What Causes Shoulder Blade Pain?

Joints Involved in Shoulder Blade Pain

The complete motion of your shoulder is a combination of a coordinated movement of two individual joints. The primary joint involved is the shoulder joint.

The shoulder joint is also known as the “glenohumeral” joint. This is the articulation (or the connection) between the humerus bone (upper arm bone) and the scapula or shoulder blade.

The other joint involved in the motion of the shoulder is the called the scapulothoracic joint.

This joint involved the movement of the shoulder blade (scapula) as it related to your upper back or thoracic region. The ratio of contribution of Glenohumeral motion to scapulothoracic motion is 2 to1.

Muscles Involved in Shoulder Blade Pain

There are 23 muscles that connect to the shoulder blade (Scapula). These muscle must work in conjunction with one another to move the shoulder blade over the spine in a fluid and synchronized motion.

If even one of these muscles is weakened, or injured, then the entire motion can be compromised.

This is why pain in the shoulder blades is so common. Many time dysfunctions inside the glenohumeral joint can cause a compensation by the scapulothoracic joint causing an increase in stress to the muscles that move the scapula.

This muscle stress can causes spasm and intense shoulder pain.

Common Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

Frequently people come to me with pain on the inside border of one or both of their shoulder blades.

It is common for people to now hold their hands in front of them grabbing their smart phone or typing on a laptop.

This position causes an unnatural amount of scapular protraction, or in other works places the shoulder blades in an unnatural position.

This position can cause an intense strain in the muscle on the inside of the shoulder blade.

Many times this pain is treated successfully with physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and sometimes injections.

If you are having pain in the shoulder blade then make an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon at Westchester Sport and Spine.

Dr. Michael Gott is a Westchester orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in sports medicine. He has also been an active member of the National Ski Patrol as well as a Member of the Windham Mountain Ski Patrol for 18 years.