Updated: Feb 10
Pain in the shoulder blade region is a common issue that many people experience. It can be caused by a variety of things, including poor posture, tight muscles, and even stress. If you are dealing with pain in between the shoulder blades, you know how frustrating it can be. You may have tried stretches and foam rolling, but they haven't seem to help. In this article, we will discuss a specific movement that can help relieve Upper back pain.
First off, a lot of times people diagnose pain in the shoulder blade region as a Rhomboid issue. This is due to the fact that this muscle is the nearest one to the area of the pain. This muscle, however, is usually not the cause. The cause is commonly due to stress on the dorsal scapular nerve or another cervical structure. If you move your neck into a certain position and it recreates your pain, this confirms it. If not, this may be caused by one of the many pathologies that create a similar pain. In order to know exactly what is causing the pain a full in person evaluation is required.
Stress on the the dorsal scapular nerve occurs due to poor posture, overuse, and lack of mobility of key areas of the body. When poor posture creates a forward head position it will strain the muscles over the top of the nerve and the nerve itself. Poor posture also causes decreased mobility of the joints of the neck and mid back. Lacking this motion can cause a myriad of problems elsewhere in the body.
One of my favorite exercises and tests for mobility of the mid back is the archer.
During this movement you should be able to get your top shoulder within a few inches of the ground, if not perfectly flat without your knees coming apart. This is a great test of flexibility and also a great treatment.
Another key area to work on is mobility of the neck. My favorite area to stretch is the scalenes and levator muscles. These muscles can put pressure on the dorsal scapular nerve cause the pain to refer down into the mid back next to the shoulder blade. Try this one below to stretch this area out.
There are a ton more mobility, stretches, and manual therapy techniques that a physical therapist would use to help resolve this issue for you as well. Ideally you have a program designed specifically for your impairments. A skilled and experienced physical therapist will be able to identify this issue and prescribe a detailed home exercise program for you. Once you have the mobility that you need, our physical therapists always recommend restrengthening the area.
Some common ones you can do include:
Swiss ball A
Swiss ball T
Swiss ball Y
To summarize, there are many things that cause pain in the shoulder pain.
Dorsal scapular nerve
Muscles of the neck and back
The best way to treat and prevent this type of neck pain and back pain is to create a consistent mobility, stretching, and strengthening program. If you are having interscapular pain then please consider coming in to see us at one of our HIDEF Physical Therapy locations or a physical therapist in your area.
HIDEF Physical Therapy is now offering physical therapy in Bellevue, Renton, and Seattle WA.