Four conditions that cause pain in the shoulder blade area

The shoulder blades protect the intricate array of soft tissue that connects the arm to the torso, making it an extremely important connection point in the skeletal system. However, if pain develops here, it can be disruptive to your daily activities and quality of life. There is a wide range of potential causes for pain in the shoulder blade area, and learning how these different issues can develop can be an important part of finding relief. 

There is no substitute for seeing a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of pain in the shoulder blade area, and self-treatment can potentially worsen your injury in some cases. We’re sharing the following guide to potential causes to help you work with a qualified professional on a more informed basis. 

Pain in the shoulder blade area — common causes

Patients with pain in and around the shoulder blade are often diagnosed with one of these conditions or injuries: 

  1. Muscle strain — There are a lot of muscles in the shoulder blade area, and we ask them to do a lot of work. Whether playing a sport like golf or tennis or engaging in manual labor, it is very easy to develop this relatively minor injury. 
  2. Rotator cuff tear — The rotator cuff is the collection of muscles and connective tissue that is responsible for much of the fine arm movement we carry out on a daily basis. The heavy load we put on the rotator cuff combined with its delicate nature means painful tears can very often occur. 
  3. Osteoarthritis — This age-related condition develops due to natural deterioration of protective joint cartilage, including the cartilage that cushions the shoulder. In addition to pain in the shoulder blade area, osteoarthritis can also cause stiffness and grinding sensations. 
  4. Spine conditions — The upper spine protects the spinal cord right as it leaves the brain and starts to branch out to the upper extremities. Certain spine injuries such as herniated discs or bone spurs can potentially cause nerve compression that can lead to radiating pain in the shoulder blade area. 

Upon diagnosis of your shoulder pain, taking a proactive approach to treatment can give you the best chance of finding the lasting relief you’re seeking. By taking a natural approach based on improving the strength and functioning of the target area and the entire body, physical therapy is a highly effective method that should be part of any treatment plan. 

Shoulder pain relief with Back in Motion

At Back in Motion Physical Therapy, our skilled and experienced team can identify underlying causes of your pain in the shoulder blade area and develop a targeted treatment plan that is customized for your personal needs and treatment goals. We believe in highly personalized care and the latest evidence-based practices to deliver long-term relief. To learn more and schedule your initial appointment, contact us today

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