Back pain is a very complex problem. The origin of the pain can be at the back itself or the soft tissues supporting the back or even due to a problem in the other organs near the spine. Upper back pain between the shoulders could mean a number of different medical problems and needs to be investigated in detail by the physician.

What Are The Causes Of Pain In The Upper Back, Between The Shoulders:

Pain in the area between the shoulders can be caused by several issues ranging from strain due to poor posture to a cancer. It is therefore important to understand the various probable causes and seek prompt medical attention.

Muscle and Joint Problems

  • Sprain

Sudden pain in the back between the shoulders can occur due to straining of the muscles in that area. This happens after lifting or moving heavy objects, vigorous sports activity, or intense stretches during exercising. This could affect the shoulder muscles and cause radiating pain to the upper back.

  • Rotator cuff problems

Rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that supports the arms at the shoulder joints. Some problem to any of the muscles can cause radiating pain to the upper back.

  • Frozen shoulder

When there is inflammation and swelling in the muscles and ligaments of the shoulder joint, it tends to freeze the shoulder into a locked position. This condition is called frozen shoulder. The pain caused due to this condition can radiate to the upper back.

  • Cervical spondylosis

In this condition, there is degeneration of the vertebrae in the neck and/or discs which causes the nerves there to get pinched causing pain in the upper back between the shoulders.

  • Facet joint syndrome

Pain at the small joint between two vertebrae, also known as osteoarthritis, developed due to degeneration of the cartilage leading to friction between the bones causing pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the back between the shoulders.

  • Problems in the discs

Herniated discs: Discs are cushions in between the vertebrae of the spine that act as shock absorbers. These discs contain gel-like material that tend to push out causing irritation to the nerves resulting in pain, numbness, tingling, and radiation of pain to the back as well.

  • Gallbladder disease

The problem in the gallbladder can cause discomfort in the upper abdomen with pain on the right side in the ribs and radiating pain into the back between the shoulders.

  • Heart attack

A nagging pain in the back between the shoulders along with severe fatigue, pressure in the chest, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, nausea, or dizziness could mean a heart attack. Women are more prone to this pain in the back between the shoulders. In case of such unusual pain, it is very important to consult the physician to rule out a heart attack.

  • Cancer

The pain in the back between the shoulders could be a symptom indicative of esophageal cancer or lung cancer.

It is therefore very important to seek medical attention, if you suffer from pain in the area between your shoulders and get the cause identified and treated properly.


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