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What causes Pain Between the Shoulder Blades?

shoulder blade pain

What Causes Pain Between The Shoulder Blades?

Pain between your shoulder blades or ‘interscapular pain’ is a common complaint.  You may experience aching, dull, burning, sore or shooting pain. It can be frustrating and keep coming back.  So what causes it and what can you do to get rid of it?


What can cause pain between the shoulders blades?

  • Muscles - the trapezius or rhomboid muscles that run from your spine to your shoulder blades can cause pain.
  • Thoracic spine - soft tissue structures around the joints can cause pain and very rarely the disc.
  • Your neck - Yes the joints and discs can radiate pain that far down!
  • Posture - this is normally still muscular
  • Stress!  - this is generally still muscular but the ‘treatment’ or cure is to reduce your stress rather than exercise.

With most of the reasons listed you should be able to GET RID of all of your pain.

Things to look out for

Most of the time, shoulder blade pain isn’t anything to worry about, but in some cases, it can be a sign of a more serious problem.

If you have acute chest  pain or are acutely short of breath please seek urgent medical help by calling  111. If you have had cancer before and this pain has developed since it may be a good idea to speak to your GP. It is typically not a recurrence but better to be safe than sorry.

Tim W.
17:57 13 Aug 19
Fantastic in all regards. I saw Ross with patellar tendonitis. I’d hurt it several times through snowboarding and self-defence classes, and as a result had sharp pain and no confidence in the joint. Couldn’t negotiate stairs properly or even carry my kids to bed. Ross explained the issue and how to think about it differently. He created a gym routine for me that I swear lasted no longer than 30 mins and the results have bomb-proofed my knees. It used to feel as though my knees were jarring when I tried to do any sort of exercise. A few months later I’m now running 5-10K with more
Tom L.
16:38 13 Aug 19
Ross was amazing in helping me overcome a persistent injury that had plagued me for months, one that many other therapists had been struggled to help with. He's extremely thorough and enthusiastic when it comes to getting to the root of the problem, and was brilliant in educating me and keeping me informed every step of the way through the process, which was so crucial and appreciated. Would highly recommend!read more
Neil G.
14:20 05 Aug 19
I came along to see Ross @ Hogan & Mitchell as a runner with a problem of worsening 'plantar fasciitis'. From arriving I could sense that my experience was going to be 'different' - Ross and I spent a lot of time talking about why I was having the problem and what I needed to do (change) to help improve the situation. As a runner the last thing I wanted was to stop running and Ross helped me to continue training whilst undertaking a program of strength and resistance work at the gym. Ross promised no 'quick fix' but after several weeks the results are there - I now understand more about the issue and feel empowered to resolve it myself. This was definitely a different experience but one I strongly more
Steve S.
17:40 09 Jul 19
Ross and his team were excellent cant fault the professionalism and dedication to there job. Never had to have physio before, but made it actually enjoyable getting me straight back to fighting fitness again. Also my mind set is for the better. Thanks guysread more
Mark K.
15:43 19 Jun 19
Went to see Simon with a knee problem. He was able to quickly and accurately identify the root cause of the problem and the exercises he gave me have a made a huge difference. Really nice guy to boot! Highly more
Tom Y.
15:11 29 Apr 19
Fantastic, thorough and knowledgable. Solved my back problem in a couple of visits.
Jonny B.
13:51 20 Dec 18
Fantastic. Ross explained TMJ disorder to me, and the way out of it, better than any dentist I've seen, including a consultant!read more
Alison C.
12:59 10 Nov 18
Simon really helped me with some sharp knee pain I was having through running - all through lack of stability and strength from my hips to my knees (contrary to just having ‘short’ quads which was what I had previously been told). The exercises I was given really more
Mark P.
14:57 03 Aug 18
Thanks to Simon how checked my foot over and gave me some great advice which my doctor didn't. Thanks againread more
Mark O.
06:12 13 Jul 18
I originally went to Hogan & Mitchell as my right shoulder was stiffening up and I was in pain. I had an initial 1hour consultation with Ross Mitchell to ascertain whether I had a frozen shoulder as I felt I had all the symptoms of such as I’d had a frozen left shoulder some years ago. Ross was very welcoming and reassuring that he was there to help and after an examination of my range of movement determined a course of action to confirm whether it was a frozen shoulder or not (which after a number of sessions it was). What I was most impressed with was that Ross genuinely cared about my overall health and well-being. He felt he could give me some advice in another area I needed to address namely my weight. He showed a genuine interest in me, my past lifestyle, what I tried before and what had worked and what hadn’t. He definately motivated me to address my weight and introduced me to not a faddy diet but a change of lifestle regime built around the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) principles. That initial consultation went on for over 2 hours because it needed to and by the end I felt fully enlightened. Over the next 3 sessions whilst monitoring the progress of my frozen shoulder we used the time to discuss the health regime. Ross has provided me a lot of information, links, recipes and closed off with good reasons all the ‘excuses’ I was using not to address my weight. I’m delighted to say that I started 11 days ago and I’ve already lost 18lbs which I no longer have to carry around!Ross I’d like to thank you for genuinely caring and going beyond the bounds of my shoulder which brought me too you. It may be your character and skill set but I assure you in today’s society it is a rare trait to talk to a complete stranger, gain their confidence so quickly and guide them onto a new path you knew would work. Your continued support is very much appreciated, thanks!read more
Michael Cooke C.
17:18 21 Mar 18
Was in lower back pain when went to Hogan & Mitchell but within a few days of advised routines, became easier and within 2 weeks was normal. Detailed understanding and explanations of the problem and treatment enabled rapid recovery and return to active, pain free activities. Highly more
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What to do to help?

There are lots of things you can do to help yourself.

  • General movement exercise - if you sit a lot, just moving around more can sometimes be the cure. Nothing specific, just move more!
  • Stretching - if you are very tense or rigid in the area get stretching. Flex forward, arch back wards and twist your spine.
  • Strengthening - Unless you are doing pull based movements where your shoulder blades come together you can still be relatively weak in the area despite being fit otherwise.
  • Change your posture - If you sit up straight all day, slump a bit!  Yes it really is ok, maybe not all the time though!  If you always slump, try sitting up more of the time.
  • Change your workstation - If you sit at a computer all day, try to
    • Raise your screen up higher - to eye level at least.
    • Bring your chair fairly close the your desk
    • Make sure that your keyboard and mouse are close to the edge of the desk.  This means you are not 'reaching' constantly.
    • 'Open up' your chest. This should put your shoulder blades into a more natural position.

As with all pain problems your symptoms are individual and these are guidelines.

If you have symptoms and are struggling to get rid of them give us call.

We are experts at getting rid of pain.

Frances B.
13:16 24 Jan 19
My daughter was experiencing pain and clicking/locking in her jaw towards the end of having braces fitted. I'd heard the term TMJ specialist mentioned by my GP, but there was no-one they could recommend for a child aged 12. My son had already received help for a sporting injury from Hogan and Mitchell and I saw TMJ mentioned on their site. Simon has completely resolved the issue, my daughters jaw no longer clicks and I'm amazed no-one was able to guide me towards a physiotherapist to help. On the other hand, I'm sure they're not all as good as Hogan and Mitchell!read more
Peter S.
18:38 13 Sep 18
Highly qualified, very competent, sorted me out!
Ruth P.
19:06 07 Aug 18
Firstly, I was really impressed, and grateful, that I got some advice over the phone when my back went into spasm, even though I had not previously used this physio and I wasn't currently a client. The following treatment was excellent, I had complete confidence in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment I was given. The advice was always realistic but took my personal ambitions into consideration and had considerably higher expectations of my potential than my more
Jamie S.
14:51 10 May 18
Friendly and professional serviceAfter getting a referal for treatment on my shoulder, i was highly impressed at the level of service offered by Hogan & Mitchell. After a few sessions with the guys we put a plan in place to help re-habilitate my shoulder back to good health.The time taken to explain evertying in a simple way was great, and helped me to understand the healing process.thanks again guys!!read more
Tim T.
16:00 22 Apr 18
Ross sorted out my shoulder injury successfully.My shoulder had troubled me for some time and suddenly became much worse.Having diagnosed shoulder impingement, and specifically which muscle groups were affected, Ross gave me a set of exercises.He subsequently fine tuned the exercises over a couple more appointments to target the troublesome area.This did the trick and the condition cleared as the exercises took affect.Thanks for a top more
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