Back hurts between the shoulder blades after sleep, what should I do?

Prolonged stay of the body in the same position during sleep can lead not only to the appearance of puffiness, but also to pain. Such a static load on the joints and muscles in itself cannot cause the disease, and pain after waking up can focus your attention on an already developing pathology. Complaints that after sleep the back hurts in the area of ​​the shoulder blades are primarily characteristic of patients with diseases of the musculoskeletal system. However, these diseases are diverse, and in order to understand the cause of pain, it is necessary to consider them in more detail.

Causes of pain

In total, there are several main reasons for the appearance of pain syndrome:

Inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae in the back, or arthritis.

Disease of the intervertebral discs – osteochondrosis – which subsequently leads to the development of a hernia.

Muscle spasms.

Diseases of internal organs – angina pectoris, diseases of the lungs and pleura (lung abscess, pneumonia, tuberculosis, pleurisy).

Each of the reasons has its own symptomatology, due to which the diagnosis can be made even at the stage of consultation with an orthopedist, and all of them can not only ruin your sleep, but also lead to more dire consequences if they are not detected in a timely manner. So what are the symptoms of diseases due to which the back hurts between the shoulder blades after sleep?

Causes, symptoms and diagnosis of arthritis

There are several reasons why you can get arthritis:

Microorganisms and bacteria trapped in the bloodstream during trauma.

Development of tuberculous arthritis or Lyme arthritis (tick-borne borreliosis) caused by the bite of an infected tick.

Autoimmune processes in the body that the patient may not even be aware of.

In order to determine that the cause of your morning pain is in the development of arthritis, it is enough to remember whether the pain disappears a few hours after you woke up. In this case, the patients feel the most severe pain upon awakening, after which it begins to subside by lunchtime and is completely leveled out in the afternoon.

The very same pain occurs due to swelling in the soft tissues of the joint, as well as an increase in pressure inside it. In this case, the skin around this area turns red, and with palpation, the pain will only intensify.

If treatment is not started on time, prolonged arthritis can lead to deformation of the joint, which later will cause disruption of the curves in the spine and the development of scoliosis. Therefore, it is very important to consult a doctor in a timely manner and start a course of therapy.

Treatment may differ depending on the causes of arthritis, and the task of choosing its direction lies on the shoulders of qualified specialists. Mild pain relievers and anti-inflammation medications such as ibuprofen may be given as temporary relief.

Rupture of the ring in the intervertebral disc with osteochondrosis

Most often, back pain in the neck area appears with osteochondrosis. This pathology of the intervertebral disc can progress and, over time, lead to the development of more serious back problems.

At the very beginning, it is almost impossible to determine osteochondrosis without radiography, because there are no obvious symptoms. However, over time, it leads to a rupture in the intervertebral disc, or rather in the annulus fibrosus that surrounds it. This is where the sharp back pain characteristic of the disease occurs upon awakening.

Pain in osteochondrosis can occur with any load on the back and does not go away for several hours, but is most noticeable during a long stay in one position and static loads.

If you start the disease, it can reach the point that the nucleus pulposus of the intervertebral disc will shift and its “protrusion” will occur – the formation of a hernia. In this case, a person develops a permanent pain syndrome associated with the damage to the nerve pathways and roots. The patient complains of a sharp pulling back pain and the inability to get out of bed in the morning.

Osteochondrosis can be diagnosed due to the distinctive features of the pain syndrome:

The pain in this case is as localized as possible and the patient is able to accurately indicate its focus.

The focus often becomes the cervical and lumbar regions, less often there may be a pulling pain sensation in the chest area. Thus, osteochondrosis is almost always excluded with pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades, but there are also similar cases.

Pain can appear and pass within an hour or a couple of minutes, and it happens spontaneously (except for a situation with a developed hernia, pressing on the nerves of the intervertebral disc).

Muscle spasm

The most harmless cause of pain in the shoulder blades after sleep. If you sleep in an uncomfortable position, or the mattress does not meet your physiological needs, muscle spasms can occur, in which people often wake up instantly. This pain is often localized in the area of ​​the larger muscle group, therefore, in the case of pain between the shoulder blades, spasms in the infraspinatus and supraspinatus muscles can be suspected . It is the same with the lumbar and cervical regions.

The pain can go from pulling to cutting if you try to contract the muscle in which the spasm occurred. Without exertion, the pain usually goes away on its own in half a day, but pain relievers can be used.

With constant spasms in the area of ​​the shoulder blades, it is recommended to change the mattress, make an appointment with an orthopedist and carry out preventive muscle massage once a week.

If the cause is diseases of internal organs 

Angina pectoris is an acute lack of blood supply to the heart muscle, accompanied by an attack of pain. Pain sensations can occur in the area between the shoulder blades or under one of them.

With angina pectoris, pain can be described as pressure, compression, burning. Often accompanied by chest pain. You can relieve symptoms with nitroglycerin. 

Pain in the interscapular region can be observed with pleurisy – inflammation of the pleura – which is a complication of diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, autoimmune and oncological diseases, kidney and heart failure, and other serious and dangerous ailments, as well as chest injuries.

With pleurisy, back pain between the shoulder blades is associated with breathing, increases with a deep breath, when the body bends, and coughs. As a rule, it is accompanied by fever, weakness, headache.

In the presence of these symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor to establish the type of pleurisy, identify the disease that caused it, and prescribe appropriate treatment.


Be that as it may, even if this is an ordinary muscle spasm that haunts you on an ongoing basis, you need to make an appointment with an orthopedist in order to establish the cause of the pathology. In no case should you self-medicate, because this can only lead to a worsening of the condition and the development of diseases of the back or internal organs.

Also, do not forget about the convenience of your sleeping place, about the correct selection of a mattress that meets your physiological needs.

As a prophylaxis for back pain, morning exercises are well suited, which will allow you to stretch and warm up muscles that have “frozen” overnight.

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