Pardon the pun, but your shoulders tend to "shoulder" a lot of responsibilities. They help you lift, lower, turn, twist and move your upper torso in all directions — and it's in large part thanks to the muscles between the shoulders and the shoulder blades.
Because these muscles have such a big job to do, it's not uncommon for them to get injured, which causes mild or more serious discomfort known as interscapular pain, or pain between the shoulders. But then again, it's not always injury that causes it.
Musculoskeletal Causes of Pain Between Shoulder Blades
If you've got shoulder blade pain, the first thing you might do is retrace your days to determine what went wrong. Did you lift something too heavy? Sleep in a strange position or recently get a new bed? Bend your back in a way you shouldn't have or have exceptionally poor posture lately?
All of these things can cause shoulder pain — and commonly do. These examples are known as musculoskeletal causes of this pain, and in addition to lifting, sleeping, bending and sitting in awkward ways, interscapular pain can also link back to these causes and examples:
1. Overextension: Reaching too far for something or straining your shoulders.
2. Overuse: Working too hard in the garden or repeating the same motion over and over again.
3. Sports activities: Rotator cuff injuries from playing golf.
4. Other injuries: Falling or injuries that lead to localized pain.
While musculoskeletal issues can be likely culprits for discomfort between the shoulder blades, sometimes the causes aren't related to a local injury at all. In fact, sometimes the pain serves as a warning of a larger, more serious underlying issue elsewhere in the body, such as:
1. Bone issues like arthritis or osteoporosis.
2. Chest problems like lung disease, that originate in the lungs but cause pain up the back.
3. Abdominal problems like liver disease or peptic ulcers, which can cause the pain to be felt in the upper middle back.
4. Heart problems like a heart attack, which can cause shoulder blade pain, especially if it's felt on the left side and experienced in women.