Why does my back hurt in the shoulder area?

People associate back pain in the shoulder area with the condition of the spine. But pain in the upper back sometimes occurs due to diseases of the heart, respiratory system, and epigastrium. The pain is deceptive, it's localized in one place, like the chest, and it can radiate to the back, so people think it's pain in the spine. Hearing the sensations, knowing the nature of the pain, the possible symptoms, you can try to distinguish between diseases of the spine and mediastinum. To do this, you need to know what diseases cause back pain.

Check your back for shoulder pain


Back pain between the shoulder blades is essentially:

  • Acute form - perceived as increasing, becoming stronger over time, passing quickly enough;
  • Chronic - aches and pains, anxiety for a long time, does not stop until corrective action is taken.

Pain can occur after playing sports, or when a person is in a forced position for a long time, such as when sleeping without a pillow elevated. What is the nature of pain: intense, aching, dull pain between the shoulder blades is not a disease but a symptom of some disease. Therefore, before proceeding with any treatment, it is advisable to understand the causes of back pain between the shoulder blades.

There is no need to immediately run for medication, you must first see a doctor. The therapist will assess the nature of the pain, establish the diagnosis, and help answer the question of why the back pain is between the shoulder blades. Injury to the spine is not worth it, because if you fall, the cause of spinal pain between the shoulder blades is clear. And when the patient complains of unexplained pain, the doctor will associate these diseases with the disc column.


Disc herniation is rarely localized to the thoracic spine. This segment of the spine is not subject to heavy loads. But sometimes it still hurts in the spine between the shoulder blades for this reason. To rule out such a possibility, it is necessary to contact a neurologist and conduct research - CT, MRI.

With herniation, a pathological process occurs between the vertebrae - part of the disc protrudes outward, compressing the nerves.

The disc ruptures, the nucleus is a shock absorber, because the weight is not distributed correctly, causing nerve damage, back pain occurs. If this pathology is detected during the examination, then treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will be carried out. The doctor will prescribe exercise therapy, physical therapy. If the hernia is large and cannot be cured, surgery is indicated.

The hallmark of pain from a hernia will be intense pain in the same place when the beam is directed to the chest, as if the heart is being pricked with a needle. If not treated for a long time, it will lead to curvature, crooked legs, imbalance of pelvic organs. In addition, the patient is also haunted by constant chronic pain between the shoulder blades in the back.

Hypothermia of the spinal muscles and overactivity

You can often hear that the patient has "low back pain". It is a symptom or medical condition, not a disease. But if "low back pain" occurs, then this indicates a risk of osteosarcoma, scoliosis, hernia. People who work without changing positions for several hours a day will feel such back pain in the shoulder area.

The risk group is representative of the professions: office workers, tailors, dentists, drivers, surgeons. Working involves a forced posture, combined with hypothermia - drafts or temperature regulation will create a reaction for the muscles and spine, causing pain in the spine. Treatment is carried out with non-steroidal drugs, ointments, massage. People who encounter such a condition are shown preventive measures:

  • Regular massage courses;
  • Yoga or exercise therapy;
  • Avoid hypothermia and drafts;
  • Walk more often.

Through preventive methods, the uncomfortable symptoms associated with low back pain can be avoided.

With scoliosis

Scoliosis is a very common disease. Statistics say that 60% out of a hundred people suffer from this disease. The thoracic region is associated with scoliosis more often. Causes of Scoliosis:

  • Congenital pathologies related to the development of the skeletal system, the ligamentous apparatus;
  • Sedentary work;
  • Injured, when the rear download hysterical.

With scoliosis, the back between the shoulder blades hurts a lot, the spine begins to curve. In the early stages, it is almost unrecognizable, but if the disease is advanced, the scoliosis will become obvious. The back, with this disease, quickly gets tired, when examining the image, the patient's shoulder is in different degrees.

Pain is localized between the shoulder blades behind and behind the sternum. The nature of the pain is constant pain, like aching, but if it is physically overwhelming, the pain will be intense, sharp.

Long-term treatment. Scoliosis is corrected by stretching the vertebrae with a special corset worn behind the back. The doctor prescribes massage therapy and exercise. Pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory therapy will help relieve back pain between the shoulder blades.

Scoliosis is the cause of back pain in the shoulder area

With osteonecrosis

Osteonecrosis is now found even in children who have not yet reached puberty. And recently it is thought that this is a disease of the elderly.

In any case, the cause of osteonecrosis is - inactivity. There is a joint change in the spine, namely dystrophy. During this process, inflammation begins and the nerves of the spinal discs are compressed. That is why the back hurts in the area of the shoulder blade with osteonecrosis.

Pains are felt in nature - aching, when you sneeze, when you stand up suddenly or when you cough, they become very strong.

The patient is immobile, has difficulty breathing, is weak in the upper extremities, and is numb and unable to move. With osteonecrosis, they will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs intramuscularly, orally, as well as ointments, analgesics, special exercises to warm the affected area. For the prevention of diseases - activity and sports.

Manifestations of intercostal neuralgia

The cause of intercostal neuralgia is pressure on the nerve roots in the thoracic region. The culprits of this condition are trauma, infectious disease, osteonecrosis, and stress in the back. With sciatica, the spine between the shoulder blades is rarely painful, one side of the sternum between the ribs is often painful, but in some cases, shoulder pain and groaning may occur. The pain will increase if you press your hand on the sternum.

Treatment methods will be: physiotherapy, acupuncture, vitamin B supplements, they have the ability to restore nerve structures. If the disease is more severe, they will block off novocaine, prescribe sedatives and distracting ointments.

Manifestations of myositis

Myositis presents with cold sensation, excessive spinal muscle tension, trauma, hypothermia. The inflammatory process of the muscle occurs in the acute and chronic stages. The back can be painful in different parts and in the spine between the shoulder blades, the lower back can also be sore. The pains are excruciating in nature, with any movement they increase. What to do with myositis? Pain relievers and ointments have a warming effect.

Manifestations of degenerative spondylolisthesis

The presentation of this disease is similar to that of osteonecrosis, in which the pain in the spine between the shoulder blades is chronic, with an increasing load on the back. In addition, the shoulder blade also hurts more when the disease is more severe. The hallmark of spondylolisthesis is the destruction of cartilage in the vertebrae, where cartilage is replaced by bone. During diagnosis, these changes are observed on X-ray or MRI, and if we examine the affected vertebrae, bony projections are found on them.

Treatment is prescribed complex. First, the pain is relieved - it can be pain relievers, nonsteroidal drugs, novocaine blockers.

Magnetic therapy and electrophoresis, laser, electric current are prescribed. There are many physical therapy procedures for this disease, so we will leave this choice to the doctor. Traction is traction therapy. The areas where the inflammation occurs will be affected by the electric current, so the contraction is reduced, endorphins are produced, which act as a pain reliever. Back massage helps to relax, eliminate pain.

Doctor's advice for shoulder pain

Massage is especially indicated for diseases related to the spine, but cannot be used during exacerbations, when any effect on the vertebrae is contraindicated. The same rule applies to acupuncture.

The main method of treatment and prevention for diseases of the spine will be physical therapy exercises - movement therapy, crossbar exercises, specifically pull-up exercises. Swimming has proven itself very well, so it would be nice to go to the pool. All of these methods must be under the guidance of experienced professionals to be potentially beneficial.

Pain in internal organs

If there is pain between the shoulder blades in the back, this does not mean that the cause lies in the spine. All diseases of the organs located in the mediastinum have symptoms, pain in the shoulder area. Malfunctioning processes in the heart organ, the onset of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris causes pain below the shoulder blades. An acute attack accompanied by a drop in blood pressure. Be sure to call an ambulance.

The pains that characterize these conditions are acute, but their duration is about 5 minutes. The pain is relieved by taking nitroglycerin.

When you have ulcers and pancreatitis, your back also hurts in the shoulder area, but with these diseases, the pain can still be localized in the stomach, epigastrium and digestive disorders, so you need to pay attention. listen. the nature of how you feel and try to discern all the symptoms.

If the back hurts in the shoulder area and is accompanied by a cough, then most likely these are pathological changes of the respiratory system - pneumonia. With respiratory diseases, the temperature rises, the pain between the shoulder blades will be stronger when taking a deep breath. Anyone who has ever had the flu or an acute respiratory infection can develop pleurisy, pneumonia. If there is no temperature in pain, they are not accompanied by cardiovascular manifestations, cough and gastrointestinal disturbances.

How to relieve pain?

Before visiting your doctor, you can try to ease your condition on your own. You can do self-massage and special exercises for pain relief:

  1. We put our fingers on the shoulders and begin to rotate the elbows;
  2. Raise your arms overhead, closing your palms over your head. Downward. Twist the body to the right and left;
  3. Sit in a chair, lower your head so that your chin touches your chest, and place your fingers together at the back of your head. Slowly press your hands to the back of your head. If the pain is severe, stop exercising;
  4. Turn your head slowly - to the side, back, to the side, forward;
  5. After throwing backwards, right hand behind the head, while sitting, lean slowly to the left. Switch hands and lean in the opposite direction.

It should be reiterated that in acute forms of any disease, massage is contraindicated. Hands clenched into fists, thumbs sticking out. Starting from the lower back, circular movements of fists on the skin go up. You can make circular motions with your second and third fingers. It is important not to put pressure on the site of pain. If during the massage the pain only increases, then the treatment should be stopped.

Home remedies for pain include applying ointments and gels. It must be remembered that all these activities are only for pain relief, but not for treatment. Therapy really needs to be prescribed by a doctor, so if there is temporary improvement, this does not mean that the disease is in remission. Go to the doctor right away and stay healthy.