Shoulder Blade Pain

If you’re like many other people, then you’ve experienced a nasty burning ache coming from inside your shoulder blade. Usually this unpleasant sensation is located on the inside border of the scapula (the shoulder blade), and it’s more-often-then-not going to be affecting your right shoulder more than the left.

The red area shows where this pain typically is located.

This area has a lot of things going on. There are a number of muscles which overlap at this place, including the trapezius (“the traps”) and the rhomboids. These muscles assist with shoulder movement and stability, and help provide a stable base for your arm to use.

Pain in this area is typical of someone who works at a computer. Because of the postural strain of having to work on a computer and use a mouse and keyboard this area will often suffer. Many people will describe this as a “burning” pain.

Before coming in for treatment at our office most people have already tried things like mashing their backs into corners, or into tennis or lacrosse balls, and a variety of stretches. All of these things are likely to have some success, although it is usually limited.

The muscles in this area attach both to the shoulder blade and to the spine. The strain placed on these muscles invariably causes strain and pain in the nearby thoracic spine. Once the spine is sufficiently irritated your issue becomes more painful and less likely to respond to basic at-home therapy. It’s not impossible to solve this on your own, but it’s more challenging.

Importantly, a cervical disc bulge is very likely to create a burning pain in this same area, so we will want to make sure that’s not the case.

Getting past this pain therefore involves more than just stretching. It involves treating the thoracic spine and ensuring that your rib cage and spine are properly mobilized. It involves evaluating and treating the rhomboids and the traps. It means we need to look at the front of the torso, too, to see how other involved muscles and joints are doing. Quite often the shoulder joint needs to be adjusted or worked on. In most cases the neck is pathologically stiff, and in those cases there are usually headaches or jaw pain, too.

If any of this sounds like you then please give us a call! We’d love to have you come in to see what we can do for you. The initial visit at our office is an hour-long discussion with an exam and treatment. We don’t try to sham-wow you with anything fancy, but we will listen to your concerns and do our best to get you feeling good before you leave.