Upper Back Pain and Shoulder Blade Pain
Upper back pain and shoulder blade pain is widespread nowadays as mobile devices are gaining more popularity. Shoulder blade area of the upper back is a common point of pain in patients with a slipped disc (slip-disc). Aside from a slip-disc (slipped disc), the shoulder blade can become painful with shoulder disorders or injuries as well as boney malposition of spinal bones in the lower neck and upper back segments. To recover, accurate diagnosis and holistic treatments of all implicated areas are necessary. In this article, we will familiarize you with upper back pain and shoulder blade pain. Let’s begin by looking at why upper back and shoulder blade pain are becoming more common these days.
Poor Posture’s Impact on the Shoulders and the Upper Back
People are spending most of the time with either the mobile devices or the computer and laptops. Desktops that are poorly set up will cause neck pain or upper back pain (shoulder blade pain) as this will put extra stress on the neck muscles of the shoulder blade. If the height of the chair, screen, keyboard, and the mouse are proper, you will suffer multiple symptoms. Improper computer posture can cause headaches, neck pain, and upper back pain and shoulder blade pain. Also, prolonged use of the laptop may cause pain. In fact, it can rapidly damage your neck. Using a laptop involves a forward bending of the neck and rounding of the shoulders. This typical laptop posture can lead to an upper cross syndrome or proximal cross syndrome.
What is the leading cause of pain in Between the Shoulders?
The leading causes of pain in the shoulder blade are those linked to injuries, poor posture or neglect of minor neck and upper back issues. The most common cause of pain between the shoulders is an upper crossed syndrome. As the name applies, an upper crossed syndrome is a multi-pronged disorder; in other words, chronic issues that have led to instabilities, and weakness in otherwise healthy segments.
Upper crossed syndrome is descriptive of imbalances in muscle tones in the upper thorax. It is a combination of muscular tightness in the upper back muscles that are present with weakness in chest muscles and muscles in front of the neck. The clinical importance of upper crossed syndrome is significant because it can cause a variety of symptoms including neck pain, upper back pain, pain between the shoulder blades, shoulder pain and even numbness or tingling in the arms or hands. Most common cause of an upper crossed syndrome is poor posture.
The Upper Crossed Syndrome and the Shoulders and Back
The upper cross syndrome consists of tight upper trapezius and levator scapula. The tightness of these two muscles can lead to neck pain and upper back pain. The pectoralis muscles in front of the chest will be tight too, and it can cause further rounding of the shoulders. The rhomboids, which are in between the shoulder blades are usually weak in patients with an upper crossed syndrome. Weaknesses in the involved muscles are due to overstretching of tissues between shoulder blades. Over a prolonged period, it can cause life-altering pains.
Serratus anterior is a critical muscle of great clinical importance, as it is often involved in an upper crossed syndrome. The serratus anterior provides stability to the shoulder blades. Pinched nerves, traumatic events impacting the shoulders, and poor posture can damage and eventually weaken the serratus anterior. In addition to the chest and upper back muscles, an upper crossed syndrome is related to the deep muscles of the neck (cervical spine). The deep neck flexors, located in front of the cervical spine (neck), are weak in patients with the upper crossed syndrome.
Muscle Tightness and Trigger Points Between the Shoulders
Tight or spasmodic muscles with trigger points are capable of causing local pain or referred pain to a distant site. Therefore, spasmodic upper trapezius and levator scapula can cause pain that radiates to the upper back and shoulder blade region. On the other hand, overstretching of a weak muscle over a prolonged period can lead to further muscle tightness and pain. Weak muscles with poor endurance strength will get fatigue quickly, and this will further aggravate the condition.
The good news we can share with you is that we have the perfect collaborative teams of chiropractors and physiotherapists to address all issues in your shoulder blade holistically. In short, our clinical non-surgical experts can offer you a wide range of therapeutic options that others may not. The integrative solutions we provide are seamless. Our teams work side-by-side; as a result, our patients recover faster.
What is the Best Treatment for Shoulders, Back, and Blades Between the Shoulders?
As we mentioned earlier, accurate diagnosis and targeted treatments are critical to getting rid of pain between your shoulders. In other words, for you to recover, you need an expert clinical team that can address joints, slipped discs and muscular disorders simultaneously, without medications, injections or surgery. That means us; we are Malaysia’s premier center for the non-invasive treatment of the spine, joint, sports injuries and scoliosis.
Pain in the shoulder blade area requires specificity and accuracy. The uniqueness of care you get from our clinical teams of chiropractors and physiotherapist is that we have combined specificity and accuracy in a manner that producing efficient and favorable clinical outcomes, even if others have failed.
Specificity is possible with an accurate diagnosis. Our clinical teams have the skills, technology, but most importantly; the knowledge needed for the comprehensive shoulder blade treatment. In short, we are not the typical chiropractic or physiotherapy center. In fact, we are much, much more. For our shoulder blade pain patients, we offer clinical physiotherapy combined with the BEST research-based chiropractic treatment in Malaysia. Yes, you will receive care from the best chiropractors and physiotherapist on each therapy session. Our integrative approach is better than the singular efforts of others. Visit Malaysia’s best research-based clinical Chiros today. Best of all, our advanced spine technology has produced better results than the rest for upper back, shoulder blade pain or pain between shoulder blades.
Shoulder blade pain and discomfort can be puzzling because the causes aren’t easily identifiable. The scariest part about shoulder blade pain is that it can be indicative of something genuine like a heart or lung disease. However, the majority of patients that suffer pain in upper back, shoulders or scapular region (shoulder blade) have a musculoskeletal disorder, injury or malfunction. Musculoskeletal disorders are summed up as issues that involve, the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Before we provide the details on shoulder blade pain causes, symptoms and treatment options, let’s study the functions of the shoulder blade or scapula.
What does the Scapula do?
In simplest terms, the scapula help with shoulder mobility, chest, neck, and upper back stability. Shoulder blade or the scapular region of the upper back connects the shoulder to the chest (collar bone) and upper back and neck through muscular attachments. The shoulder bone (humorous) attaches to the socket of the scapula. The scapular socket is a slightly curved structure forming the cavity for the shoulder bone.
An adequately positioned scapula is vital to shoulder and neck mobility. The shoulder blade (scapula) has muscle attachments to the shoulder, neck, upper and mid back portions of your spine (thoracic spine). Arm movements are made possible with simultaneous scapular motions. Rising of the arm incorporates the lifting, tilting, and rotation of the scapula away from the upper back. In short, for the shoulder to work within reasonable limits of motion, you need a healthy and properly positioned scapula.
Neck and upper back stability are dependent on a healthy functioning shoulder blade. The Levator Scapula and the Trapezius attach to the neck or cervical spine. Both these muscles are essential to stability and movements of the neck. Rhomboids major, Rhomboids minor, Serratus anterior connects the shoulder blade to the upper back and mid back (thoracic spine and ribcage). The scapula even has connections to your lumbar, lumbosacral, and pelvic bones through the Latinisms Doris muscles.
To conclude, the connections your shoulder blades have with your spine, chest, shoulder, and neck are testaments to the critical role your shoulder blade performs in daily life. To understand this point better, we have provided a list of muscles that connect to your shoulder blade.
What Muscles Attach to the Scapula?
If you ever wondered how essential is the shoulder blades, you need to look at its muscular attachments. In total there are 17 (seventeen) muscles that connect to your shoulder blade on each side:
- Biceps Brachii Muscle
- Coracobrachialis Muscle
- Deltoid Muscle
- Infraspinatus Muscle
- Latissimus Dorsi Muscle
- Levator Scapula Muscle
- Omohyoid Muscle (the inferior belly)
- Pectoralis Minor Muscle
- Rhomboid Major Muscle
- Rhomboid Minor Muscle
- Serratus Anterior Muscle
- Subscapularis Muscle
- Supraspinatus Muscle
- Trapezius Muscle
- Teres Major Muscle
- Teres Minor Muscle
- Triceps Brachii Muscle (the long head)
To help you understand the importance of the scapula we have separated the muscles by the regions they attach.
Arm and shoulder attachment:
- Teres Major
- Teres Minor
- Triceps Brachii long head
- Biceps Brachii
- Latissimus Dorsi
Attachments to the neck region:
- Omohyoid inferior belly
- Levator Scapula
Upper back, mid back and posterior ribcage attachments:
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Rhomboid Major
- Rhomboid Minor
- Serratus Anterior
Lower back, tailbone (sacrum) and pelvic attachments:
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Chest attachments:
- Pectoralis Minor
- Serratus Anterior
As you can see, the clinical significance of your shoulder blades is enormous. Shoulder blade pain sufferers will need to have the muscles and regions that the above mentioned 17 muscles attach adequately assessed to identify the actual cause of pain. However, there are instances where the shoulder blade pain can emerge from internal organs. The section below will briefly discuss some of the organs related cause of pain in the scapular region.
What are the non-musculoskeletal causes of pain in the shoulder blades?
The non-musculoskeletal causes of pain in the shoulder blades may include shingles, malignancies, esophagus, heart disease, lung issues or disorders that involve the abdomen and pelvis. Medical procedures such as laparoscopic examination may also cause discomfort or pain in the scapular region. A few conditions, which may give rise to the shoulder blade discomfort, include gallstones, peptic ulcer, heartburn, pancreatitis, and liver ailment. However, with pancreatitis, the pain is often located in the left shoulder blade.