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Common Causes of Pain Between the Shoulder Blades and Neck

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

Facet joint syndrome in the neck can produce neck and shoulder pain that can restrict your range of motion, making it difficult to rotate your head comfortably.


A trigger point in a muscle will cause pain in the area. In the upper back, it may cause pain across the muscles around the spine, neck, and shoulders.


Something starts to hurt, so you tense the area up. Then it hurts more, so the muscle tightens up more, perpetuating and escalating the cycle of pain. Any intervention that helps treat the pain and eliminate perpetuating factors can help break the cycle: trigger point therapy, stretch therapty, heat and/or ice, chiropractic or osteopathic treatments, deep tissue massage, ultrasound, homeopathy, biofeedback, acupuncture, dry needling , counseling, and even analgesics. You need to break the pain cycle as soon as possible to helps prevent the symptoms from getting worse or affecting other muscles and soft tissues.


Neuromuscular Therapy can be an excellent form of muscle spasm and pinched nerve relief to allow your soft tissue spasm to release pain management.


You should see a doctor if your pain is severe, unusual, or doesn’t go away. Pain is a sign that something could be wrong. Your condition might not be serious, but it could be. If it’s bothersome in any way, you will want to get it checked out.



Myofascial Trigger Point  causing radiate Pain in the neck to upper back between shoulder blade
Myofascial Trigger Point causing radiate Pain in the neck to upper back between shoulder blade

Myofascial Trigger Point causing radiate Pain in the neck to upper back between shoulder blade


Scalenes Trigger points can produce a complex pain pattern that is deep, aching, and persistent. Pain can be experienced in the upper chest and/or the upper back; it can be experienced in the side or back of the shoulder and arm and on the thumb side of the arm and hand, including the thumb and index finger. The pain can be in all of these places or it can be in only one of them, and the location of pain can change from one day to the next. In addition to pain you might feel weakness in the hand and arm that makes you drop things unexpectedly. Pain may disturb your sleep, but it is relieved by sleeping in a sitting position or propped up. The symptom is likely experience minimal restriction of range of motion when rotating the head, but greater restriction when bending it to the side.


Levator Scapulae trigger points pain will be felt at the angle of the neck where the neck and the shoulder meet. There might also be some pain in the upper back, just between the shoulder blade and the spine. The hallmark of active levator scapulae trigger points is a stiff neck that won’t let you turn your head fully to the same side as the pain.


When trigger points are present in Semispinalis Capitis, pain encircles the head, with its greatest intensity experienced at the temple and forehead over the eye. Think of a painful vice-like grip around your head that is focused over your eye. Semispinalis Cervicis trigger points produce pain and soreness at the base of the skull and into the neck. When trigger points are present there will be difficulty dropping your head downward (flexing the head and neck) and looking up and back (extending the neck and head). You won’t be able to do either comfortably


Jesse Anoraj has been a Certified Member in good standing of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals ABMP since 2018 and runs a private practice, Artisan Neuromuscular & Sports Therapy, the local massage place in Los Angeles focusing on therapeutic-sports massage for Pain & Stress Management. He is an outstanding massage therapist with a good reputation and expertise in soft tissue technique and assisted stretch therapy, helping people cope with pain and tightness.




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Jesse Anoraj
Jesse Anoraj
Mar 07, 2023

If you have long-term neck pain, you should consult a neck massage specialist or healthcare professional near. you to determine the best approach for your specific needs. They can help you develop a personalized treatment plan that may include a combination of Neuromuscular Therapy, stretching exercises, and other self-care practices. Always start slowly and listen to your body, avoiding movements or techniques that cause pain or discomfort. It's also important to stay hydrated before and after the massage.

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