Shoulder blade pain, also known as scapular pain, is a discomfort or pain felt in the region between the spine and the shoulder blade. Pain under your shoulder blade can be a sharp or burning pain near the spine, or more of a deep aching sensation that spreads across the shoulder or upper back. It can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as stiffness, numbness, or tingling in the shoulder or arm.
Shoulder blade pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Muscle strain or injury: Overuse or injury to the muscles surrounding the shoulder blade, such as the rhomboids, trapezius, and levator scapulae, can cause pain in the area. This is one of the most common causes of shoulder blade pain, accounting for up to 50% of cases.
Poor posture: Slouching or hunching over for extended periods can put strain on the muscles in the upper back and lead to shoulder blade pain. Poor posture is a common cause of shoulder blade pain, particularly in those who work at a desk or computer for long periods of time. It may account for around 25-30% of cases.
Pinched nerves: A pinched nerve in the neck or shoulder can cause pain that radiates to the shoulder blade area. Pinched nerves in the neck or shoulder can cause pain that radiates to the shoulder blade area. This may account for around 10-15% of cases.
Arthritis: Arthritis can cause inflammation and pain in the joints of the shoulder, including those near the shoulder blade. Arthritis is a less common cause of shoulder blade pain, but can still be a significant contributor in some cases, accounting for around 5-10% of cases.
Rotator cuff injury: An injury to the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, can cause pain in the shoulder blade area A rotator cuff injury is a common cause of shoulder pain, and may account for around 5-10% of cases
Gallbladder disease: In some cases, pain in the shoulder blade area can be caused by gallbladder disease, which may also cause pain in the upper abdomen.
Fracture: A fracture or break in one of the bones surrounding the shoulder blade can cause pain in the area.
Lung conditions: Some lung conditions, such as pneumonia or a collapsed lung, can cause pain in the shoulder blade area. those are relatively rare causes of shoulder blade pain, but may be a consideration in some cases, accounting for less than 5% of cases.
The treatment for shoulder blade pain depends on the underlying cause of the pain. Here are some common treatment options:
Rest your upper back from activity. If your pain worsens when you do certain movements or physical activities, such as household chores or exercise, rest for a day or two. Pausing from physical activity may help reduce your pain and prevent overuse.
Ice or heat therapy: Applying ice or heat to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice is typically recommended for acute injuries, while heat may be more effective for chronic pain.
Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen, can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Physical therapy: If the pain is due to poor posture or muscle weakness, physical therapy can help improve posture and strengthen the muscles in the shoulder blade area.
Massage therapy: Massage therapy, such as trigger point massage or deep tissue massage, can help release muscle tension and reduce pain. The pain under your shoulder blade may feel like a tight knot due to a muscle spasm. A massage can help loosen your muscles and get more blood to the affected area.
Chiropractic care: Chiropractic adjustments can help realign the spine and alleviate shoulder blade pain.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to address underlying conditions such as a rotator cuff tear or spinal problem.
In addition to these treatments, there are also some self-care measures that can help alleviate shoulder blade pain, such as gentle stretching, improving posture, and avoiding repetitive motions that may exacerbate the pain.
Exercise can be helpful in relieving shoulder blade pain, depending on the underlying cause of the pain. In general, exercises that focus on improving posture and strengthening the shoulder and back muscles can help alleviate shoulder blade pain. These exercises may include:
Shoulder blade squeeze. Sit or stand with your arms at your sides and your shoulders relaxed. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for 5 seconds, and then release.
Chest stretch: Stand facing a wall or doorway with your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Slowly lean forward, keeping your elbows bent, until you feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders.
Shoulder circles: Sit with your arms at your sides. Slowly circle your shoulders forward for 10 repetitions, and then circle them backward for 10 repetitions.
Rows: Sit or stand with your arms at your sides and a resistance band or light weights in your hands. Pull your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and then release.
It's important to start with gentle exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration as your pain improves.
Trigger point massage is also recommended for shoulder blade pain because it can be an effective way to release muscle tension and reduce pain. This type of massage targets specific areas of muscle tightness, called trigger points, which can develop due to poor posture, overuse, or injury.
There is a growing body of research indicating that trigger point massage can be an effective treatment for shoulder blade pain. Here are a few studies that support this claim:
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation examined the effects of trigger point massage on patients with chronic shoulder pain. The study found that trigger point massage was effective in reducing pain and improving function in these patients. The researchers concluded that trigger point massage could be a viable treatment option for those suffering from chronic shoulder pain.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy investigated the effects of trigger point massage on patients with chronic shoulder pain. The study found that trigger point massage was effective in reducing pain and improving function in these patients. The researchers concluded that trigger point massage could be a useful adjunct to other treatments for chronic shoulder pain.
Trigger point massage involves applying pressure to some area to release the tension and alleviate pain. This can be done with a massage therapist or with a trigger point massage tool, which can be used at home to apply pressure to trigger points and provide relief from shoulder blade pain.
LittleMum deep tissue massager is one of smat choice which mimics a massage therapist's elbow, allows the user to sink deeper into the muscles and release tension more effectively.
The rhomboids, upper trapezius, levator scapula, scalenes, rotator cuff muscles, and latissimus dorsi are all important muscles that can contribute to shoulder blade pain when they become tight or strained. LittleMum deep tissue massager's ability to work on all areas of the scapula without releasing tension in one area at the expense of another is an important consideration. This is because imbalances or asymmetries in muscle tension can lead to further pain or discomfort in surrounding areas. By providing an even release of tension throughout the shoulder blade area, the LittleMum deep tissue massager may help to prevent these imbalances from occurring.
The LittleMum Trigger Point Cane is an effective tool for relieving the muscles related to shoulder blade pain. Using the LittleMum Trigger Point Cane, individuals can apply targeted pressure to these specific areas, helping to release tension and reduce pain. By using the cane to target trigger points in these muscles, individuals can effectively alleviate shoulder blade pain.
Both products can be effective for relieving shoulder blade pain, but they may be preferred by different groups of people based on their specific needs and preferences. For example:
The LittleMum Deep Tissue Massager may be preferred by those who prefer a more versatile massager that can be used on various parts of the body, not just the shoulders.
The LittleMum Trigger Point Cane may be preferred by those who have specific trigger points or knots in their upper back and shoulders that they want to target directly.