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The trapezius muscle is one of the largest muscles, extending down from the neck to the middle of the upper back and stretching across the shoulder blades. Many other conditions can also affect neck and shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, cervial arthritis or spondylosis, ruptured disk, small fractures from osteoporosis, narrowing of the spine canal (spinal stenosis), infection in the spine and cancer that involves the spine.
Resting, as mush as possible and limit your daily activities to reduce inflammation and avoid aggravating the your upper back muscles (trapezius) and prevent any further re-injury. For years, doctors, trainers, and other medical professionals have recommended RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to treat the pain and swelling of fresh injuries, chronic pain, and after any re-injury.
Mild, moderate and severe cases of neck and shoulder strain are best treated with conservative home therapies. Although RICE can help to treat these symptoms, ice and freezer gel packs reach temperatures so low they can cause cryoburn, an ice burn on your skin. Fortunately, you no longer have to settle for these ice cold methods that are uncomfortably cold against your skin, provide short term relief, cause ice burns, and numb your skin and underlying tissue beyond feeling so you don't even notice the ice burn until it's too late. This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through the tissue and tissue cells begin to break-down. Adding stretches to your daily route will help reduce pain and prevent re-injury to your upper back (trapezius muscles). Once the inflammation in your shoulder has been reduced, providing extra blood flow and strengthening the tissue in the muscles, tendons, and surrounding area is recommended.
Using Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy (BFST®), will speed your recovery and heal your shoulder more completely preparing it for strengthening exercises.
Unfortunately, scar tissue may plague you for weeks, months and maybe even years, depending on your level of activity and the amount of conservative treatments you have done during your rehabilitation. If you want to avoid re-injury, or manage pain and increase circulation for lifelong health benefits.
Learn more about how the Shoulder Freezie Wrap® is designed to be the most effective cold compression wrap on the market today. Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Use these tips from a Spinal Specialist for upper back pain reliefSeptember 02, 2012 by 314mediapain, shoulder blades, upper back, upper back pain0 CommentHow can I get rid of pain between shoulder blades?
Middle or upper back pain can occur anywhere from the base of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage just above the lumbar spine of the low back.  It is very common to have pain between the shoulders but also radiating up into the neck and headaches at the base of the skull. Upper back pain is less common than pain in other parts of the spine and back in general.  This relative freedom from pain in the upper back (also known as the thoracic spine or middle back) is due to the difference in form and function compared to the neck (cervical spine) or low back (lumbar spine). With this comparatively little motion and a great deal of stability throughout the upper back and thoracic spine, this area of the spine does not tend to develop spinal disorders as commonly as occur in the neck and lower back, such as a herniated disc, mechanical misalignment, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or spinal instability. When pain between the shoulder blades does occur it can be significant because off the greater number of articulations and muscles that work together in this area, as well as because of the constant movement of the chest during normal respiration. The lower neck, upper back and chest and  shoulders share a complex of large muscles providing most of the work ability of the body share attachments to the should neck, upper back, shoulder blades, chest cage, and upper arms. If there is a specific area that is very tender, the source of the upper back pain may be an active trigger point. Only if pain is significant, should over-the-counter drugs be taken because pain generally has a positive limiting and warning effect to help the sufferer identify which postures and activities are aggravating the condition.  If overwhelming, drugs to reduce pain can be used, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, Advil, Aleve, aspirin, and Motrin).
Effective treatment for joint dysfunction usually includes manual manipulation by an osteopathic physician or chiropractor to mobilize the joint and restore correct alignment to relieve the pain.  Permanent relief often requires a home exercise and stretching program for the spine and shoulders, along with aerobic conditioning to maintain sustained upper back pain relief.
Upper back pain is sometimes due to a serious condition that should demands immediate evaluation in an emergency setting. The greater structural stability of the upper back (thoracic spine) tends to prevent disc herniations, spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease from developing in this part of the body.  As a result only 1% of all disc herniations occur in the thoracic spine and other degenerative problems are usually less advanced. Biliary colic, characterized by pain in the abdomen, may cause upper back pain between the shoulder blades. A possible cause of upper back pain is biliary colic, which occurs when gallstones block the bile ducts. Upper back pain between the shoulder blades can be caused by several factors, some of which are quite simple to treat and some more complicated.
A more serious condition that may result in upper back pain between the shoulder blades is biliary colic, which is a condition that usually causes pain in the abdomen. Poor posture can put excess pressure and strain on the neck and shoulders, leading to pain in the upper back. I have this very intense pain from my middle back up, across my shoulder blades,all the way across my chest and upper stomach and under both of my upper arms.
There’s this spot on my upper back that my husband and I lovingly refer to as my baseball.
For many years, this is exactly how I responded – take something to numb it (numb ME) and shut it up, distract myself with food or television, or better yet, I would get angry, frustrated, and indignant that this was my life, this was my body. I chuckled when I saw this, even shared it on Facebook, and then continued to ignore my emotions, ignore the messages. And then I went to bed, and woke up in the middle of the night feeling like someone had taken a bat to my baseball, and my neck, and my head. And this is why acts of self-love and compassion like yoga and meditation are called practices. I know this place on my back is where I carry my emotional pain – and yet I still chose to ignore it, and worse yet I chose to be physically aggressive with it. We offer a free consultation where We will review your health history, x-rays and MRIa€™s and discuss your treatment options including time frame and costs. June 26, 2012 By Jason Hodge 4 Comments If you sit at a desk all day, you know how quickly neck and shoulder pain can develop. One of the important things about exercises for people at the office is the ability to do it without a lot of attention drawn to yourself. The rhomboids, when strengthened, will pull back your shoulders, stretch your chest muscles, and have you sitting up straighter. Inevitably someone will ask if this is something they will have to do the rest of their life.
So if simply activating your rhomboid muscles with your arms while sitting at a desk is enough to straighten out your posture, imagine what would happen if you also made those muscles stronger? Filed Under: Neck Pain About Jason HodgeJason Hodge, founder of Medical Fitness Pros, has been voted Best Personal Trainer in Katy, 4 times as well as Best Weight Loss Center, Best Wellness Center, and Best Fitness Center. I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the fantastic work. Quite often a patient would come into the Chiropractic clinic and tell me they have an upper back discomfort that is causing a pain between their shoulder blades. The patient will then usually want to show me the area where their dull ache or stabbing pain is by touching my own thoracic spine.
This type of patient will usually say that what they are experiencing in their upper back region can be described as: a burning ache, stabbing or a sharp pain between shoulder blades.

Today you are going to learn a lot about the symptoms of middle to upper back pain, common and serious causes for pain between shoulder blades and treatment tips for getting relief from aches and pain in-between the shoulder blades in your back today.
The area of the upper back (spine) between the two shoulder blades is called the thoracic spine. Looking at the picture on the right you will see from Gray’s Anatomy a drawing of the mid-back, upper-back and the surrounding back muscles. I hope this anatomical picture helps you visualise your mid-back and upper-back structure better. As I mentioned earlier there are many times a person will come into see a chiropractor for treatment because of this pain in-between the shoulder blades and spine that they cannot get rid of. Do some of these symptoms sound familiar to you at all? These are just some of the typical things I might hear people say about a problem in their muscles, joints or nerves of the thoracic spine. Of course once your told your chiropractor your symptoms you’ll want to know what causes this shoulder blade pain. Below are some of the normal mechanical causes and then the more serious causes of thoracic pain. The spinal joints (facets) can, like the ribs, move abnormally causing a pain in the middle of the spine. You can watch the video below of a chiropractor performing a basic mechanical assessment of the middle and upper thoracic spine. As you may have read above there are times severe back pain can be coming from a more serious cause.
You could try using a chair or hand-held massager machine to try relax any muscular tension between the shoulders.
The cat stretch is when you slowly try round your shoulders as much as you can whilst pushing your spine backwards to get a stretch between the shoulder blade muscles. Sometimes having poor posture for too long causes our muscle knots and irritated rib or spinal joints.
Hey Maggie, there are lots of people reading this who could probably relate to what you are going through.
All of the things mentioned in the Symptoms is stuff I have but I have suffered for years even after visits to the chiropractor and heat therapy, stretching and massage There must be a more permanent cure. Hi, ive suffered with left side chest, umder arm and shoulder blade pain for about 3 years its that bad i cry at nite at times doctor’s said frozen shoulder, costercondritis, muscle strain etc. Woke up on Sunday fine, it since then am struggling to move, pain seems to only be there when I move, feels like whole half of my middle back is falling into my bottom, what could be problem .
Hi Medo, if I were you I would first be considering a peptic or duodenal ulcer being a cause of the symptoms.
Now I am having another problem, that my chest is killing me when too, I wake up with pain like my ribs are squeezing my chest and the muscles around them are so stiff and tight.
A simple answer might be with an upset stomach episode if you were vomiting lots you could be sore from that, but it shouldn’t last long if that is the case.
It just feels like there is some kind of spinal cord irratation, that gets sorer the longer it goes on. On average, i get asked that around 5 times a day, now, I can refer this article to them beforehand, perhaps on the phone.
The main job of the trapezius muscle is to stabilize and move the shoulder blades (scapula).
The problem is, up until now there hasn't been another option to treat painful conditions and injuries, so ice and freezer gel packs have been the only choice. The Freezie Wrap® allows you to treat your shoulder in an effective and convenient way. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells do not get the oxygen they need to survive. BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your soft tissue to nourish your tendons, ligaments and muscles, improving elasticity and increasing the healing process. Our natural process for repair to damaged tissue is to heal the quickest way = scar tissue and adhesions. Ultimately what causes stiffening in the shoulder muscles, entrapping a nerve (may lead to paralysis of the deltoid muscle), restricting movement, less elasticity, poor circulation, and flexibility.
Scar tissue is a major problem, especially when it comes to re-injury of your deltoid muscles. Much of the pain you feel will be from the swelling, and you will be surprised how fast the pain drops off once the swelling is down. The neck and lower back are designed for mobility, while the upper back or thoracic spine is designed to work with the 12 pair of ribs, breast bone in front, shoulder blades and collar bones to provide a stable base for shoulders, provide for an upright posture, and to protect the heart and lungs in the chest.
Poor posture is a very common cause of back pain, as is spinal compression and the more serious herniated disc. It occurs when bile produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder gets blocked by gallstones and cannot do its job of helping to break down fats. Such pain often occurs in people who sit for long periods of time, especially if those people spend a significant amount of time staring at a computer. Such compression occurs throughout the day as gravity pulls down on the body, and usually rest or stretching will be enough to alleviate the pain. It has improved so much the last few years since I have immersed myself into my healing journey.
It is a continual practice to adopt and integrate behaviors that increase wellbeing, and decrease suffering. Most people can’t reach the painful area on their own backs so they need to help me to know exactly where it is hurting. I easily find a common problem in these thoracic muscle trigger points in one of the upper back muscles, especially the levator scapulae. Mechanical neck pain can also be a cause of pain near the shoulder blade and top of the shoulders. If you are stressed out and immune system run down the typically dormant, herpes zoster virus, can become active.
Using a microwaveable wheat bag, hot water bottle or a warm moist towel apply the heat to the painful muscle to try relax the muscle knot.
If you have been doing lots of sitting with desk work or computer work then try go do some gentle exercise to see if it can help stimulate your spinal posture. The above self-treatment list for upper back pain is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is something very simple for you to try if you wish. Thoracic spine pain in the general population: prevalence, incidence and associated factors in children, adolescents and adults. There can be lots of different inflammatory markers in the blood which means maybe the common ones show up as normal in you, but there might be others that aren’t.

I feel like I’ve gone from a woman who was pretty well healthy all the time to feeling like an old woman. The pain is down the right side of my neck under right shoulder blade and under right arm across my right side of my chest. It could be postural fatigue syndrome like upper crossed syndrome originally discussed by Dr Janda. Perhaps, a bit off topic but what’s your viewpoint on the relationship between rest and weight loss?
This is a highly informative article Gary and will help a huge amount of people and save chiropractors a lot of time.
We put our trapezius muscle into action with regular simple activites lifting, pulling or rotating the neck, moving your arms, throwing a ball, push our arms in an overhead press, shrug you shoulders and help us breath. By limiting the amount of damage done to your deltoid muscle, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. Muscle related injuries can easily turn from a grade 1 deltoid muscle strain into a grade 2 or a grade 2 into a grade 3 shoulder injury. Muscle strains, sports injuries, auto accidents, or other injuries can all result in pain from muscular irritation. The pain may also be a referred pain, a type of pain that originates in one part of the body but spreads and is felt in other places not directly affected by the condition. Muscles within the body try to move the stones, which can lead to pain, usually in the right side of the abdomen.
If the computer screen is in a position that forces the neck to bend unnaturally for long periods of time, or if the computer's keyboard is in such a position that the user must thrust his or her arms forward, upward, or downward to use it, pain may result in the neck and shoulders. Spinal compression can lead to herniated discs in the spine, however, which is a more troublesome condition that can cause nerve pain throughout the body, including between the shoulder blades, depending on the position of the herniated disc.
I now practice self-compassion and self-acceptance, combined with yoga and meditation, and I have a completely different experience of pain in my body. When a baby cries, the mother responds by tuning in to the cry and providing what the baby needs in that moment.
I read Angel Cards frequently, and almost always before every yoga class I teach, I sit down with a deck of Angel Cards, and ask my angels and guides for guidance. This is the time when you want people to rub your shoulders or you try to get something hard like a golf ball or tennis ball to push into your back. A cervical spinal nerve refers pain away from the neck commonly down the inside of the shoulder blade and outer arm. The herpes zoster virus lays dormant in our spinal nerves near the ribs waiting to attack when we are down.
Heart attack symptoms are of suddenly break out into a sweat, go pale, feel nausea, pain down the left arm and around the shoulder blade and a tight closing in chest pain. You could also see a massage therapist for a deep tissue massage for chronic tension in the upper back and neck.
I love these exercises as you can do it now at home to reset your thoracic kyphosis spinal curve.
Emotional or mental stress can increase our muscle tone leaving us with tight tense muscles running into the neck,top of the shoulders and upper back.
If you are feeling like you are getting nowhere with your GP as to what the cause is you can either try another GP for a second opinion or see a local chiropractor to have your daughter assessed to get a plan of action in place. So best to speak with a GP about your stomach referring the pain between your shoulders and let them do a physical exam on you to get it sorted. I’ve tried many things, changed my bed and slept on the ground, stretched my back etc.
Your doctor can review your personal health situation to see should you be on medication, if you are are you on the best ones at the correct dosage needed, could you try lifestyle changes to change inflammation in your blood tests maybe as a natural anti-inflammatory etc… I hope you get help managing your health soon to give you relief. Sufferers of gall stones often report referred pain between the shoulder blades, perhaps as a result of the muscle strain occurring within the body.
Muscles often begin to tire from holding the positions for so long, and when this happens, they tend to tighten.
I pushed through my days, pushed through my week, grimacing and getting angry every time I felt the pain, but never addressing it directly. I think this is because of our seated posture when we tend to slump our shoulders through this area. These are involved with the widespread body pain which might be one avenue to consider if you haven’t already. Especially my back but shoulders neck and muscles when I stand up I hobble and limo around and feel like i have to unfold myself to get moving. A good blood test to consider with stomach ulcers is to test for something called Helicobacter pylori. The pain hurts my stomach gives me IBS and bladder problems, hip buttock arm chest pain etc. Time for a hot bath, some gentle streches, then i’ll show the misses the video and she can give me a back rub for a change.
This can cause discomfort in the neck and shoulders, as well as between the shoulder blades.
Instead of reacting to it, I now try to listen to it, and decipher the messages coming from my body, and respond with compassion. It is up to me to act on the messages, up to me to tune in and listen to the wisdom of my body – and the more I do, the more I learn to appreciate and love my body. Here is a picture of some thoracic trigger points in the neck,scapula and thoracic muscles. From a manual medicine point of view I would be looking at the dynamic neuromuscular stabilization exercises (DNS) and maybe even Vojta therapy. But now although I have had the physical therapy, exersice massage etc… the pain seems always present although it is a bearable pain but it really affects my everyday activities.
It really worsen when I sleep, after 5-6 I will wake up in total pain that I can’t move and have to sit for a while so the pain ease and I can get back to sleep again, then the same thing happens. There are UK chiro’s trained in DNS which also uses the Vojta reflex locomotion points. Best i can describe it is i feel like the day after some heavy physical activity all the time now.

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