Tension Myositis Syndrome

Pain Between Shoulder Blades

I think everyone can say that they felt it at least once – pain between shoulder blades.

You’re sitting at your job, you’ve had a particularly stressful day and you can just feel the pain between shoulder blades and your upper back. You roll your shoulders hoping to loosen it, up just relieve a little bit of the pain but it’s still there.

Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Why does this happen? Why, after a stressful day, does the pain manifests itself as a pain between shoulder blades?


pain between shoulder blades

Similar to lower back pain, I believe the pain between shoulder blades can be relieved through mental exercises and physical stretching. I also believe that the teachings of Dr. John Sarno can shed light on why this happens.

Is it TMS?

Dr. Sarno believes in the concept of TMS or Tension Myositis Syndrome.

This syndrome is the brain distracting the body from an emotional stress by restricting the flow of oxygen muscles in the body.

In most cases, it’s the lower back.  In some cases, migraine headaches; and even in some cases, it is the pain between shoulder blades.

The thing I found most interesting is that all of these pain manifestations always seem to occur along the spine or in the head.  This seems to make sense as the brain is so closely connected to those.

No one gets a lack of oxygen into the calf muscles or the right arm bicep.

It always seems to manifest itself in the back, or the shoulder blades, or the neck.

The question is:

How do we stop this pain between shoulder blades?

The answer is simple: you must convince your brain that you are not in any kind of physical harm. You want to convince your brain that you are aware of it causing fake pain between should blades.  Once you do that, the pain stops because it no longer makes sense to the brain.

The Solution To Pain Between Shoulder Blades

The best way to do this—positive reinforcement.

Repeating certain sayings to yourself along the way like…

“The pain between shoulder blades is not a physical pain, but one caused by my brain or by the lack of oxygen going to those muscles.”

Another is…

“I have nothing physically wrong between my shoulder blades or upper back or no structural abnormality.”

This repeating has to take place over a significant number of days, usually 3 to 4 weeks. Remember, you’re trying to convince your brain of something that it’s trying to counter convince you of – pain.

It is also possible that your brain could try different tactics to point the pain to different spots which has happened with some folks.  Again, keep convincing yourself and your brain that you don’t have any physical structural problems in the shoulder blades.

More importantly, try to really search your mind and figure out what emotional issues you may not be dealing with.  I’ve often found it very productive to write in a journal, in terms of exactly what’s going on in my life and how I’m feeling about certain things.

Getting that out in the open tends to convince your brain that you have dealt with it.

Remember, when it comes to pain between shoulder blades, first rule out any structural problems with a doctor.  Next, work on the real culprit of the origin of the pain between shoulder blades, your brain.

Be sure to check out the rest of our TMS site for more tips and helpful information on reducing stress and relieving your pain.

Also, check out some great reading on using your mind to overcome your back pain for good.  

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One Response to “Pain Between Shoulder Blades”

  1. John Sacramoni says:

    “It is also possible that your brain could try different tactics to point the pain to different spots which has happened with some folks”

    Exactly this, once I realized that I had TMS my brain switched spots from my upper back to my ribs, it’s when I really knew it was all in my head.