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Upper Back Pain between Shoulder Blades

Upper back pain is a moderately common complaint although it is less so than neck pain or low back pain. Neck pain problems can refer pain down the arm and across to form shoulder blade pain as well as upper back pain down as far as the tip of the shoulder blade. Further information about upper back pain can be accessed at Wikipedia's upper back pain page and more general back pain information at NHS Choices.

This kind of pain is often assumed to be upper back muscle pain even though there is little good evidence for this assumption and there are a large number of medical conditions, some very serious, which could also account for this pain.

Lung pain secondary to blood clot (pulmonary embolus), pneumonia, pneumothorax (lung collapse – usually partial) and pleurisy are among the illnesses which can cause upper back pain or middle back pain.

Upper back pain symptoms will vary according to the underlying condition which is responsible for the pain. Musculoskeletal problems could have a sudden onset with an injury or poor posture and are typically worse with specific activities and better with resting in stress free positions.

Medical advice needs to be sought if a musculoskeletal cause for the pain seems unlikely as other conditions relevant to thoracic pain include gall bladder disease, angina and tumours of the abdomen and gullet.

Upper back pain during pregnancy can add to the difficulties of this time although it is less common than sacroiliac joint pain and low back pain in pregnant women. As the changes in the joints, muscles or ligaments are often not symmetrical, it is common to complain of for instance upper back pain left side which may confuse patients who want to know why it is one sided.

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