Causes of Sharp Pain Between Shoulder Blades
- Injuries or Trauma: Structural injuries to the bones or ligaments of the shoulder can cause severe upper back pain.
- Wear and Tear: Degeneration of the cervical spine (neck) due to aging or bone diseases can result in shoulder blade pain.
- Tendonitis: Tendonitis (sometimes, an outcome of chronic arthritis) can lead to shoulder pain. The inflamed tendons in the shoulder, which join the muscles to the bone, can cause upper back pain.
- Surgeries: In case of breast cancer surgery, the cut in the breast and the cut in the armpit can lead to pain in the respective shoulder blade; as the rhomboid major muscle gets stressed.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is the main cause of shoulder pain, mostly in elderly people. Arthritis leads to dysfunction of the joints of the vertebrae and upper back ribs resulting in joint pain.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis results in reduced bone density, leading to weakening of bones. This can cause pain in the shoulder.
- Muscle Cramps: Muscle cramps while exercising; or strains, pulls while busy in daily activities, can lead to severe pain in shoulder.
- Injured Rotator Cuff: Rotator cuff muscles control and stabilize the motion of the shoulder. A torn rotator cuff or any injury to rotator cuff, can lead to upper back pain, especially while lifting the arm overhead.
- Excessive Stress: Excessive physical as well as psychological stress can lead to upper back pain. Depressed people always complain about backache.
- Heart Diseases: The pain from aortic dissection can lead to sharp shoulder pain. Pain in the shoulder or upper back is one of the symptoms of heart attack; so it should never be neglected. Angina pectoris commonly known as chest pain can lead to pain in the blades.
- Digestive System Problems: Disorders of pancreas, stomach and esophagus can sometimes lead to upper back pain. Any abdominal pain (due to dysfunction of digestive system like formation of gallstone, kidney stones, gastric ulcers) can spread up to the shoulder. You might be surprised to know that liver problems can create pain under right shoulder blade.
- Respiratory Disorders: Pneumonia, pulmonary emboli, pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lungs) due to respiratory infection, can lead to chronic back pain and shoulder pain. Lung problems can lead to shoulder pain while deep breathing.
- Wrong Posture: Simple causes like incorrect posture during sleeping, sitting, playing, working or standing can cause shoulder pain.
- Extreme Cold: Excessive exposure to extreme cold can lead to upper back pain.
- Frozen Shoulder: This condition is common among middle-aged people. It leads to pain during the movement of the shoulder. Performing frozen shoulder exercises under the guidance of a physical trainer is essential for easy movement of the shoulder and the hand.
- Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursae of muscles in the shoulder or inflammation of the shoulder muscles leads to swelling and pain in the shoulder.
- Lifestyle Changes: These days, busy schedule makes people neglect their health. Fast life results in eating disorders. Scarcity of free time affects the exercise routines. Irregularity in eating and sleeping; and lack of balanced diet and proper exercises leads to shoulder pain.
- Wrong Diet: Vitamin deficiency or consumption of too much of fat during meals, can weaken shoulder muscles, resulting in muscle pain. Bad habits like consumption of processed and junk food, consumption of nutrient-less food, result in nutrients deficiency, which can cause weak muscles and upper back pain.
- Abnormal Changes: Irritation of the diaphragm can cause shoulder pain. For example, in case of ectopic pregnancy, the woman may experience shoulder blade pain.
Severe shoulder pain, if untreated, may lead to shoulder dislocation. In order to plan a correct treatment, it is necessary to find out the exact cause of upper back pain. Depending upon the cause; pain-killers, massage, nutrients rich diet and regular exercise, may help relieve the shoulder blade pain. Topical application of ointments, ice or hot packs helps relieve inflammation and pain in the joint. Oil massage works great for mild pain and discomfort. If the pain does not subside, you should see a physical therapist and should perform exercises under his guidance. Doctors may suggest physical therapy for shoulder tendonitis. Stretching your hands above the head can help stretch shoulder muscles. Rotating your shoulders backwards in a slow but continuous movement promotes relaxation of shoulder muscles. I am sure you would like to browse through shoulder therapy exercises for more information.
You need to take proper care while performing routine physical activities, as shoulder is involved in almost every physical activity. If you are experiencing pain in the shoulder blade, then forceful stretching of the hand should be avoided. Low intensity exercises should be performed under the guidance of your physician. Yoga exercises, when performed regularly, help strengthen the muscles. Regular exercise helps prevent stiffening of the joint. Exercise also promotes hormonal balance and helps you lead a stress-free and healthy life.