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Causes of Mid-Back Pain
       Mid-back pain, or pain between the shoulder blades, is a commonly experienced pain disorder by people who spend long hours at a computer or desk. This pain disorder is perpetuated by a sunken chest-head forward posture. What is interesting about mid-back pain is that the muscle groups of the chest region play an such an important role in the development (and re-development) of this pain disorder. The tension in the chest muscles overload the muscles of the mid-back region, causing them to develop trigger points. This occurs so often that, even if you release the trigger points in the mid-back muscles, if you fail to address the trigger points in the chest muscles, the mid-back trigger points will be quickly reactivated.

The Muscles and Trigger Points that Cause Mid Back Pain
       Three muscle groups can contain trigger points that refer pain to the region in between the shoulder blades:
  • The Rhomboids
  • The Middle Trapezius
  • The Pectoralis Major
      The Rhomboid muscle group is found in the mid-back region, between the shoulder blades. These muscles attach along the spine and run diagonally downward to attach to the inside edge of the shoulder blade. Contraction of this muscles causes the shoulder blades to retract and rotate. There are three trigger points that develop in this muscle group. Unlike most trigger points, these trigger points refer pain only only locally in the region of the muscle group. They will often make the region and tips of the spine very tender, and the pain might be described as a burning sensation at times.
     The Trapezius is the large, diamond shaped muscle group that forms the base of the neck and upper back region. It has attachment points at the base of the skull, along the spine, on the shoulder blade, and on the collar bone. When this muscle contracts it typically moves the shoulder blade, but it also plays a part in moving the neck and head. Trigger points in the middle portion of this muscle refer pain between the shoulder blades and to the spine.
       Trigger points in this muscle develop for a number of reasons, including poor posture, emotional stress, whiplash injuries, falls, and sleeping positions (or sleeping under a ceiling fan). Additionally, tension and trigger points in the chest muscles will easily overload the middle Trapezius muscle fibers, and activate trigger points in it. (Note: Trigger points can develop in any of the middle Trapezius muscle fibers, and may or may not be located as depicted in the picture.)
      Learn more about the Trapezius trigger points with this article from Dr. Perry >
Trapezius Trigger Points Are Like Opinions...Everybody Has One.
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      The Pectoralis Major muscle group is the large, flat muscles found in the upper chest region. The muscle has four overlapping sections that attach to the ribs, collarbone, chest bone, and upper arm bone at the shoulder. This muscle group contracts as you push with your arms in front of you (e.i. the bench press) and when you rotate your arms inward towards your trunk. The Pectoralis Major can contain up to five different trigger points that refer pain in the chest, shoulder, and breast regions. Additionally, pain or numbness may radiate down the inside of the arm and into the fingers. Trigger points in this muscle group tend to activate trigger points in the upper back muscles that produce pain between the shoulder blades.
Important: The following content is provided for information purposes only. A proper diagnosis of any condition requires a physical examination by a licensed doctor.