Shoulder blade pain: 10 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 in fact a way to completely eliminate your shoulder blade pain.


The 10 steps summary:

  1. Optimise your workstation
  2. Fix your posture
  3. Massage the painful area
  4. Stretch between the shoulder blade
  5. Release tight muscles
  6. Stretch thoracic spine
  7. Stretch the chest
  8. Increase shoulder mobility
  9. Strengthen postural muscles
  10. Postural taping

 * * Warning * * Please read first

I am assuming that this shoulder blade pain is coming directly from your muscles and/or joints. However, there are other more sinister reasons that may be causing your pain.

Do you have?

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

If you do, please see your general practitioner to rule out these serious issues prior to commencing the exercises.


 

// 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 extra hard 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.


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// How to eliminate shoulder blade pain

Follow these 10 simple steps to finally eliminate and overcome your shoulder blade pain.

1. Optimise your workstation

Fix your workstation = Better posture!

ergonomics

Image from Village Health – Osteopathic clinic.

How can you have good posture if your workstation does not encourage you to sit properly?

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.

2. Correct your posture

“Just sit straight?”

... It’s not as simple as that!

sitting posture

Ideally, the ear canal, shoulder joint and hip joint should be aligned. Any deviation from this ideal posture will mean there may be extra stress on certain structures in your body.

The 3 most common postural deviations that can lead to shoulder blade pain are listed as below:

  1. Tilted to one side (…more on this in a future post)
  2. Rotated to one side (…more on this in a future post)
  3. Rounded shoulders

Honestly – if you can improve your bad posture, shoulder blade pain is very easy to fix… And it is for this reason that I’ve created this whole blog to help you with this!

But for now, head over to this post: Ideal sitting posture to make sure you have the basics covered.

3. Massage 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.
  • Proceed to roll your body weight up and down as to move the ball over the target area.
  • If you feel like you can handle more, start to move your arm in a up/down motion (see above).
  • Generally speaking, the more painful the area is whilst massaging, the tighter/overactive the muscle is. Don’t stop!
  • Keep at this for a good 3-5 minutes. (No pain, no gain!)

4. 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 between the shoulder blades, it will help them relax and result in a reduction in your shoulder blade pain.

sbpstretch

 

Let me explain to you how to do the best stretch for shoulder blade pain.

Instructions:

  • Interclasp your fingers together.
  • Lean back and hunch your upper back as much as possible.
  • Push your hands away from you.
  • Look down.
  • Stretching is a game of different angles. Move around until you feel a distinct pulling sensation in the shoulder blade region.
    • If you can’t feel the deep stretch, keep changing positions until you can.
  • Keep your shoulder as relaxed as possible.
  • Hold for 60 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

Note: Be careful not to over stretch this muscle as this may cause the muscle to become weaker/inhibited. Aim to stretch it enough so that there is a reduction in your pain.

5. Release other tight muscles

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

This will usually 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 thus reduce the need for the shoulder blade muscles to be over-active.

a) Upper trapezius stretch:

neck side stretch

Instructions:

  • Tilt your head to the side
  • Feel a deep stretch sensation 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 3-5 times.
  • If you have shoulder blade pain on both sides, make sure that you stretch both sides.

 

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.
  • Circle around this area. (… It should hurt!)
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

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.
  • Do this for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

6. Stretch the thoracic spine

If your spine is used to being hunched forward (… as part of bad posture), 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.
  • Try to do maintain this for 3-5 minutes.

 

*** For an extensive list of thoracic spine exercises, have a look at this post: 17 exercises to improve the thoracic area.

7.  Chest stretch

Tight muscles at the front of your chest can cause rounded shoulders.

Stretching the muscles at the front of your shoulders will allow you to have a better posture. (… and a better positioned shoulder blade)

Chest stretch

Instructions:

  • Using the side of a door frame or wall, place your arm at ~145 degrees from the side of the body
  • Lunge forward.
  • Aim to feel a stretch at the front of your shoulder/chest.
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

 

8. 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 shoulder blade muscles.

To check if you lack internal rotation:

IR test

Lie down with your shoulder at 90/90 position (see above). Drop your hand down to the ground. If your shoulder raises before your hand hits the ground, 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 as above whilst lying on your back.

9. Strengthen your postural muscles

Now that your shoulder blade muscles are loosened up, it is important to strengthen these muscles.

The best exercise for this is the 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.

If you find the Wall angel difficult to do, try this alternative exercise:

Prone arm circles

arm circles

Instructions:

  • Support your chest on a stool. (as to keep your body parallel with the floor)
  • Place your hands out to the side. (see above)
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Draw circles in a backwards direction whilst in this position.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds.

10. 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.

 


// How long will it take to fix my shoulder blade pain?

It will take as long as it takes. There are no overnight fixes here unfortunately.

Persist with these 10 steps over the next couple of weeks. It has likely taken a long time for this pain to develop, so it is going to take some time and effort to get rid of it as well.

Be persistent with all these exercises.

It is better to fix this problem now, rather than let it become an even greater problem in future. Take control!

 


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What to do next…

1. Any questions?… Leave me a comment down below.

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

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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177 thoughts on “Shoulder blade pain: 10 steps to get rid of it

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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!!

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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!!!

  14. 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?

  15. 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

  16. 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

      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

  17. 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

  18. 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?

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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??

  24. 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?

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. Pingback: Right Shoulder Blade Pain: Causes and Treatments
  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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

  31. 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.

  32. 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

  33. 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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

  37. 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

  38. 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

  39. 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 🙂

  40. 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

  41. 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

  42. 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.

  43. 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

  44. 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

  45. 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

  46. 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

  47. 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

  48. 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

  49. 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

  50. 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

  51. 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

  52. 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

  53. 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?

  54. 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.

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

  56. 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!

  57. 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

  58. 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.

  59. 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

  60. 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.

  61. 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?

  62. 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

  63. 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

  64. 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

  65. 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

  66. 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

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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…….

  70. 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

  71. 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

  72. 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

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