Causes of back pain between shoulder blades after sleeping

A lot of people get back pain between shoulder blades after sleeping due to a variety of problems. Here we discuss the back pain between shoulder blades after sleeping and the possible causes of it.

Symptoms of the pain

There are no specific symptoms of the back pain between the shoulder blades as the signs and symptoms can differ vastly from one cause to another and this condition has a lot of possible causes. However, some common signs include:

  • Stiffness
  • Soreness
  • Pain transferred towards the neck, shoulder or even the lower back

As symptoms are quite indistinguishable, you may have to show it to your doctor if there is the pain on your back on the region between shoulder blades as this can be a sign of some severe health conditions as well.

Causes of Pain between the Shoulder Blades

The back pain between shoulder blades after sleeping gives some hints about what might have happened by locating the conditions present in this region. Sometimes, even if back pain between shoulder blades after sleeping, the causes of that pain may lie somewhere else in the body. So here are some causes of the pain between shoulder blades. Sometimes it can be an indication of serious health issues.

Muscle strain

It is the most common cause of this pain as you may have anticipated because it doesn’t take much to get a muscle strain. If you have been playing some sports or doing some kind of heavy exercises or lifting, that may be the reason for your back pain.

Causes of back pain after sleeping

Causes of back pain after sleeping

Also, if you have been sitting in a weird posture that can cause it. Studies have shown that most of this pain is caused due to poor posture while sitting or doing any work.


Some kind of trauma can always be the reason for the pain. The trauma inducing the pain between the shoulder blades commonly include rotator cuff tears as well as acromioclavicular joint separation. These may be some severe conditions so you might want to consult a doctor.

Bulging or herniated discs

Degenerative disc disease in the thoracic spine and cervical spine can cause the referred pain in this region. It is quite uncommon as people with disc disease don’t generally feel pain between the shoulder blades, however, this can cause due to some delay in diagnosis of the condition.


Arthritis that is caused in the neck or the ribs can cause interscapular pain. Sometimes arthritis in the neck can induce pain in the between the shoulder blades and other regions instead of the neck itself.

Heart attack

This is one of the unlikely ones but you should always think that this can be the reason for your pain. Especially in women, heart attacks don’t always begin with chest pain. Some people also experience pain that is confined to the shoulder blades. This pain later is accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pain or feeling of lightheadedness. This might be one way to notice a heart attack in women that is unlike men.


This gets more serious when you find that lung cancer, especially Pancoast tumors, can cause pain between the shoulder blades as it pushes the nerves near the top of the lungs. Esophageal cancer, lymphomas, mesothelioma, and liver cancer can also cause this push and subsequently the pain in the region. In women, also breast cancer can cause this if cancer spreads to the neck region from the breast.

Gallbladder disease

Gallbladder disease can cause a stabbing pain between the blades and also it may result in pain the upper abdomen and also nausea. This generally happens after you eat a fatty meal.

Nerve entrapment

Nerve entrapment like myofascial pain syndrome in the rhomboids may also cause the pain in the shoulder blades.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux can cause pain in various areas of the back and neck. GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) can cause referred pain to the back. Especially, in the region between the shoulder blades. The other symptoms of GERD are chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness.

Untreated GERD can cause a lot of discomforts and it may also be associated with the development of esophageal cancer later. If you have inflammation in the pancreas, this might also be the cause of the pain between your shoulder blades.

  • Scoliosis: Scoliosis of the thoracic spine can induce pain in this region.
  • Pulmonary embolism: This condition occurs when clots in the legs break off and travel to the lungs. The pain is generally sudden and sharp, and may also come with severe shortness of breath. If you have had some blood clots in the legs or the redness, pain, and swelling of the area.
  • Thoracic vertebral compression fractures: Of course, if you have had a severe and serious injury, compression fracture may be the reason for your interscapular pain.

Shingles: Shingles produce pain in nearly anywhere in your body. Depending upon the nerve roots that is affected by the virus. It generally concentrates on one side of the body although you may feel it to be a pain in between the shoulder blades.

Leave a Reply