Please read 'how the shoulder works' before reading the following.
Pain behind the shoulder, behind or around the shoulder blade and/or in your upper back/neck is not strictly speaking a shoulder problem because the pain is probably coming from the back or neck. However, lots of people refer to it as shoulder pain because thats where the discomfort is felt.
If the pain comes on gradually it is commonly due to the upper back rounding forwards and the chin pointing forwards and upwards, which increases muscle and nerve tension, and may even cause pins and needles or pain in the arms and hands. Sometimes, breathing becomes restricted due to the lungs not being able to expand properly resulting in fatigue and more slouching – the start of a vicious cycle! It is therefore essential to have it fully assessed by a Physiotherapist or Osteopath.
Treatment usually consists of hands-on mobilizations to increase upper back mobility, acupuncture to release muscle tension, and taping to improve the neck/shoulder posture. Exercises are given to increase your upper back movement, shoulder stability and neck strength, and to improve posture. Adjustments may also be advised to everyday activities that you may take for granted but are maintaining the strain: sitting, swinging arms whilst walking, and standing postures.
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