Shoulder blade pain: 14 steps to get rid of it

Shoulder blade pain

Have you ever suffered from that nagging shoulder blade pain?… And no matter what you tried to do, it never seemed to go away for good?

I am willing to bet the source of the pain is coming from your posture.

… And by fixing your bad posture, I am here to tell you that there is a way to completely eliminate your shoulder blade pain!



 * * Warning * * Please read first

I am assuming that your shoulder blade pain is coming directly from your muscles

However, there are other reasons that may be causing your pain.

Consult your doctor if you suspect any of the following conditions:

  • Nerve or discogenic issues
  • Heart conditions
  • Shingles
  • History of cancer
  • Lung conditions
  • Osteoporosis

// Why is my posture causing my shoulder blade pain?

To put it simply – your bad posture is overloading the muscles between the shoulder blades.

If you have bad posture, the muscles between your shoulder blades are forced to work harder as they try to pull the shoulder back.

(…This all happens at a subconscious level!)

Multiply this issue with the amount of time that you are sitting with bad posture and before you know it, you now have shoulder blade pain.

// How long will it take to fix the pain between the shoulder blades?

It will take as long as it takes.

(There are no overnight fixes here, unfortunately!)

Persist with the following 14 steps over the next couple of weeks.

It has likely taken a long time for the pain between the shoulder blades to develop, so it is going to take some time and effort to get rid of it as well.

It is better to fix this problem now rather than letting it become a bigger problem in the future. Take control!



Interested in fixing your posture?

.. then come join me on the Facebook page!

I share all of my best posture tips there 🙂


// How to eliminate Shoulder Blade Pain

Follow these 14 simple steps to finally eliminate and overcome your shoulder blade pain.

1. Release the painful area

Massaging the area of pain between your shoulder blades will ease the tension going through the muscle.

What do you need? All you really need is some sort of massage ball to do this to yourself.

I recommend using a lacrosse ball for best results as it has the right amount of firmness without being too uncomfortable to use.

shoudler blade ball

Instructions:

  • Place the massage ball at the site of pain between the shoulder blades.
  • Apply as much of your body weight as required over the ball.
  • To increase the release, move your arm in a up/down motion. (see above)
  • Target those painful areas!
    • The tighter/overactive the muscle is, the more pain there will be. Don’t stop!
  • Continue for 3-5 minutes.

2. Stretch the shoulder blade muscle

Muscles that are over active will tend to be the ones that hurt the most.

By stretching the overactive muscles, it will help them relax and result in a reduction in the pain between the shoulder blade.

Instructions:

  • Grab an exercise ball.
  • Proceed to wrap your arms around the ball as far as you can.
  • Hunch your upper back as much as possible as you push your hands away from you.
  • Look down.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the area you experience pain.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2 times.

Note: Do NOT over stretch this muscle! (This may cause the muscle to become even weaker). Aim to stretch it just enough so that there is a reduction in your pain between shoulder blades.


3. Apply heat

Heat is great for relaxing the muscles in between your shoulder blades.

Consider taking a hot shower or applying a hot pack for at least 10 minutes.

4. Shoulder circles

This will help warm up your muscles and get more blood to the target areas.

Instructions:

  • Place your finger tips on your shoulders.
  • Slowly (and forcefully) draw large circles with your elbows in a up>back>down direction.
  • Make sure your squeeze the muscles between your shoulder blades as firmly as you can.
    • Try to contract the area where you experience pain.
  • Repeat 30 times.

5. Shoulder pumps

Similarly to shoulder circles, this exercise will help warm up your muscles.

elbow flares

Instructions:

  • Place both hands (with elbows forward) on the sides of your head. (see Start position)
  • Bring your elbows all the back. (see End position)
    • Make sure to squeeze the muscles in between your shoulder blades as firmly as you can.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 30 times.

6. Release other tight muscles

There are other muscles that pull the shoulder blade out of the ideal alignment.

This will cause the muscles between your shoulder blades to work excessively to pull it back into alignment. (… and thus leading to your pain)


Here’s an analogy:

Think about the game of tug-of-war. As one side pulls harder, the other side has to work even harder to counter act the increased resistance.


By reducing the tension in these opposing tight muscles, it will reduce the over activity of the shoulder blade muscles.

a) Upper trapezius stretch:

neck side stretch

Instructions:

  • Tilt your head to the side.
  • Feel a deep stretch between the side of the neck and top of the shoulder.
  • Increase the stretch by pulling the head further to your shoulder.
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2 times.

b) Serratus anterior release:

serratus anteriorlatfoam

Instructions:

  • Locate the Serratus anterior muscle on the side of your rib cage. (see above)
    • They are the “bumpy bits” that sit on top of your ribs.
  • Place this area on top of a foam roller.
  • Use your body weight to apply a pressure directly to the Serratus anterior muscle.
  • Gently circle around this area.
  • Continue for 30-60 seconds.

c) Pec minor release:

pecminorball chest

Instructions:

  • Locate your Pec minor muscle. (see above)
  • Place this area on top of a massage ball.
  • Using your body weight, circle around the Pec minor muscle.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

d) Subclavius:

Instructions:

  • Locate your Subclavius muscle. (see above)
  • Place this area on top of a massage ball.
  • Using your body weight, circle around the subclavius muscle.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

d) Latissimus dorsi stretch

Instructions:

  • Assume the position above.
  • Whilst holding onto the door frame, let your upper arm take the weight of your body.
    • “Let your body hang”
  • Whilst anchoring your legs as shown, aim to bend your mid section as much as possible.
    • Use your body weight to sink into the stretch
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side of your torso.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

7. Stretch the thoracic spine

If your spine is used to being hunched forwards, your shoulder blade is going to be placed in poor position.

Stretching the thoracic spine into extension will help place these shoulder blade muscles in a better position to function.

Thoracic extension

Instructions:

  • Using a rolled up towel or foam roller, place it in the middle of your thoracic spine (see above).
  • Whilst supporting your head with your hands behind your neck, roll your body weight onto the foam roller.
  • Arch your thoracic area (upper back) backwards.
  • Be sure not to cheat by arching your lower back too much.
  • Maintain this position for 1 minute.

*** For more exercises to loosen up the joints your upper back, have a look at this post for thoracic spine exercises.


8.  Chest stretch

Tight chest muscles can pull your shoulder blade out of alignment.

wall squeeze

Instructions:

  • Place both hands high up on a wall in front of you.
  • Lean firmly into your hands.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades down.
  • You should feel a stretch at the front of your chest.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 1-3 times.

9. Promote shoulder mobility

If you lack full mobility of your shoulder joint, there will be compensatory changes in your posture.

If you lack internal rotation: The shoulder will natural hitch up and cause more strain to the muscles between the shoulder blades.

To check if you lack internal rotation:

IR test

  • Lie down with your shoulder at 90/90 position (see above).
  • Drop your hand down towards the ground.
  • If your shoulder pops up before you reach 60-70 degrees of pure shoulder movement, then you have a lack of true internal rotation.

To increase the internal rotation of the shoulder:

hbb retraction

Instructions:

  • Place your hand as far up behind your back.
  • Pull your shoulders backwards firmly.
  • Hold for 60 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • To progress this exercise: Do the same exercise whilst lying on your back.

10. Strengthen your postural muscles

Strengthening the postural muscles that are responsible for optimal shoulder blade placement is vital!

a) Wall angel

angel 1angel 2

Instructions:

  • Stand with your back to a wall.
  • Keep your back and arms pulled backwards as to remain in contact with the wall throughout movements.
  • Place your arms in the ‘W’ starting position.
  • Transition to ‘I’ end position.
  • 10 repetitions.

Note: If you can’t keep your whole arm on the wall, step out so that your feet are about 30-40cm away from the wall.

b) Incline rows

Instructions:

  • Lie down on an inclined bench.
  • Whilst holding weights in both hands, slowly (and with control) lower your hands down towards the ground.
  • Let your shoulders protract forward.
  • Pull the weight up by squeezing the muscles between your shoulder blades together.
  • Keep your arms straight.
  • Pause at the top of the movement for 5 seconds.
    • Keep those shoulder blade muscles engaged!
  • Repeat 30 times.

11. Postural taping

Taping your shoulder position will help you maintain the right posture and prevent you from defaulting back to bad posture.

tapesh

There are many different methods to tape your posture so you may need to see which one suits you the best. But the main one (and easiest) I use for most of my clients with shoulder blade pain can be seen in the picture above.

Instructions:

  • Maintain a good posture by gently pulling your shoulders back into a neutral position.
  • On the side of your pain, place the tape starting from collar bone and pull back and down to the middle of your thoracic spine.  (as above)
  • Make sure you place firm downward pressure when applying the tape.
  • If you develop any itchiness, rashes or swelling from the tape, it may mean you are allergic to it.
    • If this is the case, remove it as soon as possible.
  • Keep it on for 1-2 days.

12. Release trigger points

A trigger point is a part of the muscle where there is a significant amount of increased tension.

Having trigger points in certain muscles can refer pain to the region between the shoulder blades.

Here are the 3 main ones:

(Pressing into the trigger points (marked X) will help reduce the referred pain between the shoulder blades.)

a) Scalenes
Images from TriggerPoints.

b) Levator scapula

c) Infrapsinatus


13. Reduce exposure to aggravating factors

When are you experiencing your pain?

Whatever it may be: Either change it so that it doesn’t make your pain worse, or don’t do it at all!

A common time when people experience pain between the shoulder blades is when they are in front of a computer.

Make sure your workstation is helping you maintain a better posture!

ergonomics Image from Village Health – Osteopathic clinic.

If you want to know exactly how to do this, head over to this post: FREE E-BOOK: How to set up your workstation for everything that you need.

14. Fix your Posture!

The root cause of the pain between the shoulder blades is posture.

… your bad posture!

The following postural distortions will specifically influence the shoulder blade region:

a) Rounded shoulders

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is rounded-shoulders.jpg

Check out this post to fix your Rounded shoulders!

b) Scapula Winging

winged scapula

Check out this post to fix Scapula Winging.

c) Scoliosis

Check out this post to fix your Scoliosis.

d) Thoracic kyphosis

Check out this post to fix your Hunched back.


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What to do next…

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3. Start doing the exercises!

About

I am a physiotherapist who has personally experienced the pain as a result of bad posture. I would like to offer you some of the solutions that I and my patients have greatly benefited from.

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309 thoughts on “Shoulder blade pain: 14 steps to get rid of it

  1. Dear Mark,
    I have pain in my left shoulder blade. feels like the inside of my left shoulder blade and also sharp pain in my forearm as well. the pain is much less or goes away if i’m sitting down and my legs are laid straight on an ottoman. Pain comes back if I stand up or sitting down on a solid chair or while driving. Sometimes pain keeps up every night for the past 18 days .It’s a constant sharp pain behind left shoulder blade and my forearm, I don’t have any weakness or tingling in my arm or hand, sometimes pain radiate into my triceps. Meloxicam and Muscle relaxants are not helping for 18 days now.
    any suggestions ?

    1. Hey Robert,

      Sometimes issues in the neck/shoulder region can refer pain down the arm.

      If you do not get relief from the steps mentioned in the blog post, I would make sure you rule the more sinister health problems involving the heart, nerves etc.

      Mark

  2. Thank you for all your insights. Do you have any experience with crepitus under the shoulder blade. I did have several rotator cuff tears on the same side (right). About 3 years ago, I had corrective surgery. My MRI at that time also indicated scapular bursitis. I’ve had months of PT and exercise regularly including strength training and yoga. But no matter how much I strengthen the shoulder and stretch, the crepitus under the shoulder blade remains a constant source of discomfort. Any thoughts? Thank you!

    1. Hi Beth,

      I find this is usually do to:

      1) The insertion points of your middle traps/rhomboid. Esp. in Rounded shoulders, these tendons become fairly ELONGATED. As a result, they can develop these “chunky and flicky” bits as you move your shoulder blade around.

      and/or

      2) Your shoulder blade bone grinding against your ribs.

      Either way, you need to optimise the position of your shoulder blade!

      Mark

  3. Hey mark,

    I injured my supraspinatus a few years ago with sharp pain in back corner of the left shoulder and since that pain went away now I have pain between my shoulder blades on the left side of the spine. Also the left shoulder blade cracks alot gliding on the left side. I have been trying to do your exercises daily for about a month. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks for all the great information!

      1. Hello sir i injured my right shoulder and right scapula during a fight can i eliminate pain by this excercises how many days we must do these excercises

  4. Hi sir…I am from Taminadu.I got a severe pain in my left shoulder blade.Can this exercise help me for cure?Have this problem frm past 10 days.I cant lift down on left side of head.

    1. Hi Deepak,

      If they pain is from the muscle between the shoulder blades, you should find these exercises are quite helpful.

      If in doubt, check with the doctor!

      Mark

  5. Hello, I recently bought a new ergonomic chair and the when I sit on it, only my left shoulder blade ( it feels like its being stretched kind of pain on the bottom part of the blade) hurts. Can you help me figure out/ understand (what is going on) if the chair is the cause or is it because of the reasons listed in this article. Also why not my right side ? Thank you. I will be trying your exercises.

    1. Hi Rey,

      If your pain only started after using the new chair (and no other new factors were introduced), then it is likely the chair is contributing to your left shoulder blade pain.

      You can test this out by using your old chair and see if it makes any difference. If there is a difference, then the chair itself, or how it interacts relative to the table, may be the culprit.

      If pain remains the same, it’s likely the muscles are strained.

      Pain in the LOWER region of the shoulder blade may suggest that your left shoulder girdle may be elevating/protracting/upward rotating. The exercises mentioned in the blog post will be perfect for this.

      Mark

  6. Hey, thanks for the article! I’ve been experiencing pain in the exact area you marked in the picture of this post for 6 months. But I only feel pain it in my right shoulder blade when I retract my shoulder blades strongly. However, The pain gets worse after I workout but only for some time, the next day it is as usual. Do you think your excerises will help? And how should I workout, I really dont want to stop completely?

  7. Hi mark…I am from Srinagar Jammu and Kashmir India .I am suffering from pain in between my shoulder blades.And some times i suffer lower back pains.Can u please suggest me some exercises

  8. hi,
    Month ago got a sb pain while drying my hair, i could feel the stretch n some sound due to sudden jerk.. till now the pain dnt gt better… suggest!
    N u r doin a grt job… kudos!

  9. Hi Mark, fantastic page here. Its extremely helpful for me.

    May I ask for some advice?

    Around 4 months ago, I was getting pain in my front left pec area, after thinking it was just a muscle pain, I rested a while, but still it did not go away. After 4 weeks I visited a GP here in England and he has since referred me to a muscular skeletal specialist. Still waiting to be seen 🙁 the GP believes its a pinched nerve stemming from by back.
    Cut a long story short, the pain has now moved from my pec area to my scapular area near my shoulder blade in my back (dull ache pain) the above exercises appear to be helping (a week in now). I am a very active guy, do a lot a swimming cycling and running most days. During exercise I can barely feel any pain which is telling me this is not muscle related perhaps?

    Once again thank you for this page!

    Regards

    Sean Penney.

    1. Hi Sean,

      It’s hard to say exactly what your issue is without assessing you personally.

      It is more likely to be a nerve issue if there are also neurological symptoms such as tingling, numbness and/or muscle weakness. If the GP believes a nerve is involved, perhaps are neurologist would be more beneficial.

      If your pain tends to disappear with exercise, this may indicate it may be more so of a postural problem. Postural problems tend to worsen with prolonged time in the same position.

      Also, check this out too:

      Some times the anterior scalene can refer pain to the chest, shoulder blade +/- down the arm.

      Mark

  10. Good blog on shoulder pain and stretches. However some people keep getting shoulder pain between their shoulder blades with only temporary relief from massages and stretches I would say see a chiropractor then. Sometimes as people age their cervical spine area anywhere from C1 -C7 start narrowing and create pain by pushing on the nerve where you feel the pain between the shoulder blades. It hurts like hell. Get an x-ray from your chiro and see . Hope this helps somebody! 😁

  11. Hi Mark, I was wondering if you are familiar with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome or connective tissue disorders? I have classical Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and I was wondering what exercises I can do from this post to help with my shoulder and back pain. I have very bad posture because EDS causes all my connective tissues to be stretchy so nothing is really keeping my joints in place. I have to avoid stretching because it will make it worse, are any of these safe? I have craniocervical instability as well and winged scapula comes and goes. I get a lot of muscle spasms from subluxated joints and neuropathic pain from dislocations (shoulder joint). Is there anything you can recommend?

    1. Hi Lissa,

      I find that the best way to address EDS is to improve strength, endurance and stability of all the muscles.

      You might want to start with isometric contraction. This involves tensing your muscles without actually moving.

      In terms of what exercise, it really depends on what you are trying to address.

      For pain between the shoulder blades, you can focus on any exercise which strengthens the rhomboids/middle trapezius region such as these ones (section 4: strengthening)

      Mark

  12. Hi Mark,
    I have had bi-lateral scapula pain for years. I have very rounded shoulders and tight pecs. Everyday I have knots around the shoulderblades. It’s usually the medial border and sometimes the bottom. Scapular mobilitiy is an issue. I cant lift anything above me or I have pain the the T4 area. I also have pain in the axilla area and sometimes rib pain. Anytime I try to exercise this area, I am met with more pain because it’s already flared up. Can you make any suggestions.
    Thanks Talia

  13. Hi Mark.
    So glad I’ve found your website! I’ve been to physio and had suction cups and had several massages and done stretches. However it only helps temporarily, both of my shoulder blades are always tight. I lift weights and am dairy farmer so i do have a very demanding lifestyle. I’ve had this pain for about 8 months now.. it sometimes can cause pain all the way down my spine. My massage lady said it may be my sciatica nerve but i never get pain in my legs. Any advice you have would be appreciated. I’m sick of living with this pain and I’m only 23 🙁

  14. I have been getting horrible shoulder blade pain for years. Finally I realized that every time I get the pain within a few days I come down with something. It’s my warning sign that I am going to be sick. It’s always, always correct. I am experiencing horrible pain right now with any movement at all, but am certain It’s from my old sagging mattress this time. I hope I’m right.

  15. THANK you, Mark, for this WONDERFUL post!! I had been in excruciating right shoulder pain for weeks before finding your site. After doing these exercises, my pain is gone. GONE!! You are so knowledgeable, and also so kind for sharing with us all like this. Words cannot express my gratitude!

  16. Thanks Mark.

    This post comes like a blessing to me! was suffering from shoulder pain due to long time sitting and working on laptop.

    This really is good.

  17. thank you, thank you, thank you. literally trying this at my desk right now. shoulder blade feeling better already.

  18. Recently I’ve been having right shoulder blade pain. I slouch my back when watching videos on my phone during school, and I also lean when I’m drawing on my computer screen and it’s been getting worse and more frequent overtime. I tried out your exercises and it seems to be something of a muscular problem. Are there things you can recommend me for this problem?

      1. Hi Mark,
        I have been having left shoulder pain for quite a while. It started when I was on my bed in the upright position and my back pressed onto two pillows and usually now if I’m on my bed for over more than 45 minutes I get this bad pain in my left shoulder and it doesn’t go away unless I stand up and walk it off it has been happening for a while now and it is starting to hurt in the shower when I take hot showers it starts to hurt. Can you please tell me what to do I’m really getting worried about it. Is it my posture that is the problem?

  19. HOLY SHIT !
    I am ecstatic to have found your website!! I google searched “my scapula gets strained easily” to find you & boy am I stoked!! I was starting to feel hopeless for it is a new pain that has come up in the last 2 months in my life. I started going to a chiropractor, and it has helped but Im not getting detailed steps to take severe action as I do on your amazing website. I finally started feeling improvements with my chiropractor after week 3 and decided to cut down my visit to once a week but the pain has come back! By going to a chiropractor im glad ive at least realized my mediocre posture could be the cause of my compensated scapula pains, but it is expensive and I find the visits to be brief and impersonal. Anyways, Im happy to have found you! I am ready to take action! Thank you for shining the path to power the individual!! Finding this website has made me happy, relieved and inspired! Also how active, engaged and passionate you are makes me happy! Keep up the excellent vibes ::) I will update as I incorporate these practices in my future, thank you!

  20. Hi Mark, really interesting article you have here and I can’t wait to try these exercises to relive my pain.

    I’m Diorissa, and I’m just 23 but I recently went to an ortho and he said I have poor posture but has mild scoliosis only. I used to be a hardcore dancer during my high school years, enjoyed going to the gym during college, and now working in a office job. Given those various backgrounds I think it led me to different “abnormalities” in my upper body movement.

    1. It started from my hips popping in high school and I didn’t mind since it’s not painful
    2. In college I experience shoulder popping on both sides, still didn’t tmind since no pain
    3. Ever since I started working on a desk job, Ive been experiencing more shoulder popping, and now neck popping, my left shoulder feels so hard that whenever I stretch my arms away I could feel some sharp nerves near the area getting involved, I could say it’s not yet that painful but I know it’s not normal, also when I stretch my left shoulder down I could feel a tight stretch that’s uncomfortable, only on my left shoulder, butmy right shoulder then failed when I tried the internal rotation test.

    I know 23 is still a young age but I feel like I have a body of an old aging lady 🙁 Hope you could give me some insights on what I should do to get better, I’ve tried consulting with an ortho (just told me I have poor posture), rehab doctor (who gave me therapy that I didn’t see it working, though I only went there once a week so maybe tm it’s not that effective) , and chiropractor (who gave me adjustments and myotherapy, but way too expensive per session). Hope I could get some insights from you, cus I really don’t want to live my life with limited movements when I grow older 🙁

  21. Hi Mark,

    Great article and exercise and stretching advice. Just some background, I am 49 years old and a side sleeper. About two weeks back, I started to feel some pain by my right shoulder blade and the odd thing is that when I am walking or standing there is not pain…if I am sitting down with a pillow behind my back there is not pain but when I sit down in my car to drive that’s when I feel the pain the most and no matter what position I have no arm while driving there is a pain in the shoulder blade and it sometimes feels like it moves to my lats and also the tricep area. Now, I don’t have any pain in the shoulders themsleves nor do I have any kind of weakness in the area either meaning there is no pain in the shoulder when I lift my arms out like a cross, out in front of my body or straight up. When I sleep I don’t feel the pain either and as I said, its only when I am sitting down in the car to drive and sometimes when I sit at the dinner table to eat but that doesn’t hurt as much if at all. I went to the doctor and he seems to feel its muscular and that my spine is fine and I had a check up a few weeks back before the pain started with the usual blood work and I am fine and in good health.

    1. Hey Stevie,

      Are there any specific points around the back of the shoulder that are very sensitive when you poke into them?

      It could be muscular in origin by the sounds of it.

      If you like – you can draw on a picture of a shoulder exactly where you feel the pain and then I’ll see if I can determine which muscle is involved.

      Mark

      1. Thanks Mark!

        I’m not great with the anatomy but looking at a picture of the back I would say it’s roughly the small rhomboid. The strang part is that if you touch the area, it isn’t painful. But when I do feel the discomfort while driving or sitting down and then try and massaging the area that’s roughly the area I feel it. As I said, it shoots to the lat ans tricep

        So I took a look at the pic you have at the top of this article looking at the right of the picture, the pain seems to be at the top “x” and the red dot that is between the top “x” and the middle “x.” The god news is that it seems muscular and not anything worse but it may take a few weeks to get better. Doctor feels it’s from sleeping on my side and that I may need to get a new mattress and I have to say it’s a firm mattress to boot. Hopefully it’s nothing worse than a muscle strain or a touch of tendinitis in the shoulder.

        1. The area you have describe is usually 1 of these structures:
          – Middle trapezius
          – Rhomboids
          – Rib issue

          Other potential cause could be trigger point referral. You can check if this is the case by pressing on the ‘X’ and seeing if it reproduces your symptoms.

          – Scalenes muscles

          – Serratus posterior superior

          The exercises on the blog post should help either way!

          Also -If the mattress was the main issue, I feel you would feel more pain during sleep or first thing when you wake up.

          Mark

  22. Hi
    I have a torn rotator cuff and the orthopedist insisted that sirgery would help my shpulder blade pain, but after two surgeries, the ladt one nine years ago, it has only gotten worse. It must have to dowith how I hold my shoulder to compensate or the tear because when I was in a sling, it didn’t hurt. Do you agree? I can’t do allof your exercises because of the tear but the tape seems to help though it does make the actual rotator cuff feel worse and make he side of my neck hurt. I have literally tied everything and pain pills are the only thing that bring partial relief. I know that’s not the answer. Do you have an opinion on rotator cuff tears and shoulder blade pain? Thanks so much for your response.

    1. Hi Ann,

      It’s hard to give exact recommendations but I would have a look at these posts:

      Rounded shoulders:

      People with rotator cuff tears will usually compensate with the shoulder blade position, which in turn, can cause pain between the shoulder blades.

      Shoulder impingement

      It is fairly common to have some sort of shoulder impingement in conjunction with rotator cuff tears.

      Mark

  23. Hi Mark,

    I just suddenly developed pain in my left upper back with kind of a pinching feeling in my shoulder. It’s brought on by tilting my head to the left the most. I can’t figure out what happened. I’ve tried stretching and applying heat. The pain is kind of on my left shoulder blade area or lower traps or shoulder joint. It’s hard to pin point
    Thanks.

    1. Hey Irene,

      Have you tried stretching towards the RIGHT side to open up the left side?

      Usually if you tilt your head to the left and it hurts on the left, then something is getting squashed.

      Mark

  24. Hi Mark,

    After doing these exercises twice in a few days, (I realise you say to do it every day) what I think is my rhomboideus minor muscle starts to feel very stiff and it hurts when I carry my backpack to lectures. Also, I feel it sort of clicking when I moving my arms and shoulders occasionally.

    I was wondering whether I should take the exercises more easy? Say spend 20 seconds instead of thirty and do less repetitions?

    Many thanks,

    James

    1. Hey James,

      You can ease into it and see how you go with that. Sometimes it takes time for the body to get used to the new exercises.

      However – if pain persists or gets worse, you will need to get that checked out.

      Mark

  25. Thank you Mark for the Brilliant narration of the symptoms and remedies.
    I had a history of upper cross syndrome left side due to poor posture.
    This time around the symptoms are confined to my right arm, with severe restriction of internal rotation. I can barely reach my lumbar region and restricted lifting of the arm above the shoulder. (symptoms started with poor sleeping position). Would appreciate if you suggest the appropriate remedy.

    1. Hi Kannan,

      Definitely work on your shoulder internal rotation:
      – Stretch:
      – Don’t forget to strengthen internal rotation at the end ranges as well.

      Stretch out anterior capsule:

      – Keep your elbows TUCKED IN.

      Restrictions in lifting the arm above the shoulder can be caused by many factors so it is a bit hard to tell you what exercises to do for this.

      mARK

  26. Hello,

    I have been working at a computer desk for over 15 years. I have terrible right shoulder blade, and neck pain. I got big knots under my shoulder blades, and on the side of my neck. I have constant pain, especially after seating long periods. Would you have any suggestions for me.

  27. Hey Mark, thanks for putting this article out there!

    I’m a 23 y/o software developer and have been having shoulder pain for a little over a year that has also moved into my neck. It seems like these exercises are a good place to start, but I wanted to mention a specific symptom that neither your article or any comments mentioned.

    Before any actual pain, what started the whole thing out was noticing a need to crack my shoulder back. Rarely at first, and eventually very frequently, I would lift my arm up and move it lateral and posterior to crack my back near the edge of the scapula. It also started to crack more in the middle when I would breath deeply.

    Is this symptom common for posture-related muscle stress?

    Thanks for any advice!
    Kyle

  28. Hi Mark
    Thanks for this article very detailed.
    I started to feel the pain suddenly 1 week ago after a workout session (I assume that’s what caused it). It’s painful under my right shoulder blade particularly when I turn my head in one direction and rotate my shoulder towards the other direction. I don’t feel the pain when I’m not moving or laying on my bed. Do you think these exercises would help to fix it?
    Also I’m currently travelling in Thailand and can get pretty cheap Thai massages (stretches) or relaxing oil massages. Do you recommend these to help relieving the symptoms?

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Based on what you’ve said, it could definitely be of muscular origin and massage can help give some relief.

      However- it is hard to say without a proper assessment.

      If it is just a simple muscular strain however, it should generally go away fairly quickly.

      Mark

      1. Hi there I been have shoulder blade back pain for awhile now it all started 2 yrs ago I got shingles right in this area went to doc took meds six weeks later seem to be ok my back has always kinda bothered me on n off since then now just 6 months ago I had a baby the pain came back a lot worse 4days after having her n now it’s stayed but no rashes just agony pain in my right shoulder blade the pain now radiates up to my neck on both side but right side is worse ,, Any thoughts : ( thanks a lot!!!

  29. Hi Mark, I’ve been getting pain between shoulder blades and top of sternum for 6 to 7 months now. It’s generally okay when walking etc but I drive a lot and that’s when I get it or when I’m sitting or stressed. Both front and back seem to hurt at the same time. Doc says it’s probably costochondritis but seems to dragging on for ages. Any ideas?

    1. Hey Mark,

      Sounds like your shoulder blade pain and sternal pain may have something to do with your ribs. (which can lead to costochondritis)

      Poor positioning of the ribs can be exacerbated in prolonged static postures such as your driving.

      To fix it- you will need to look at your posture whilst driving and assess how it is influencing your ribs.

      (I unfortunately don’t have any blog posts on rib pain specifically yet 🙁 )

      Mark

  30. Mark, I have loved reading this post as well as all your other posts. Thank you for your time and dedication towards improving others quality of life. I am a 37 yo dentist and have been experiencing pain/tightness between/under my shoulder blades for around 6 years now. As a dentist, my posture is routinely compromised on behalf of the patient and when I’m not with a patent, I’m usually at a computer doing notes etc.. I also drive 3.5 hours/day to my rural clinic so I have a lot of negative things working against me. This condition is one that has driven me crazy over the past 6 years but I have found ways to mitigate the pain with cardio, band/weight exercise, yoga, chiropractor, massage, acupuncture, stretching, icing, massage ball etc.. However, I have yet to find anything that has given me true freedom and healing from this pain/tightness. A drastic change in occupation/lifestyle is definitely on the table! I’m excited to regularly practice this routine you have given us above. My question is this, you speak of lack of internal rotation which I have no problems with. I do, however, have issues with a lack of external rotation, to the degree that if I lay on my back in a cactus pose, my hands aren’t even close to touching the floor. Could a lack of external rotation contribute to this/my condition and are there exercises you could recommend to improve external rotation?

    Thank you in advance,

    Rick

    1. Hey Rick the dentist,

      If you have true full internal rotation of the shoulder, then you do not have to do the associated exercises for it.

      … however – just make sure that your shoulders aren’t rounding forwards and lifting up as you do the internal rotation test for it (ie. pin your shoulders back first). This will give you a false negative.

      Lack of external rotation will generally affect people who need to adopt positions that have their arms over shoulder height or out to the side. In your case as a dentist, lack of internal rotation would be more of a contributing factor than lack of external rotation.

      Check out this post too: How to fix rounded shoulders.

      Mark

      1. Thanks Mark! I will definitely continue to do the internal rotation exercises but I but I am very close if not there without my shoulders lifting. I think you are spot on. My issue is that occupationally my arms are held out to the side in an abducted position almost constantly while seeing patients. If laying on the ground and full internal rotation is at 0 degrees, my external rotation is at 160-165 degrees. What exercises do you recommend for improving ER?

        Thank you so much for your time!

        Rick

      2. Thank Mark,

        Yeah, my arms are out to the side in an abducted position almost constantly when seeing patients which might be causing the lack of external rotation. My internal rotation is pretty good. Do you have exercises you can recommend for gaining external rotation?

        Thank you!

        Rick

  31. I started walking on 1/1/18. I am up to 3 miles and feel great, but now I am having pain between my shoulder blades. It started about two weeks ago, comes and goes. It seems to have gotten worse though. At first I though it was related to chest press and flys but I haven’t lifted in two week. There aren’t any breathing or cold issues. It has been in the high 20s this past week if that make a difference. I also have an ongoing right foot nerve pain as well as some right hip discomfort but this shoulder blade issue has reached pain levels that not even the heat is helping. I do have posture issues, looking down all the time but I try to concentrate of good posture when I go on my walks. Ideas?

    1. Hi Irma,

      If walking is definitely the trigger for your newly acquired shoulder blade pain, I would then think the movement +/- position of the shoulders whilst walking would be a big factor.

      Are you swinging your shoulders/arm a lot? Or carrying weights?

      You can try doing shoulder rolls in the backwards direction every 5 minutes or so and see if that makes any difference.

      Mark

  32. Hi Mark,

    Great Article! 5-6 months back i started having little pain in my right arm/bicep area but only when i push it back like try to on/off a switch on my back side. But for the past 1 month i have some pain on my back side of the shoulder around right side of the blade lower towards the arm pit. I also have a little pain in the bicep area. I am a sports person and have trouble throwing the ball or lifting a bat and hitting it long way. I feel the pain is more on the back side as i mentioned. I am not too sure what is the exact issue and what exercises to follow for this kind of issue.

    Please advice

  33. I clean house’s for a company, 22 yrs. Recently i get pain between my shoulder blades n the only thing that helps is sitting n heat. What else can i do?

  34. Hi Mark,
    A few days ago my right arm start tingling in the forearm then moved up my arm to my shoulder. I have applied heat and took Ibuprofen then tried several exercises that you have on your website. After the exercises my arm felt worse. The tingly feeling increased. What would you recommend?

    1. Hey Tonya,

      Sounds like you have increased inflammation that relates to a NERVE issue.

      If the exercises made it worse (which it probably will with nerve issues), I would stop them immediately.

      Let the anti-inflammatory medication do their job and see how it feels in the next 5 days.

      If tingling is worsening or is still present, I would consider getting a scan of your neck.

      Mark

  35. Hi I do these exercises about twice a week I realise you recommend to do it daily but I just don’t have the motivation aha.. I was just wondering the muscle I injured next to my should plate then feel a bit stiff the following day or two so should I wait until it stops being stiff before I can lift weights? Thanks

      1. Ok thanks for that. Would you say I should do the exercises on the fixing bad posture for rounded shoulders post while I’m doing these exercises?

          1. Sir with respect that my father has pain in his disc what should we do but he recovered 80 percent but 20 percent pain is not ridding of plz advise us love from Pakistan

  36. Hello Mark:
    Around July of this year, I started having slight pain in my forearm and tricep muscle when I was lying in bed and would reach to grab my drink on the table beside my bed (extended back and over motion). I only felt pain mostly when sitting at the computer and reaching out for my coffee cup when I brought it back and began to drink. Pain was moderate and not debilitating, but more of an irritant. Around the first of November, after many days of sand by hand and polishing a truck that I was repainting, the pain got relatively severe in the portion of the scapula nearest the spine. I has some loss of ability to bring my head back as to look at the sky. While doing stretches to resolve this problem, I tilted my head back and gave it a really good stretch and while holding the stretch I felt what would resemble a string sliding through the upper part of the scapula. As such, I regained the ability to get full extension in my neck, but still have the pain in the inner part of the scapula. Any thoughts as to the problem or what that was that move to release and allow full extension would be great. Thanks in advance. Alvin

    1. Hey Alvin,

      Sounds like some sort of issue with the superficial back arm line (see picture)

      This is where you can have pain along the muscles of the forearm, elbow, back of arm, between shoulder and into the neck. (this can be caused by posture)

      Most commonly (… but not always), the mid trapezius and rhomboids are the cause of shoulder blade pain.

      If you have rounded shoulders, I would consider looking at this post here.

      Mark

      1. Hello Mark:
        I appreciate your quick response and thank you. As to the rounded shoulders, that would be a no. Posture could be part of it, but my normal posture is good and as of now, standing up against a wall, normal stance would be heels, butt, shoulders against wall with possibly an inch space on head–maybe a bit of head forward that could be corrected. However, when the head is retracted to the wall, after a short time (10 seconds or so) the radiating pain goes to the forearm muscle. Should there be a problem with the disc in the back, and I don’t think that is it (but I am treating that with cervical traction), I am quite sure that it would be in the C-7 nerve root from what my research has concluded. But, like you, I figure the actual problem lies in the traps. As such, I will do what I can to stretch the traps and rhomboids out and to also strengthen them and see how that goes. Thanks again, Alvin

          1. Hello Mark:
            No, I have never had any pain go further than the forearm, and for the most part now, the pain is limited to the scapula. I do chin tucks and shoulder shrugs mostly. The way I have be doing them for maximum gain is to shrug shoulders, tighten shoulder blades or pull them together and hold that for 3o-60 seconds and while doing this, tilt my head up as to look overhead and then down for the entirety of the chin tuck/shrug. When I do this, the longer I hold the tuck and shrug, the pain goes from the scapula into the tricep first and then down to the forearm. This pain, although it moves from scapula to the forearm, I do not have pain in two places at once–it is concentrated to one of the three main muscles. One other thing I might add is that this is my dominant arm–right arm. Thanks Alvin

  37. Hi Mark,
    I was an avid boxer 3 years ago but was forced too stop due to extensive upper back pain. The pain has been in the upper shoulder blades and the area above it and the back of the neck.
    I have done physio therapy, had a shoulder X-ray and had an MRI of the neck yet nothing has improved.
    The doctor suggests that i should continue with the physio exercises which are ( 25 clap press ups and shoulder mobility plank on two balls) and possibly get a personal trainer to strengthen and reduce the pain.

    I would like to ask you what you would advise in this situation and if I should also implament your exercises into my routine. My goals are to remove the pain as soon as possible as I have had it for years and it really is affecting my mental health. Thank you

      1. Hi Mark,
        I observed the most pain in 1, 5, the upper trapiz stretch , the internal stretch exercise and the wall angel.

        I have tried checking my posture and my pysiotherapist did say to me about a year ago ( when i was still on the nhs phsyio scheme) that i had rounded shoulders and was allways in a ” protective stance” .

      2. Hi Mark,
        Exercise 1 ,2, the upper trapizius stretch,increase internal rotatationand wall angel are all very painful .
        In terms of posture wgen i Was with the nhs last year the physio therapist did say that i had ” rounded shoulders” due being in a ” constant protective stamce”

        1. Hey Manny,

          My advice: Go gentle with the exercises and slowly ease into them.

          If your body is not ready for certain positions/exercises/stretches, you might get a bit of pain from doing so.

          If in doubt, get it checked out 🙂

          Mark

  38. Hi Mark,
    I am a 35 year old female in good health. I recently changing my work situation from working in an office (with proper ergonomic desk, chair etc) to working from home. I don’t have a home office yet, so I was working at my kitchen table for a day last week, sitting on a stool with no back support, and after a couple of hours, developed pain in my upper back ( along the upper spine and around the shoulder blades). I’ve experienced this before if I sit for a while with no back support , but once I would get the pain, I would change my position to one with back support, or get up and walk around, and it wouldn’t bother be again
    However, last week, I sat through the pain, thinking it would go away. I did this again the following day. Now, a week later, the same pain lingers and comes back very quickly when I sit.
    I am guessing I strained these muscles and they take a while to heal as they are used so much. I am concerned however, and would like this issue resolved as soon as possible. Any advise would be much appreciated!
    Also, I am very conscious of having good posture, and throughout the experience above would ensure my shoulders were rolled back.

    1. Hey Rachel,

      If your pain is from the muscles between the shoulder blades, then the exercises in the blog post should work a treat.

      Sounds like you pushed past what your postural muscles can handle. Let them rest and recover.

      In the mean time, get those muscles stronger!

      Mark

  39. Hi Mark,

    I was feeling pain in back so applied cold therapy to it by sleeping in the opposite side of the body. But after applying cold therapy my left scapula is paining Is it due to cold or any other problem. Please suggest the solution.

    1. Hi Aakash,

      I don’t think the cold pack would have caused an issue to your muscles… unless you gave yourself an ice burn on your skin?

      Other than that, it may had just been the position that you may have been whilst lying on your side.

      Mark

  40. Hi Mark,
    I am suffering from the same issue from the past week. The Pain is coming when i am travelling by bus and gets reduced after taking 5-10 steps (walk). Recently there was reduction in sleeping time (sleeping for only 5-6 hours) does this cause any issue.My age is 27 years

  41. Hey Mark thanks for all the information. I’ve had a shoulder issue for a year now and no one has been able to diagnose it yet. I tweaked it one day swinging in volleyball and eventually had to stop playing as every week it would get worse and worse. I took five months off lifting heavy and overhead activities and I was able to play baseball with no pain. I just recently tweaked my shoulder again during the second week of volleyball season and it feels the same as it did a year ago. I do a tone of mobility exercises and stretches but it wasn’t quite enough to stay healthy. During the shoulder pumps, I cannot seem to loosen up on my throwing arm there no matter how many times I do it. I really like scalene and trap stretches as they feel instantly better. My chest and along my scapula is always very tight and can’t ever seem to release it as well as I can other muscles. Also, if I roll out my T spine for more than two minutes at a time, my median nerve must get irritated because my shoulder and all the way down to my hand is pins and needles for hours after. I can’t seem to get my overhead range of motion back. If you have a second, any advice would be unreal since my MRI isn’t for another five months. Thanks again.

    1. Hey Justin,

      Could you please detail exactly where you have your pain on a diagram?

      Sounds like you may have a sensitive nerve. This can be tested by doing this test:

      Does this reproduce your symptoms?

      Mark

      1. I can feel a bit of a twinge doing that stretch for sure. Pain is most prominent in my rhomboids and down my scapula. Some near the bottom of my lat along the rib cage, pain at the front of the shoulder where the long head of the bicep inserts and posterior as well. My levator scapula and scalenes are always tight as well. After doing your wall angel stretches for a while it feels like I have no symptoms and I’m back to normal. After a few minutes my range of motion is limited again and sharp at the end. Also my internal rotation isn’t as good as my other arm and is painful to test. If I put a resistance band along my elbow, hand behind my head and let it pull back so my arm looks like I am doing your shoulder pump, I also feel pain free for a few minutes. Thanks for your help.

          1. Thanks for the reply. Yeah I do have rounded shoulders for sure. After a year of being misdiagnosed a few times, I think it’s back to a supraspinatus injury here. Tough when so many shoulder injuries have similar symptoms and referred pain.

          2. After seeing a sports doc they said I have thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms with some rotator cuff issue. Ordering some nerve tests and still waiting on an MRI in March. After doing some reading I’m wondering if my subclavius and pec major tightness is causing it all. Since I always have pain in my rhomboid and all along my scapula, it could be from my pec pulling it forward. One shoulder is always higher than the other, possibly from my subclavius being too tight as well. Do you have any good subclavius exercises?
            Thanks again for your help.

          3. Hey,

            – You can release the area by pressing into these points:

            – I would still consider doing the rounded shoulder exercises as well.

            – Don’t let your shoulders droop down/forwards. This can increase the chance of compression of your brachial plexus.

            – Make sure your scalenes aren’t tight. Here is a stretch:

            – Check that you don’t have an extra rib in the cervical region.

            Hope this helps!

            Mark

  42. Hi Mark! I’m 17 and am experiencing pain behind my right shoulder blade when I am swinging a baseball bat. Zero pain when I am throwing a baseball, only when swinging. What do you think could be causing this? I hurt it about 8 months ago and I got a cortisone shot and did stretches and it alleviated the pain and ur had randomly came back out of nowhere. Thanks!

    1. Hi Michael!

      If your pain is right on your shoulder blade bone, it may be due to one of your rotator cuff muscles.

      Is the pain when you bring the bat backwards, as you swing or as you make contact with the ball?

      Mark

          1. My guess would be that the pain may be experienced as your muscles on the shoulder blade try to slow down your arm movement after hitting the ball.

            My Recommendation: Side lying horizontal abduction with a weight/or resistance band.

            But I would let the arm drop all the way down so the it is across your body. Focus on lowering your arm slowly.

            Mark

  43. Hey Mark I’m experiencing pain in my right shoulder blade and have tried all of the steps but they haven’t worked any other suggestions?

    1. Hi SWW,

      Are there any issues with other structures other than your muscles such as ribs/joints.

      Or are you still doing activities that are causing the symptoms?

      Mark

  44. Hi Mark, I have multiple problems in my shoulder blades and upper back. I have rounded shoulders due to poor posture and scapular winging as well. I tend to have constant pain around my rhomboid muscle(mostly on the left side). The pain is really frustrating. I would like to know what should I begin with because you have separate articles for all of these issues. So I am getting confused about which problem should I address first.
    Thanks.

  45. Just wondering If we do all these exercises in one sitting in the order it is written? or should I loosen or stretch one day and then use heat pad another day, then do the exercises another day?

    1. Hi RF,

      If you can tolerate doing all of them in the one day (and if you find benefit from all exercises), then I would recommend that.

      If you are quite sensitive, you might need to split up the routine so that the body can handle it.

      Mark

  46. Hi Mark.. I am have been having pain in my right scapula region which radiates down to my right elbow. The pain is since past 7 years.. i have shown to many drs and got my mri dome as well.. but every doctor says it is due to incorrect posture.. i have done physiotherapy, needling, but i used to get only temporary relief.. i have been doing exercises regularly.. from past 2-3 months im having pain in my neck on both sides and left scapula as well..the pain is very severe… It is very irritating and frustrating… I plan to follow your set of exercises.. any other suggestions.. thank you

    P.S. I work in a IT company, but i make sure to take breaks.

      1. No i did MRI of cervical spine… It showed ‘Straightening of the normal lordosis of the cervical spine, this indicates paraspinal muscle spasm’. Also neck pain has started recently… But the scapular pain has been from a very long time..

        Mark i would be in Sydney in the end of december(29,30,31), would it be possible to show you…

  47. Hey Mark, great info! I am having some issues with my left side shoulder blade and also some tightness in my neck. I am pretty sure it’s how I am sleeping because the pain is always worse when I wake up in the morning. I have tried different pillows but no luck yet.

    Is there a alternative stretch for #2 that doesn’t involve a exercise ball? I can lean my head down to the right and relax my left arm and feel it pulling in my left shoulder blade. Feels really good but I wished it stretched the blade more.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Tray,

      You can do the same exercise without the ball. The ball is there to help make sure you round your back to help increase the stretch of the shoulder blade.

      The more you can round the shoulder blade region, the more you should be able to feel the stretch.

      Mark

  48. Hi Mark
    I have been diagnosed with a mildly enlarged spleen around 2 years ago can’t find a cause. I have been experiencing dull pain in my left shoulder blade for nearly 2 years also. Not had any scans on back. Doctor tells me it is muscular pain and not referred pain from my spleen. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Leanne,

      From what I’ve seen in the clinic, I have not come across anyone whose shoulder blade pain was due to a spleen issue. (… But I guess there could always be a first?)

      Have any of the exercise in this blog post helped ease the pain? If it has, this may suggest that it is more of a muscular origin.

      Mark

  49. I have pain in my left shoulder blade. I can get good sleep . So please advise me for exercise which is the best for shoulder blade pain.
    Thanks.

  50. Hi Mark,

    I’ve recently noticed that one of my shoulders is pulled higher than the other, it looks like the trapezius muscle (??) is shorter than on the other side and it makes my head slightly tilted that way. It’s not very noticeable on first sight, but I am a dancer and I can feel it affects my dancing. Are there any excercises i can do to even the two sides??

    Thank you!!

    Ludmi

    1. Hey Ludmila,

      If it just due to a tight upper trap muscle, you just need to stretch away from the side your head is tilting.

      However, more often than not, I find a head tilt is usually due to something happening with the spine lower down.

      Are your shoulder blades level?

      Mark

      1. Hey mark,

        I have hard points in right shoulder at the front side, this all started with some badminton smashes without warm up, its been 4 months now i have this problem, right shoulder feels very stiff, i even tried IFT but not much significant diffrence.

        Please suggest me some solution, i cant play lawn tennis or do swimming or many other activities at my best.

        1. Hello Tejal,

          If the pain is at the front of your shoulder, then it is probably not shoulder blade pain.

          There are many structures at the front of the shoulder that can easily get damaged when you smash in badminton.

          Here are the most common injuries to the front of the shoulder:
          – Rotator cuff tendon strain/tear
          – Long head biceps strain/tear
          – Pec major tear/strain
          – Deltoid strain
          – Subacromial bursitis

          You might need to have a read up on the injuries above and see which one you have.

          Mark

  51. Mark
    I’m a 52 yr old female , I started about a year ago eating right losing weight, and lifting , everyonce in awhile my shoulder and upper back would ache., I figured it was from lifting so I nursed it as such. We’ll I stopped lifting for abou 1 month , woke one morning and had terrible pain between my shoulder blades , I went to the Chiropractor but as time went on the pain got worse , I had a couple of deep tissue massages done, gave me relief for about 4 days , then the pain came back, I finally went to see my Physcian I was told I have a rotator cuff, they sent me to therApy a few times , but a lot of money out of my pocket., I bought a cream called Aspercream with LIDOCAINE it numbs the pain for a while I have been doing your exercises for a few days… my question is should I get an MRI done or keep up with the exercises will this pain subside? Thank you

    1. Hi Pam,

      It’s hard to say what exactly you have without assessing you personally. But if you wanted to see if there was any structural damage to your rotator cuff, an Ultrasound scan should be able to show you that.

      If there was some relief with a massage, then it sounds like your issue is more of a muscular problem. These exercises should help out with that!

      Do you have Rounded shoulders?

      Mark

  52. Hi i am playing Boxing.. so after practice my shoulders blades hurting badly so please guide me to strengthen and fix that pain

    1. Since boxing involves the shoulders being forwards for most of the time (in a defensive and offensive position), the muscles between the shoulder blades will be eccentrically loaded.

      Exercises like these should help:

      If you want more info on rounded shoulders, check out this post here.

      Mark

  53. Hi Mark,

    This one is a long shot but i’ll ask anyway. I train with bodyweight exercises 3 times per week, have been doing so for over half a year now and have run into a problem that I was hoping you could determine for me. I have a pain in what feels like the right shoulder blade/back of shoulder joint, it is not a sharp pain and it does not hurt when exercising, I only feel it when I have my hands down by my side and push my hands down, which pushes my shoulderblades down my back (the same position you would be in at the top of a bodyweight dip where I’m pushing my shoulders away from my ears).

    This has persisted for around a month now and have stopped training for two weeks in fear of further injury, any feedback on what it could be would be much appreciated.

    Thanks. Mos

    1. Hey Mos,

      Hard to say without seeing you in person.

      But, these would be the my best guesses:
      1- Infraspinatus/Teres minor strain

      2- Posterior deltoid strain

      3 – Long head triceps

      All (but not limited to) could reproduce your issues.

      Mark

  54. Hi Mark,
    Awesome website, definitely has a lot of things I can relate to. I tried to post a comment yesterday through my phone and not sure it worked so I’ll try through the computer. I’m a big weight lifter typically 6 to 7 days a week of lifting, and tend not to take many breaks/days off. The other day I was dumbbell shoulder pressing heavy weight and during the set I felt a pain near my left shoulder blade. At first it felt more towards the spine but at the end of my workout it seemed to be near the middle of the shoulder blade but doesn’t seem to be right on top of it kinda near the rhomboids. Still have full range of motion with my shoulder, hurts a tad for certain movements. The movements that really make it worse are tilting my head down, and moving it to the left (especially) or right as if to look over my shoulder and these seem to be the ones that make the pain move to the left trap as well. I started doing some of the exercises/stretches and it seems to be a tad better. Trying to figure out the best way to recovery/fix to this without taking days out of the gym (probably not the best idea). My neck is typically rather tight as well, since I shrug like 3 times a week. Any thoughts on what my issue was that caused it or what the problem is? Thank you.

    1. Hey Trevor,

      If it just a muscular strain, it should get better with these exercises.

      Do you happen to have a flat upper back?

      (You might need to get someone to have a look at it from the side and feel the spine.)

      If so- it may be your facet joints which can get squashed when you doing over head activities like shoulder presses. This occurs when your extend your upper back too much.

      Mark

      1. Not sure if I have a flat upper back, could be a high possibility since I do some sort of overhead press every week, lately twice a week (ex. dumbbell shoulder press, standing military press in the same workout). If it is the facet joints is there a different route for handling that situation?
        I will continue doing the exercises, and I do have a massage scheduled this week to hopefully loosen my upper body up since I am usually pretty tight in my neck, shoulders and pec areas.
        Thanks,
        Trevor

        1. If your pain is due to your facet joints, you will need to focus on keeping those joints open/decompressed through posture and perhaps technique modification.

          Otherwise, with massage releases and stretches, it should come good 🙂

          Mark

  55. Hi Mark,
    Great article, looking forward to trying out these exercises. Wanted to see your thoughts on my situation. I’m a big weight lifter, workout 6 to 7 days a week. Just recently I was dumbbell shoulder pressing and after the set I felt a pain near my left shoulder blade. Kinda felt like it was more towards my spine but after time went on it feels like it’s in between the spine and the top of the shoulder blade. I have full movement of my shoulder. The pain really only increases when I drop my head or move it to the right or left (especially) to look over my shoulder. Hoping it’s not a pinched nerve, any ideas?
    P.S. I was kayaking for the first time this year the day before, so I used some similar muscles.

    1. For some reason it just loaded this comment, and I just tried to upload another.
      Well at least there will be a little more information.

      Sorry for the confusion Mark!!

  56. Hi Mark your article has been very helpful so far but as someone who doesn’t have time to do all the exercises every day I was wondering which ones were the most important? I’m guessing 4 and 9 would be up there

    1. Hey J Lin!

      That really depends what your body needs!

      I would recommend doing all of them to begin with, and see which ones your body responds best to.

      But if you wanted just 2 exercises, I would do #3 and #9.

      Cheers.

      Mark

      1. Hi mark! I don’t know if I post the commen on the right place.
        Thanks for sharing this valuable information on this website!
        I have shoulder blade pain, it’s from constant working position. The doctor told me the pain I have is on my rhomboid area. I have taken X-ray, and MRI. Nothing seems wrong there. When I take a deep breath, I can even feel the pain on my shoulder blade. Should I go see a chiropractor? I know there is a big knot on there, will these exercises help my pain? I started doing the exercises you posted here a week ago, am I supposed to do it everyday? What about the massage ball and the foam roller? Should I do it everyday or let the muscle rest for a couple of days and start doing it again?
        Thank you so much for taking your time reading this!

        1. Hi Jessie!

          I just answered your question on Facebook. But I’ll reply here too in case it might help someone else out!

          Having a health professional assess you is always a good thing. The will find the underlying CAUSE of your issues.

          With knots, tightness, pain etc in the rhomboid, I find that it is usually due to a poor static posture, and/or repetitive movements of the arm.

          You can do these exercises everyday. However – it really depends on how your body responds to the exercises. Some people feel rather bruised up the first few times and need 2-3 days rest before they do it again.

          Mark

  57. Hi Mark… I was in an equine accident in April 2016 & broke ribs 2, 3 & 4 around my left shoulder blade. I’ve had persistent muscle spasms & pain around & under the shoulder blade since. I’ve been in Chiro to keep alignment & have done stretches to try to relieve the pain. Do you have other recommendations?

    1. Hey T.Barrett,

      The main thing I would probably add is doing exercises for breathing.

      This will help free up your ribs and get them moving better.

      Has the chiro gone through breathing exercises with you?

      Mark

  58. I am a 67 year old woman. I am pretty sure my pain comes from too much computer work on my laptop. I teach online and also am transcribing oral histories by typing them all out. I also spend a lot of time on an iPad. I go to a deep tissue massage therapist about twice a month and occasionally see a chiropractor. My pain is minimal during the day except for when I get up in the morning, my lower right scapula ( closest to my spine) is very painful as gravity pulls on it. After about 2 minutes, the pain subsides. At night it hurts if I reach across to get something off the bed stand. It is difficult for me to get on the floor to do execercises because I am overweight as well I also have sciatic nerve, periformis muscle issues which affect my right leg and thigh. Suggestions?

    1. Hi Susan,

      If your main pain is directly after you wake up, the first thing I would look at is which sleeping position you are in.

      Is it possible that you may be compressing the area?

      Mark

  59. Hi Mark! i’m having and issue with my left shoulder. i have a dull pain on the edge of the blade and when it hurts the most i have a pain at the elbow and tingling in the fingers. I;m an avid cyclist and i need to find a way to loosen up the muscle. i stopped for 2 weeks now and the issue hasn’t went away

  60. I spent this past Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday in my recliner holding my kindle and reading, non-stop. Yesterday, (Monday) and today I could hardly move my upper body. The pain radiating from the muscles between my right shoulder blade and spine is unbelievable. When I put my head down I feel it down my right shoulder blade and into the muscles. Any suggestions, other than the obvious, DON’T DO THAT AGAIN!!

    1. Hi Gloria,

      … Must have been a good book!

      Unfortunately – long periods where you aren’t moving can place a lot of stress on your postural muscles.

      If your muscles between you shoulder blades are causing the issue, I would start by releasing the painful area with a massage ball.

      Apply a heat pack regularly.

      Whilst taking a hot shower, do slow and controlled circles with your neck.

      Practise doing shoulder rolls in a backwards direction. Make sure you can feel the muscular contraction.

      Mark

  61. 3 weeks ago, I woke up 1 morning with a terrible pain in my neck down to my right arm (up to the fingers). I immediately consulted an Ortho Dr. After the MRI scan, the problem was spotted at the C5 and c6. He said there is a pinched nerve which causes pain.

    I have undergone PT and took so many medicines but the pain is still unbearable that makes me awake at night. What else should I do?

    During the therapy, traction and some heat treatments h besden done. The PT also taught me some routine exercises but until now, I am suffering.

    I will appreciate whatever advice that you could give me to get rid of my suffering. Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Greg,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      From what I’ve seen, C5/6 nerve impingement is due to a forward head posture +/- Dowager’s hump.

      Check out these links for more info:
      Forward head posture
      Dowager’s hump

      Try this exercise to help reduce your right arm symptoms:
      – Look down slightly.
      – Gently tuck your chin in.
      – Look to your right
      – Pull your head to the Left side (think: left ear to left shoulder)
      – Keep your Right shoulder pinned down.
      – Aim to feel a deep stretch in your Right side of neck.

      Make sure that your pain doesn’t increase in the arm.

      Mark

  62. Hi, i am 28 years old amd i have always had bad posture. I’ve always slacked and never did anything to correct this. Now i am paying the price. Lots pf back pain especially in the mid park and between the showder blades. I have started working on improving my posture but it hurts a lot. Is this normal? Also any tips on how to get better quicker? Any tips on how to maintain good posture (i often question myself if i am at proper posture when i’m trying to do it correctly)? Thank you.

    1. Hey Steve,

      It is very common to feel a bit of pain when you are correcting your posture.

      My suggestion: Try to be gentle in your approach when maintaining good posture. You don’t want to feel like you’re forcing or jamming yourself into good posture.

      The best way to get better quicker is to have a) daily postural exercises, b) having awareness of when you slump into bad posture and self correcting, c) minimising exposure to environments where it encourages bad posture (eg. poor ergonomic work stations) and d) remaining consistent.

      You can take a photo of yourself to see if you are not sure if you are sitting with good posture. If you need more help with this, feel free to contact me on the facebook page.

      Mark

      1. Hi Mark, first i want to thank you for doing this Q&A, i appreciate it a lot and i am sure the rest pf us do as well. I will defenetly do your suggestions. I found that doing a 2-3 min yoga strech excersises in the morning combined with a max of a minute or 2 of foam rolling helps me relieve the pain, i feel a bit stronger in the bqck and more flexible. Thank you again!!!

  63. Hi Mark,

    For last couple of years I have had a tingling/numbing sensation in my left rhomboid, I had a few sport massages which gave me some relief. However it never fully healed and I still get the tingling sensation on a daily basis. When I press the trigger points you have shown on the rhomboid I get a shooting pain right through my rhomboid and top the end of my left shoulder.

    I decided to start using the massage ball and really get deep into these trigger points. After a day or two I had a shooting pain in my left shoulder when I raised my arm. Do you recommend to continue daily doing these trigger point massage treatments until the pain goes?

  64. Hi Mark. I am trying to improve my posture following problems with both shoulders seizing up 2 years ago. My problem is pain around my right shoulder blade (which sticks out a bit) rather than between the blades. I do massage and exercises but stretching or just lying on the floor makes the the pain worse – it isn’t really a problem during the day but keeps me awake at night. I am age 82, 6ft 4 tall, 13 1/2 stone, right handed and do plenty of walking, so can’t complain too much.
    Any suggestions please?

    1. Hi Handy,

      Pain ON the shoulder blade is usually a sign of a rotator cuff injury. (but not limited to)

      How are your shoulder movements?
      And where specifically on your shoulder blade does it hurt>?

      Mark

  65. Hi – I have just had SLAP surgery on my shoulder and am 2 months into rehab. No matter how hard I try, I cannot stop my shoulder hitching. Do you have any exercises that will strengthen the muscles that this hitching is compensating for? Thanks

    1. Hi SC,

      Hitching is very common after any shoulder surgery.

      The 2 main causes being:

      1. If your hitching occurs whilst moving (.. and it is not due to pain), you are still weak in those shoulder muscles. Continue with all your strengthening exercises in your rehab. Pay particular attention to all your rotator cuff work in conjunction with lower trap and serratus anterior work.

      2. If you hitch if someone else moves your arm (where your arm is relaxed), this is probably due to post -surgical stiffness. The main restriction I find with my patients is a lack of

        internal rotation

      .

      You can do a general test by reaching behind your back without letting your shoulders poke forward.

      If you can aim above T7 region, then you are doing pretty well.

      Mark

      1. Hello Mark i can reach well above t7 with my left arm, but when i try with my right arm it’s not as great. It is barely hitting the t7 region. Is this normal to some people? i want to correct it as fast as possible since i experience shoulder blade pain on my right. so i thought this might be the cause. i have tried to find a stretch that allows a solve to this but i can’t find!
        thanks!

        1. Hey Thanaawat,

          It is quite common to have one side that is not able to go as high up the back. This is usually seen on your dominant side.

          However, if you are lacking significant internal rotation of your right shoulder (that is, unable to put your hand up your back), the best thing to do is the sleeper stretch.

          Mark

          1. This looks helpful

            Do you do reps of the sleeper against resistance and how low do you go at finish

            How often as well ? Thanks a ton

          2. Hey Raymond,

            If you can get your forearm flat on the ground, then you probably have great range of motion!

            I aim to get my patients to 60-70 degrees.

            I am not sure of the exact optimal amount of times to do it. More the merrier I say!

            Mark

      2. Mark,
        6 months ago my shoulder locked up…it has loosen quite a bit but when I turn my neck to the right I feel an impingement type pain under scapula near bottom of it. When I foam roll like above for my thoracic spine it loosens everywhere but the area mentioned above. After rolling it feels like that area is all cramped up and uncomfortable. What would you recommend to do to get under scapula? I can provide more details if necessary. thanks

  66. Hello Mark, I have been experiencing severe pain in the shoulder blade and that shoulder blade pain is also causing a little chest pain. As far as I remember, I had slept in a difficult position one night, since I remember waking up in the middle of night due to pain in my shoulder, however I avoided it. The same morning I started experiencing this pain. My chest does not pain that much, moreover it only pains little only when I move my shoulder such that it causes pain in the shoulder blade. I have applied Relaxyl, a gel which reduces pain for a while. I have also taken a pain killer. What would you suggest me to do?

    1. Hi Niharika,

      The exercises in the post should help out heaps if it is caused by the muscle between your shoulder blades.

      If pain persists, it might be an idea to get a scan or get it checked out in person by a health professional.

      Mark

  67. Hi Mark, this article was great however

    I have pulled a muscle that is directly in between both of my shoulder blades, about a handspead from my neck, and I am in complete agony. Is there anything you can recommend to help me out here?

  68. Hi Mark.

    This is great stuff.

    My posture has been bad for years so this will prob take a while to work asIi am doing these everyday. My question is I am extremely tight by nature and i am mildly sore a few days after doing these. DOS ( delayed onsite soreness) possibly as i geMy t this when I [play hoops as well and than it goes away

    Is this normal and should I keep doing them daily as I am in pretty good shape overall other than the rounded shoulders. Keep up the great work much appreciated.

    1. Hi Raymond,

      It is very common to feel a bit sore in the muscles… especially if you are focusing on doing the massage ball releases. ALL NORMAL! Your muscles will get used to it.

      Keep doing the exercises. It is a bit slow at the start, but you’ll pick up the momentum.

      Mark

  69. Hello mark…i have this pain from a long tym…n ur excercises has helped me get some relief…but wen i follow the good n straight posture my traps start paining….plz help me with that ..
    N i hav one more question…can i continue woeking out at gym with this pain…i wont lift heavy…

    1. Hi Abdul,

      It is common to get a bit of ache from maintain good posture. It is just because your muscles aren’t used to this new position.

      Try to maintain good posture for 10 minutes. Then have a rest for 10 minutes. Then follow it up with 10 minutes of good posture. It is quite difficult (and arguably impossible) to have good posture 100% of the time.

      You can continue your gym. That is fine. Just make sure that you are performing it with good posture.

      Mark

  70. Good article, thank you!
    I have pain and tension in the shoulderblade, but only on the right side.
    The tension goes down to the ribs and groins – also here only on the right side.

    Do you have any suggestions?

      1. Hi Mark, maybe my description was not precise enough. I think it is not the same pain going down to the groins. What I wanted to say is that my pain is only on the right side – right shoulder blade.
        Additionally – just to complete the picture – I also have tension on the lower ribs (right side) and the tissue between end of ribs and groins is also tight on the right side.

        Left side makes no trouble at all.
        Bidy

  71. Just printing off your ten steps for correcting Shoulder Blade Pain. I am 70 years old. Never really have experienced Should Blade Pain before. The only time it bothers me is at night when I am sleeping. I have found that by putting a hot patch on that area or laying on a heating pad the pain is limited and I can sleep. Once the pad turns off automatically or the patch wears off it returns and I find myself awake and hurting. Know you recommend all ten steps but are their particular steps that would address my situation more directly.
    Thanks

    1. Hey Nick,

      If you are only having pain whilst sleeping, I would first look at the position that you are lying in. Certain positions may cause pain in the shoulder blade area.

      Another thing to consider is your pillow and mattress. Make sure they provide adequate support.

      Mark

  72. Hi I’m 18 years old and got injured when I was about 6 months old. I fell off from bed and my righten side scapula got lifted up this prevents my right arm to rotate upwardly and I always suffer from pain whenever I carry heavy loads. This issue affects me a lot coz it restricts me on wearing clothes that don’t cover shoulders since it causes my shoulders to be cleary uneven.I’ve been living a very depressed life,my question is that can it go back to normal even if I’m no longer a baby with soft bones?? And how??

  73. Great site nice tips and all,
    I feel a pain when I move my head to my left, facing my left shoulder, then I feel a sharp pain on somewhere in the Rhomboid area.
    I have no problem moving my arms etc its only when I move my head to the left.
    I also feel that it gets worse when I try to exercise or even walking for some minutes.

    What could it be?

    1. Hi Joe,

      It could be your Levator Scapulae muscle:

      Or even upper/middle trapezius:

      What to do: Try locating the area and pressing into it with a massage ball. Rotate your head in a circle. This should help release the muscle.

      It could also be your joints in your neck (or even a rib!) that are getting pinched when you look to the left.

      Try to pull your head to the Right side and see if you can target the painful area with a stretch.

      Ultimately – The best thing would be to have a look at your posture and see what factors are predisposing you to get pain in the Left shoulder blade in particular.

      Mark

      1. Hi Mark,

        I have something similar to this, but it’s my left upper trap that swells when I do anything. I know it has to do with posture and bad technique at the gym, which is being fixed. The full relief of pain I’ve had, was when I had a deep tissue massage conducted in my shoulder blade area, particularly the upper trap. I was able to rotate my shoulder and collar bone area without any clicking. The therapist said that the muscle/tendons around that area felt like ropes. Scarred tissue?
        Would you recommend I keep getting these deep tissue massages? Along with my exercises?

  74. I have had tightness and stiffness on my right side (my dominant hand, as well as the side I prefer to sleep on) in the neck and shoulder blade area for months now. So glad I found your tips on this page today. Bookmarking it and starting the recommended stretches ASAP!

    If by any small chance, I feel little or no relief, what would you recommend next steps to be? A chiropractor visit? (something I’ve never tried). I wasn’t sure what type of professional to seek out, if any, but I am tired of just living with the pain.

    1. Hey RLB,

      See how you go with these exercises. They should definitely give you relief.

      If there is minimal effect, I would strongly suggest getting assessed by a chiropractor/physical therapist.

      They can pinpoint exactly what is leading to your pain in the right side. (It could be that you are tilted/rotated to one side, have an over active upper trap muscle etc etc)

      Let me know if I can help you further 🙂

      Mark

  75. Hi Mark,
    I’ve had daily chronic neck/back pain for years now trying everything and your exercises are really helping with my neck…My shoulders are still very rounded and it seems they’re naturally that way now, but this is leading to a lot of collar bone pain and pain at the back of my neck and shoulder blade area. Do you have any suggestions for how I can prevent this? The collar bone seems to get irritated as soon as I sit down in the morning to drive to work.
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Melissa,

      Another muscle that can cause Rounded Shoulders is the SUBCLAVIUS. (see below)

      You can try gently massaging along the line of the muscle to see if that gives you some relief.

      It is common to get pain at the back of your neck and shoulder blade region with rounded shoulders. Have you checked out the post on How to fix Rounded shoulders? This is a great place to start.

      If you find that most of your symptoms occur during driving, try holding the steering wheel at 4 and 8 o clock (under hand grip) so that you elbows are pointing downwards and by the side of your body.

      Mark

  76. Pingback: Right Shoulder Blade Pain: Causes and Treatments
  77. Hi Mark,

    I want ask you if it is normal, when i am rolling my tight points between my shoulder blades with a ball and i have pretty strong pain in my shoulder ?

    Thank you,

    1. Hey Lukas,

      If it just a strained muscle, it is quite normal to get pain when you activate that muscle.

      You can continue with the shoulder circles, just don’t push into that painful position too hard. It should ease off with repeated circles.

      Mark

  78. Hi Mike,
    I wanted to ask you, if its normal to feel strong pain in my shoulder when i am rolling/massaging places between my shoulder blade with a ball ?

    Thank you.

  79. Hi there, I’m experiencing all these things (including numbness in my fingers) and I know it’s a result of poor posture. I’ve seen many chiropractors and physical therapists. The tape really helps me, but if I don’t have it on, my posture returns to its poor state, my muscle spasms in my shoulder, and then many times my rib head is pulled out of place on my left side. Can I still do these exercises with a rib out? What about the massage ball? How should I be sleeping at night? And lastly, do those back braces you get on amazon really work? Thank you so much for any help!

    1. Hey Casie,

      It is fine to do these exercises if your rib is not in the right place. However- you will need to find out why it keeps doing that.

      The best sleeping position is on your back as this promotes the most symmetry of the body. However… if this is too uncomfortable, sleep with your painful shoulder on top (support it with pillows so it does not slide into a weird angle)

      I am not the biggest fan of back braces, however, if you are just going to use it SHORT TERM to serve as a reminder to keep good posture, then they are fine. But I would not use them long term.

      Mark

  80. I am only 13 and have really bad pain around the shoulder blade.
    I also dont have any of them excersize things.
    What should i do.
    Please help I am in really bad pain.

  81. HI MARK :

    I’ve had this problem ever since I can remember. I get this twitching whenever I get a haircut . When the barber starts cutting my hair in the back of my neck . The nerves start twitching . I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the frequency of the motor that starts making the nerves starting to twitch . It’s very uncomfortable and irritating ! I’m wondering if anybody else has this type of a problem and if there is anything that can be done. Any help would be most appreciated . THANKS

    1. Hi Bill,

      It seems like you have hypersensitive nerve endings in the neck area.

      It may or may not be related to a issue happening in the central neck region. (You can get a neck MRI to make sure)

      Do you only get the symptoms when getting a hair cut?

      Mark

    2. Hi Bill,

      It seems like you have hypersensitive nerve endings in the neck area.

      It may or may not be related to a issue happening in the central neck region. (You can get a neck MRI to make sure)

      Do you only get the symptoms when getting a hair cut?

      Mark

  82. Hi Mark,
    I was wondering, when I roam roll my upper back, I hear a clunking sound at the left corner of armpit area. It is not painful , only hear an annoying clunk sound. Does that mean something is loose? I also want to let you know that Afew months ago, I fell and had to land on an out stretched hand with the left hand. Thank you.

    1. Hey Linda,

      It’s hard to tell you exactly what it is without a proper assessment.

      However – the clunking may originating from your ribs. Might be an idea to get an Xray to rule out a fracture especially if you have a fall.

      If it is more of a flicking noise around the arm pit area, it may be one of your tendons.

      Which movement causes the noise?

      Mark

      1. When I first started to foam roll, my whole upper left back was painful and then no longer painful. INitially, I get pain on left side then clicking / clunking around area behind scapula when I foam roll and put arms behind head. Then the is noise comes from outer edge of scapula..That scapula looks like or is minimally popped up then the right scapula, at least that was what the chiropractor said when he was working on lower half of body.
        Do you think it is misalignment of scapula. ? Thanks again, I Will consider an x Ray.

        1. Another thing that might be causing the clunking noise is one of your tendons around that back of your shoulder.

          This could be due to a poorly positioned scapula.

  83. hi my name is Dawit & i am Ethiopian …..my problem is wrong position of shoulder (i.e my right shoulder is upper than the normal if you want the picture i will send to your email.please answer by email.

    thank you

  84. Hi Mark<

    Thanks for the reply.

    I do sit allot during the day at my desk , car etc.

    My right shoulder feels like there is a not ( trigger point) but my shoulders do not hurt at all but are stiff. Would the above 10 steps help for this as well help and is this prob posture related as well? Thanks again

  85. Hi Mark<

    Thanks for the reply.

    I do sit allot during the day at my desk , car etc.

    My right shoulder feels like there is a not ( trigger point) but my shoulders do not hurt at all but are stiff. Would the above 10 steps help for this as well help and is this prob posture related as well? Thanks again

  86. Hi Mark,

    Great stuff you offer a valuable service and its greatly appreciated. After years of sitting with poor posture, office and car it finally caught up to me so this is great info and believe it will help me over time..

    I tried to do # 4 stretch as it looks like it would help but with out a video not sure what it means to lean back, as she appears to be standing standing straight up and than push’s her shoulders forward? Don’t mind me I am getting old and I have shoulder stiffness in both shoulder blades not really any pain- more like stiffness.

    I did strain the RHS rotator cuff maybe that is causing some compensation in my shoulder muscles ? Thanks again
    your fingers together.
    Lean back and hunch your ur back as much as possible.
    Push your hands away from you.
    Look down.ppe

    1. Hi Raymond,

      When you lean back in this stretch, you are trying to round the upper back as much as possible to stretch out those muscles between your shoulder blades. As your back rounds, your shoulders will naturally come forward as well.

      Mark

  87. Hi Mark,
    For last few years I had badly experienced pain in the left shoulder sincemail there it has become on and off which means I get alright with no treatment and any exercises but after sometimes again same thing happens. I cannot sit on a training where I have to write and listen equally. Why this pain occurs frequently and I know that it’s not because of my body posture.

    Thanks Dema

  88. Hi Mark! I’ve been thinking for a while that I was having chest pains. However, recently I started massaging my left shoulder blade and feel a sharp stabbing feeling. Im thinking the pain is linked to this. I tried some of the exercises above and experienced a numbing in my left arm ( as I have in the past.) I did the Serratus Anterior release. Do you think that my assumption of ‘heart pain’ could be generated by bad posture and new injuries in the past? These stretches were very effective. The only one that was painful, but definitely felt the stretch, was the Serratus Anterior release. Thank you 🙂

  89. Hi Mark,

    I’m suffering from back pain in the right shoulder blade area for more than 4 years (I’m 50 years old male). Numerous MRIs and X-Rays found nothing. The doctors were always sending me to physical therapy that made no difference – in fact, if they asked me to do some exercises with my right hand the pain would become intolerable. As long as I’m not using my right hand much (if the level of the elbow stays low) I’m in fact not having any pain, especially if I’m sitting.
    After finding your page I’m pretty sure that it describes my problem, together with bad posture I have all my life.
    But when I started your exercises doing the movement #4 produces no pain whatsoever and your description of the exercise states that there should be pain?!

    1. Do you think my symptoms correspond to shoulder blade pain?
    2. It would be really nice if you can make 30 seconds videos for exercises 4 to 7. I’m not sure I’m doing them properly.

    Thank you

    Dejan

    1. Hey Dejan,

      Your symptoms do sound like it corresponds to shoulder blade pain. It is very common to have poorly positioned shoulders which make the muscles between the shoulder blade very weak. These muscles support the weight of your arm.

      With the shoulder blade stretch, the sensation you are looking for is a deep stretching sensation. You do not want any sharp pain.

      In regards to videos, that is a fantastic idea. Will definitely look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Mark

  90. Hello, Mark. Thank you for the great information. I have been having a lot of issues with the muscles on both sides of my spine between my shoulder blades for a number of years now. I went to see a specialist last week and they told me, based on the MRI, the cervical portion of my spine curves outward instead of inward. This is causing issues with my thorasic curvature and ultimately giving me quite a bit of muscle pain if I sleep wrong or sit wrong. Have you heard of spinal issues like this causing muscle pain in these areas? I can’t seem to find any examples. I am an otherwise healthy adult and would like to find a resolution for this pain before it gets worse. I would appreciate any help.

    1. Hi Danny,

      It looks like you have described a Forward Head posture. You can find out more info on it right here. This will explain the reversal of your curve in your neck.

      Do you have Rounded shoulders? It is often associated with your type of pain?

      Mark

  91. Hi Mark. Great information! I have a couple of questions about my situation. I cut my finger on my right hand last week and had to get the laceration taken care of. As a result, I have to keep my hand dry (elevated in the shower in a plastic bag). I have also been protecting that hand as well. About 4 days after I injured my hand, I woke up with shoulder blade pain. I’m assuming I pulled a muscle somehow from holding my hand up, etc. It has now been about 4 days since I started feeling the muscle pain. It’s worse at night when I am sleeping (I woke up last night on my back to sharp pains) and when I am showering, holding my hand up and using left hand to wash my hair. First, are the exercises you suggested the best ones for me to do, or should I be doing something else? And secondly, what is the least painful position to sleep? Thanks!

    1. Hey there Amber,

      You are having pain as you are using muscles that you do not usually use.

      This should not be permanent.

      The exercises mentioned in the post will help you out heaps!

      When you sleep, just make sure you support your shoulder by hugging a pillow (if you are on your side).

      If lying on your back, place a small pillow underneath the upper arm for support.

      Mark

    2. Hey Amber, I just had an extensive skin cancer removed from my hand with a skin graft from my thigh added. I have had my hand up for one week as it throbs to hang down and also cannot get it wet. The pain in my hand started to subside and I was hit with left neck shoulder blade pain and my whole arm throbs. It’s hard not to cry, so much pain in last seven days and cannot take anything for it and the Vicodin for the surgery does not agree with me. Tylenol is not getting it. Don’t know whether to use hot or cold. Let us know if you find immediate help.

  92. Dear Mark,
    I am 28 and I work in the office, I used to go to the gym 3 times a week but now I have suspended activity because my shoulders burn after exercising. I have always had low-hanging shoulders, and I think that might be the problem. Do you think there might be some exercise that could correct my shoulder posture and raise the shoulder joints above the clavicular joint at the sternum?

    1. Hi Giulio,

      To fix your problem:

      Strengthen your Upper Trapezius muscle:


        Think about lifting your shoudlers up and slightly back. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Every hour or so.

        This is a great exercises to start with. However, you may require more exercises if there are other postural issues happening as well.

        Mark

  93. Hi Mark,

    I’m a digital artist who has been suffering with pain directly on my shoulder blade for a few weeks now. Unfortunately, this work really has no way about improving posture because I have to lean over my drawing tablet. Do the muscle strengthening exercises work alone, or will this problem persist even with daily stretching?

    Thanks

    1. Hey hey,

      If there is absolutely no way of changing your posture or work station ergonomics, the only option really is to make your postural muscles EXTRA strong.

      So on top of the stretches (which should give some relief), you will need to focus on strengthening (which will prevent the pain from starting).

      The stronger your muscles, the more they should be able to handle.

      Of course – try to take constant breaks from your forward leaning posture.

      Mark

  94. Hello man,often rhomboid area pain comes from bad posture as u said,so the muscle become over stretched.Don’t u think stretching the area can worse situation?

    1. Hey Paul,

      If your Rhomboids are constantly in a elongated state (which is common), then you would not want to overly stretch the muscle.

      However- if you wanted some temporary relief, stretching them lightly will help with that.

      Overall- the focus would be to get the scapula in the correct positions so that the rhomboid can function at an optimal length.

      Mark

  95. Hi mark, I actually have a bad posture, and I mostly slouch, and I regularly feel pain in my shoulder blade near the scapula region. So is the pain because of my slouch position?
    And if yes what type of exercise do you recommended that will make my posture straight and what should I do for the pain? It hurts alot sometimes

  96. Hi Mark I’m 42 years old suffering from burning pain between my shoulder I’m a nurse working in casualty busy department im standing for long time 11 hours ; so i dont know what should i do now tried all exercises but dont help went for xray nothing seems wrong from the xray; please help

    1. Hey Puleng,

      Persist with these exercises.

      It may not eliminate your pain completely straight away, but over time, you’ll definitely see improvement.

      You might need to address your posture at work (especially if you are looking down a lot and/or using your arms) as it may be placing more stress at your shoulder blade region.

      Mark

  97. Hie Mark i have right shoulder blade pain and it is so painful at times i feel the pain in my breast right.The shoulder makes a cracking sound when i am twisting my hand.I went to several doctors and they say its muscle pain and tissues but the pain killers are not working at all

    1. Hey Tin tin,

      It’s hard to say exactly what’s wrong without assessing you.

      But – have you tried releasing your Scalene muscle? Check it out here:

      That muscle can refer pain down in the chest and at the shoulder blade region sometimes!

      Pain killers generally just a temporary solution. You need to find the root cause of your pain.

      Also – what do you mean by twisting of your hand. Is it palm up/down motion?

      Looking forward to your reply.

      Mark

        1. I would look at the Long head biceps which is located at the front of your shoulder.

          This could possibly cause a bit of flicking sensation when you twist your fore arm.

          Mark

  98. Mark –
    I’m over 70 and a gamer, suffering from pain under my right scapula. It’s a common pain, I know, and your exercises have helped immensely. Thanks so much! Now, can you help me with my stiff neck? I sleep on my side and I have a good quality pillow for side sleepers, one that supports my head, but I still suffer from a stiff neck. This pillow is three years old … do I need a new one? Or try a different pillow? Do you have any exercises that you would recommend?

    Thanks for any help you can give me

    Suellen in Ottawa

    1. Hello Suellen in Ottawa,

      Glad to hear the exercises have helped with the pain under your right scapula!

      In terms of your stiffness in your neck, here is a complete list of neck exercises you can do to pretty much bullet proof your neck.

      It’s not specific to any certain neck issue, but it will definitely help you with a stiff neck! Try them all out. Do the ones that help you the most. (You do not have to do them all at once)

      Mark

    1. Hi fara,

      They are all safe for pregnant people provided that you do not lie directly on your stomach (ie. namely the Pec minor release.

      If in pain, discomfort or in doubt, please email me.

      Mark

    1. Hi Ritik,

      If it is nothing too serious, you can continue your gym work out providing that it is not aggravating any of your pain.

      If it is still hurting, you might need to fix this issue first.

      Mark

  99. Hi..Mark

    i m facing lots of pain in my left shoulder. i have done lots of excercises to get rid of it but all of them not seem to working for me. i also have bad posture and i m working on it. the pain started last month while lifting weights. pain killer lasting for 2 to 3 hour. help me mark i have some physical test to prepare … help me to fix it

  100. Hi.. Mark.

    i m facing lots of pain in my left shoulder while sleeping..even i can not simply lay down on my bed. i take pain killer bt its not lasting too long. i also have some physical test due to this much of pain i cant even prepare for that. help me to fix it

  101. HI mark i have been experiencing numbness in my arm and my feet, and i feel a stretch in my trap/collar, what can i do to fix this
    plz help asap

  102. Hello mark. I have a very bad posture like I was a hunchback already. I use to sit my head forward on the monitor and my back arch and my breast in. Is there any way to correct my posture fast and permanently?

  103. Hi Mark,
    I have pain in my left shoulder blade. feels like the inside of my left shoulder blade and now there is pain in my arm as well. the pain in the arm is dull and more pronounced near my elbow and ring and little finger. Dicloran and Muscle relaxants are not helping.
    any suggestions ?

    1. Hi Naveed,

      You might have some active trigger points in some of your muscles that are referring pain down your arm.

      Try releasing these 2 muscles first: (press where ‘x’ is)

      1. serratus posterior superior
      2. serratus anterior

      Let me know if there is no relief with this. ( You could possibly have some nerve referral pain as well, but let’s see how we go with releasing some of your tight muscles first)

      Mark

      1. I have pain in the same place i have poor posture do to the whole left side of my body being 2cm shorter. I have a heal raise but my posture isnt good… If i stand up straight i feel like I will fall backwards. I need help i have had knee ops aswell recently(in last 9months). Any advice would be gratefully received.

  104. Thanks for the detailed help Mark. I’m going to bookmark this to use whenever I get a kink in my shoulder blade (rhomboid?).

  105. Hi Mark,

    This is a great website! I am sitting in front of my laptop more than 8 hours per day and I have been practicing bad posture. It is a good idea to start with fixing the workstation and sitting posture. May I know how often should I practice step 3 until step 10?

    Thank you!

  106. Mark, great article. I have had on and off shoulder blade dull pain. Currently dealing with my right side. I would typically work through it until it just went away. When it occurs, driving and certain other sitting activities would be where it would aggravate the most. I have just recently gone to a chiropractor for the first time (I am 47) and x-rays do show my posture is off. Left shoulder is higher than right, among other things. So getting corrections and some stretch/exercises to better my posture. I still haven’t gotten relief from this pain and some nights it is affecting my sleep. Heat helps it the best, but eager to start some of your exercises above. One question I have is on weightlifting/exercising, which I do 5 times a week. My regime isn’t crazy and more maintenance of weight vs. building. However, I want to know if this is normal…prior to my shoulder blade pain coming back (about 2 weeks ago now), I was doing dips (chest exercise) to the tune of 25 per set – 4 sets when I was on chest/upper body- roughly twice a week. Loved the feeling of strength, etc… that comes with isometrics more than physical bench pressing. When my shoulder pain came back I went the chiropractor who used a activator tool on my chest (right side), likely to loosen muscles that might be tightening up the shoulder blade. Long story short (sorry – but getting to the point), my right side has in less than two weeks has gone completely weak. Not able to do any dips (not one). I thought it might of been due to the activator tool, but now I am thinking due to the shoulder blade pain and all the adjustments/attention on it, there might be blood flow disruption to the other muscle in that region. Does this seem normal? When I have had this pain before, it was annoying, but never affected my workouts. The only difference now is I am going through chiro visits to adjust things. I am keeping to my workout schedule, but when I do chest/upperbody, I am bringing the weights down to a low lever and trying to build back up. Just find it strange to lose so much strength so quickly, so curious if other patients of yours have had the same issues. Sorry for the long winded note, but wanted to put some context around my issue. I will be using your stretching exercises above and keep with the Chiropractor on posture as I do believe that is the reason for my pain. Just hate going backwards on strength, but if it is part of the healing process, then it is what it is.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      As I have not assessed you personally, I am going to assume a few things and offer you the best explanation that I can give.

      When there have been adjustments to your posture, the body has to become familiar with this new position.

      Muscles which have been used to a certain position are now in a completely different position (even though it may only be a subtle change in position). Also, you may have been using other muscles as compensation in your former posture, and now have to learn to use the correct ones.

      My recommendation: Continue with your chiropractor and posture exercises. Your right side should start to get used to the new position and the ability to activate your strength should follow.

      Let me know how it goes.

      Mark

  107. Hi Mark,

    I am Krishnendra. I regularly do body-weight as well as weight training exercise at home. Some days before in the morning I felt pain in the left shoulder blade. I couldn’t even turn my head towards the left & right direction as I was feeling pain tremendously at a single point of left shoulder blade. I did not perform any exercise for the last 4 days due to that pain. But still now whenever I want to take deep breath or try to move my hand or shoulder I am feeling pain in a particular point of my left shoulder blade. What should I do now? Is this is a muscle pull or something more serious? As I left exercise I am feeling weak also. Please suggest some remedies.

  108. Hi Mark. I’m Emily and 30 years old, I have been working in a desk based environment for roughly 7 years plus now and over the last few month I have had pains in the centre of my shoulder blades and also in the right rib cage area when sleeping. It has gotten worse as the weeks have gone by to where my sleep is almost non existent. I tried yoga to see if that stretched the muscles but that made the pain a whole lot worse! I will be working today and after reading your websites I will adjust my work station as per your demonstrations. Pain killers etc have also not done the trick. Do you have any more advice Mark? Kind regards.
    Emily from to UK

    1. Hey there Emily,

      Sometimes if your stretch certain painful structures, it can actually make it worse.

      Is the pain in the middle of your actual shoulder blade, or is it between the shoulder blades?

      Mark

    1. Hi Rohit,

      Nerve pain usually has signs such as numbness and tingling.

      A quick scan to your spine can determine if you have any major nerve impingement.

      Mark

  109. Hi Mark,
    This is Avinash. I have been suffering from pain for almost 5 years which in left scapula. I feel this pain everytime. Please help me to get rid of this problem.

  110. Hi,

    I love the website. I am 31 years old and have had significant scapular pain since age 17. I have never been able to get it under control. The pain seems to get even worse as I age. I have been to physical therapy several times over the years and that never helps. Everyone has always recommended shoulder, scapular, etc strengthening exercises and scapular retraction exercises. These exercises seems to aggravate my scapular pain and make it feel inflamed and even worse, and definitely not better by any means. Based on the information that these exercises make it worse, do you think it is posture related or another issue?

  111. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the great website and to your commitment to help individuals all over the world (I’m in the US)!

    I was diagnosed with Degenerative Joint Disease. When I described my pain to the Neurologist (neck stiffness and pain, pain in left scapula and pain in the lower back) he said this was most likely due to a a pinched nerve. My question is whether the exercises above will work for a “pinched nerve” as well as muscles?

    Thanks
    Mo

    1. Hi Mo,

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂

      The exercises as mentioned in the post are more for muscular pain.

      If you have nerve pain, you will have to focus on freeing up the nerve.

      Have you been given nerve specific exercises?

      Mark

  112. Hi, I have shoulder bursitis for more than year. The pain will start coming if I do more physical activities like playing badminton, throwing cricket ball above right hand shoulder. My right hand shoulder is a little bit lower than left one.I tried resting for a long period. But pain coming back after I do exercises above shoulder. I already had ultrasound and confirmed that its bursitis.Could you please help me to get rid of this shoulder pain. Is there any exercises or treatment for this.

    Thanks

  113. Hello Mr. Wong, I have a pinch/pain in my left scapula, it increases when im sitting in my desk and when doing lateral raises at the gym. The pain began a year ago when I was “bad-doing” some pushups (hands in a wrong position) the pain came along with a low back pain. Do you think they are related? I still have some low back pain specially when I wake up. Any advise would be very very apreciated.
    Pablo

    1. Hi Pablo,

      There are several muscles in the shoulder blade region that also have connections in the lower back. So, it is quite likely that these 2 pains are linked in one way or another.

      Can you tell me exactly where you have your lower back pain?

      Mark

  114. Hi Mark,

    I am 30 years old with a 1 year old that I co-sleep with. I’ve been having back pain in my shoulders and I can feel my arm muscles are sore too. When I sleep, I have to sleep on my back because if I sleep on my side, it causes tingling in my hands. Any ideas as what I can do to help?

    1. Hi there,

      Tingling in the hands in a sign of a nerve issue.

      Is the tingling in mainly your pinky and ring fingers? Or is it the whole hand?

      Mark

  115. Hi Mark, I am 59 years & have been having pain in right shoulder blade area, thoracic vertebrae area. If I use my right arm to do too much like cleaning, gardening my shoulder muscles get sore & hurt, if I keep on with chores it eventually will lead to bad headache & even pain in my right arm which will last for days. At this point I apply heat & stop all housework. My left side is much stronger. Do u think this is a posture problem?

    1. Hi Karen,

      Although I have not assessed you in person, what you describe is very common issue with people with postural problems.

      Go in front of a mirror. Stand normally. Are you shoulders level? Sometimes when you have uneven shoulders, it may lead to shoulder blade/thoracic pain (even up into the neck).

      These exercises on this article will definitely help with your pain, however, I think you will need to address the underlying postural issue.

      Let me know if you need more help!

      Mark

  116. Hello Mr. Wong. I don’t have shoulder blade pain, but my shoulders are noticeably uneven. Is there any exercises you would recommend for uneven shoulders?

    1. Hello Kevin,

      There are most definitely exercises you can do to fix uneven shoulders.

      But to show you which ones to do, I need to know what exactly is uneven about your shoulders?

      Is one higher than the other? More forward?

      Mark

        1. Hi Kevin,

          I had a look at your photos and it definitely shows that your left shoulder is higher. Your torso also seems to gliding to the left side as well.

          There’s a lot more going on in terms of your posture, but perhaps you can try these out first.

          1. Side planks with the left side towards the ground – Why? You are bending to the right side at the waist crease.
          2. Stretch the Right side of your body – Why? Since you are bending to the right, you are likely pretty tight there as well. (Exercise #6 at http://posturedirect.com/17-exercises-to-improve-your-thoracic-spine/)
          3. When you are sitting down, try to have even weight distributing on both buttocks. I have a feeling you are probably leaning/favouring one side more.
          4. Fix your sway back posture: http://posturedirect.com/how-to-fix-sway-back-posture/

          Start off with those. And let me know how it goes!

          Mark

          1. Thanks Mark! I really appreciate you taking the time to look at my photos and giving me advice. I will definitely let you know how it goes.

  117. Hi,
    Great website. I have cervical radiculapthy causing neck, shoulder and upper back pain. Can I do all these stretches ?

      1. Hi Lakshmi,

        You can do all the exercises.

        Just pay attention to your body’s response to doing them. All exercises should be gentle and pain-free.

        If there is any discomfort/reproduction of any symptoms, you will need to modify the exercises so that it is comfortable.

  118. hiii Mark…
    this is A.Shivani…..
    I m having shoulder blade pain of both sides and between….. I have used many pain killers…but couldn’t get permanent relief….wen I wear bag or stand fr long time ….I’m getting unbearable pain……can u please relive from this pain…….

  119. Hi mark, i have seen your diagram on one of the comments above, i’m a game, an addicted one. Everyday i just sit on my office chair on home and pun my ipad on a table that is too low. I’m suffering shoulder and neck pains for a week. I think the reason is slouching and looking down to the ipad for a long period of time. And i think the part that is painful in my shoulder is on the supraspinatus i think? Based on your diagram on a previous comment. Can you advice me some things to improve my posture and some exercises that i can do to make sure my muscles in my neck and back are healthy. Thankyou in advance.

    Adrian

  120. hi mark this is farhad kindly guid me i am suffering from left shoulder cuff and now i also feel a lot of pain in my shoulder blade also the incedient occures six years back when i was bowling since i feel pain in my left shoulder cuff and now since month ago i feel much pain in my blade no medic and remedies works in it please give me some solution will pray for you regards

  121. Great Website.

    Mark my pain is more over my right scapula (not between blades) and sometimes quite lateral.

    Do you think this is still postural related?

    Do you also implicate posture even though pain is one sided?

    Thanks,

    1. Hey Manny,

      If you have pain on the actual shoulder blade, then you probably have some sort of rotator cuff +/- deltoid muscle issue. (see link)

      Posture definitely affects how the shoulder functions/moves. Remember that you have to maintain good posture whilst sitting, lifting, carrying, exercising etc otherwise it puts your muscles at a higher risk of injury.

      1. Hi Mark, I started to experience this shoulder blade muscle pain yesterday. I’ve had it in the past few times and had physio as treatment.
        Would you advise me to start doing these exercises right away or should I be resting?

        1. Hi SN,

          Providing that you pain is not due to something more serious like heart, lung or nerve issues etc, then is it perfectly fine to start these exercises.

          I would perform them gently and ease into to make sure that you do not exacerbate your symptoms. They should all feel comfortable.

          Mark

          1. Hi Mark,

            I have a severe pain in my back shoulder blade(left side) as suggested by a doctor have gone under physiotherapy and lots of medicines but no results and its been over 2 years now I’m experiencing this pain, I have no trust in medicines anymore, please suggest best course of action to get rid of this permanently, This pain causing me problem in sitting and sometimes sleeping as well , would be glad if i get some suggestion on this.

            Thanks

          2. Hi Mohammed,

            Since sitting is your main issue, you will need to determine what’s going on with your sitting posture.

            Do you have rounded shoulders? This is a common cause of shoulder blade pain.

            You could also be tilted/rotated to one side causing more stress to the left side.

            If the issue is in front of a computer screen, have you set up your workstation properly? Eg. mouse/keyboard placement.

            Mark

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