Why Does It Burn Between My Shoulder Blades?

Experiencing burning pain can be extremely frustrating, especially when it is located in a nearly inaccessible area of the body, such as between the shoulder blades. What causes this burning between the shoulder blades? Well, unfortunately there is not one clear cut answer. There are several possibilities ranging from tension from stress to something far more serious. To know for absolute sure you would need to consult with a physician.


Stress is a funny thing in that not-really-funny sort of way. We are surrounded by it no matter what we do, and it is part of the driving force of humanity. There is a necessary, healthy level of stress that prompts us to take care of ourselves as part of survival, but then there is the unhealthy over-excess that weighs us down and can take a toll on our bodies.

Stress has a mental and physical impact. Often times mental stress can lead to tensing up the body, particularly the muscles of the neck and back. Sometimes this is the cause of that burning between the shoulder blades, which may have more to do with tension of the neck muscles than that spot on your back.


How you hold your body while sitting or standing can also play a part in that burning sensation. It is important to maintain proper posture, supporting your weight evenly whenever you stand or sit for prolonged periods of time. Regular stretching throughout the day can help ease the physical tension that can lead to this type of pain, and may also help relax from the mental stresses that accumulate.


For those who are extremely active there is the potential to develop a painful burning between the shoulder blades indicating that something has been pulled or has seized up in the night when the body has been at rest. This can happen from overstretching through over extending, or working with weights your body is not prepared to lift, push, or pull.

Acid Reflux

Though it may seem odd, it is not unheard of for some people to complain of a burning between their shoulder blades as a symptom of acid reflux. At night when they are laying down, those stomach acids may settle in the esophagus leading to the burning sensation seeming to be located in the back.

Other Causes

There are also several diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis that can cause back pain, including the burning between the shoulder blades. Nerve damage caused by injury is also a consideration.

Because there could be any number of reasons or factors working together to cause this pain, it is best to seek a professional opinion. Pain that comes and goes sporadically might not be cause for alarm, but if you suffer from persistent, reoccurring back pain it is worth the trip to the doctor. It may be nothing more than stress, but the possibility of it being something more serious should not be ignored.

For many working adults back pain is a common complaint; however, without proper assessment it is difficult to tell how best to address the issue. At Randolph Orthopedics and Sports Medicine we employ skilled physicians, including a spine specialist, with the experience and training to address your back pain. Call us at 336-626-2688 for more information.