Are you experiencing snapping, popping or grinding shoulder pain in your shoulder blade region? This might be creating pain, limiting your shoulder function or causing other issues in and around that area. This sensation can be caused by Snapping Scapular, which is exactly what it sounds like: snapping, popping and grinding around the shoulder blade. There are many reasons why it happens and how to treat it.

The Anatomy of the Scapular/Shoulder Blade

To understand what’s going on with the shoulder blade, it’s important to look at the anatomy. In a resting position, your shoulder blade sits on top of the rib cage. There is a connection, but there is space between the shoulder blade. If that space becomes thinner – meaning there’s not enough room for the shoulder blade to move around over the rib cage – you can get essentially too much friction, which creates grinding, popping and snapping of that shoulder blade on top of the rib cage. 

What Causes Snapping Scapular?

Your shoulder blade moves any time you move your shoulder/arm. Your shoulder blade moves the most when you start lifting your arm overhead. The people who are more susceptible usually participate in sports or have jobs that require a lot of overhead action.

Sometimes there are certain people who have certain changes in their anatomy that makes them more susceptible to this. Anatomy variations can lead to the development of muscular imbalances/compensations, which can change the way the muscles work and cause the condition to develop over time. It can lead to trigger points and restrictions in the fascia

You can also have trauma in this area – car accidents, a bad fall or any impact in this area can changes the way the shoulder blade functions and cause muscular imbalances over time.

Poor Posture Can Trigger Chronic Shoulder Pain

There’s a lot of things that can cause acute, sudden pain. However, if you are continuing to have this issue without relief, then you have to look at the musculature and why this might be happening.

Posture can affect our musculature over time. Posture can trigger many different imbalances in and around this area, which all contributes to snapping shoulder blade syndrome.

We’re sitting more and more these days and hunching over more and more at our computer and on our smart phone. Over time, this will change the posture that you have and make it more rounded, which changes the way your shoulder blade sits on your rib cage.

This change can create imbalances, not only around the rib cage/shoulder blade, but also around the musculature that connects to the front of your chest, into the head and neck and down further below into the pelvis. Many muscles that attach to the shoulder blade also attach to the spine, the neck, the head, the rib cage and all the way down into the pelvis. Everything is interconnected to each other, so issues in the shoulder blade region can trigger issues in other parts of the body. 

Treating Should Pain Holistically

To get the muscles working properly and alleviate pain, it’s important to look at the alignment of the whole body. Sometimes you have to treat the joints as well as retrain the muscles through stability exercises to get everything working properly. Working to maintain good posture will help as well.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, physical therapy can help. Click here to schedule a complimentary phone consultation with one of our physical therapists.


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