What do work, computers, babies, and driving all have in common? . . .They all commonly lead to back pain between the shoulder blades!
The original article I posted became quite popular so I decided to make another that included a video of a stretch that has been helping patients in my office with their back and shoulder blade pain.
[warning]If you are not sure your back pain is from the muscles and joints of your back then you should be evaluated by a qualified professional. You could be having a heart attack or intestinal problem.[/warning]
Patient #1: Works a desk job 40+ hours per week. He complains of back pain between the shoulder blades and tells me that he works on the computer most of the day. The back pain has been getting worse and is stinging and burning sometimes. He has had the pain for years but it is getting unbearable.
Patient #2: Mom of three children, 5, 3, and 1 years old. After breastfeeding and whenever she has to carry her babies for an extended period of time she gets a dull achy back pain between the shoulder blades. The pain has gotten worse lately since her 3 year old has been sick and she has been carrying her more.
Patient #3: Truck driver for 30 years who has never had any problems before, but recently started driving a new truck. Old Bessy drove her last mile, but every trip he makes in this new truck makes a sharp stabbing pain between his shoulder blades on the tail end of a job. He pushes threw it but needs a solution because he can’t stop working.
After a THOROUGH evaluation to make sure the patients only have a simple musculoskeletal problem causing the back pain in their shoulder blades, I would show all of them the stretch that I demonstrate in the following video:
1) Place your hands on a wall with your elbows straight.
2) Next, try to pinch your shoulder blades together by dropping your body forward while keeping your elbows straight. Hold for a few seconds.
3) Finally, draw your shoulder blades as far apart as possible while keeping your elbows straight. Hold for a few seconds.
4) Repeat as necessary throughout the day to prevent back pain between the shoulder blades.
Note: A handful of patients have trouble doing this stretch because they aren’t sure which muscles to activate. Doing the move while in a push up type position and allowing them to let their body sink and push their body up without bending their elbows usually helps them learn.
In addition to the stretch I would also give them the following advice:
Patient #1: Get up and move around, change positions often. Make sure the ergonomics of your desk are correct. For example, have you computer monitor eye level. There are many factors that could be contributing to the back pain between the shoulder blades and a good doctor will take the time to help you narrow it down.
Patient #2: Babies can be demanding but you need to take care of your body too. Modify breastfeeding habits so that you are not hunched over as much. Use an Ergo Baby Carrier when carrying the baby. These baby carriers are ergonomically correct for the baby and takes a lot of pressure off of Mom. Plus Daddy can wear them too!
Patient #3: Trying different supports in the truck, adjusting seat position, lumbar supports, etc to make the drive more comfortable and more like Ol’ Bessy. The patient would need to dialogue with a doctor to find out the cause of their back pain between the shoulders blades.
There are many stretches that can help back pain between the shoulder blades but I show the stretch above to almost every patient with back and shoulder pain.
What changes have you made to help with your back pain between the shoulder blades?