Causes of a Pain in Spine Between Shoulder Blades

pain in the spine between the shoulder blades

If you have pain between the shoulder blades on spine, then this pain can have different causes-from muscle injury to lung cancer. Consider the most common reasons to most accurately determine why you have a pain between a shoulder blade (or blades) on your spine.

The rhomboid muscles in your upper back connect the inner edges of your shoulder blades to your spine. A rhomboid strain is a stretch or tear of these muscles. A rhomboid spasm is an abrupt tightening of the muscle that you can not control.

Rhomboid muscle strain is most common trigger of the pain between your shoulder blades on spine side.

If you are feeling pain in between your shoulder blades and spine you’re likely a little concerned. What could that sort of pain be originating from? Could it be something serious that could be an emergency?

Pain in between the shoulder blades, otherwise understood as interscapular pain, can have lots of causes. While this sign is commonly triggered by something as small as a muscle stress, it’s important to be conscious that it might likewise be an indication of something more severe, often something as serious as a cardiovascular disease or lung cancer. Pain is our body’s way of letting us know that something is incorrect, but it’s in some cases difficult to understand if that something is only a nuisance or something that requires urgent attention. One method or the other, nevertheless, it is necessary to find a factor for what’s bothering you.

What Are in Between Shoulder Blades and Spine?

When thinking about pain in any region of the body, it’s handy to think of the structures that depend on that area. Structures in between the shoulder blades consist of:

  • Skin
  • Muscles: The muscles present in the region in between the shoulder blades consist of the rhomboids and middle and lower trapezius muscles. These muscles play a key function in keeping your shoulder blades back and down.
  • The thoracic spine
  • The thoracic aorta (the thoracic part of the largest blood vessel which brings blood from the heart to the remainder of the body.
  • Part of the esophagus
  • Part of the heart
  • A part of the lungs

Pain that takes place in between the shoulder blades might start in any of these structures or instead might occur in areas some range from the area due to the method that nerves transfer pain signals.

Possible Causes of the Pain Between Shoulder Blades and Spine

There are many possible causes of pain that are felt in between the shoulder blades. Pain may be felt from conditions affecting the structures found in this area, or can instead be referred pain — pain that is felt in between the shoulder blades but emerges from another area. Some possible reasons for pain between the shoulder blades include:

Rhomboid muscle strain

The most typical cause of pain between the shoulder blades is a muscle strain. This can arise from poor posture (especially leaning forward with extended sitting or standing), excess lifting, activities that involve twisting such as golf or tennis or even sleeping on a bad bed mattress.


Conditions which may result in pain on spine in between the shoulder blades following injury typically consist of acromioclavicular joint separation and rotator cuff tears. A shoulder separation is different from a shoulder dislocation which is felt more frequently in the shoulder joint.

Herniated or bulging discs

Degenerative disc disease in the cervical spine and thoracic spine can cause referred pain to this area. It’s not unusual for people with disc disease in their neck to feel pain just in other areas, and this can lead to a delay in diagnosis. Other symptoms may include numbness and tingling, or pain in one or both arms. Sometimes pain due to disc disease in the neck is positional, for instance, it may improve or worsen with flexing or extending your neck.


Arthritis in the neck or perhaps the ribs may trigger interscapular pain. Similar to disc disease, arthritis in the neck may trigger pain between the shoulder blades or other areas even in the lack of any neck pain.

Cardiovascular disease

Heart attacks, especially heart attacks in women, do not always start with chest pain.This pain tends to be irritating and might be accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness. It’s essential for everybody to be knowledgeable about how the symptoms of heart attacks in women differ from those in men. Symptoms of heart problem in women are frequently atypical and vague, which is felt to be responsible for the greater death rate for women who have a heart attack.


Lung cancer, particularly Pancoast tumors, may trigger referred pain on upper spine between the shoulder by pressing on nerves near the top of the lungs. Other cancers which may trigger pain in this region include esophageal cancer, mesothelioma, lymphomas, and liver cancer. Cancers which spread out to the bones in the neck such as breast cancer may likewise trigger pain in between the shoulder blades and upper section of your spine, sometimes with no other symptoms.

Gallbladder disease

Can gallbladder cause pain between shoulder blades and spine? Yes, it does. Referred pain from gallbladder disease frequently happens as a stabbing pain in between the shoulder blades, and may be related to pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdominal area and queasiness. It typically takes place after consuming a fatty meal.

Nerve entrapment

Nerve entrapment such as in myofascial pain syndrome of the rhomboids can trigger pain between the shoulder blade and your spine.

Acid Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may trigger referred pain to the back in the region between the shoulder blades. Symptoms of GERD might also consist of chest pain, hoarseness, and trouble swallowing. Not only can unattended GERD cause discomfort, but is connected with the later advancement of strictures and esophageal cancer. Inflammation of the pancreas may likewise cause this type of pain due to inflammation to the underside of the diaphragm.


Scoliosis of the thoracic spine might trigger pain in this area. Many times individuals are mindful that they have a curvature of their spine, however not constantly.

Thoracic aorta rupture or aortic dissection

The pain that accompanies a thoracic aortic dissection (when a tear in the wall of the capillary allows blood to leak between the walls of the aorta) is typically rapid and very extreme, and is a medical emergency. This is frequently seemed like an abrupt sharp and tearing pain in the upper middle back.

Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary emboli happen when embolisms in the legs (deep venous thrombosis) break off and take a trip to the lungs. The pain is typically unexpected in start, sharp, and might be related to serious shortness of breath, although in some cases individuals notice only moderate pain. It is typically preceded by symptoms of blood clots in the legs consisting of pain, inflammation, and swelling. Some risk aspects for pulmonary emboli consist of medical conditions such as cancer, prolonged travel by automobile or airplane, extended bed rest, pregnancy, and recent surgery.

Thoracic vertebral compression fractures

Compression fractures, often due to osteoporosis, might cause interscapular pain. Given that fractures in this area are thought less typically than fractures in the cervical or back spine (and the area is imaged less often), the diagnosis may be postponed.


Shingles can trigger pain almost throughout the body, relying on which nerve roots the virus impacts, and might take place well prior to a rash is seen. The pain might be most pronounced in the area between your shoulder blades, but tends to focus on one side of the body or the other.

Epidural anesthesia

Women who have an epidural for labor or for a C-section in some cases experience extreme interscapular pain. The good news is, this pain fixes when the drip is slowed down and goes away relatively rapidly after shipment.

Treatment for Pain Between Shoulder Blade and Spine

Treatment of your pain will depend on the underlying reason for your symptoms. In order to get rid of pain you are experiencing between you carry blades, it’s extremely crucial to first figure out the exact cause.

When pain in between the shoulder blades is because of muscular causes it can be challenging to deal with, but various kinds of nerve obstructs done under ultrasound guidance have actually revealed considerable promise recently.

References / About Reyus Mammadli (article's author)

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