walking Good for Shoulder Pain?

Yes, walking is good for shoulder pain as it promotes overall circulation, reduces stiffness, and encourages gentle movement of the shoulder joints, which can help alleviate discomfort.


Does Drinking Water Help Shoulder Pain?

Drinking water helps shoulder pain by keeping the muscles and joints hydrated, which can reduce cramping and stiffness. Proper hydration also supports overall health and recovery.


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