There are many reasons because of which you experience pain between shoulder blades – upper back and chest together. The causes range from heart issues to other body parts like the digestive system. Some of the reasons might not require emergency care. However, you should seek help if the pain occurs suddenly and does not subside within a few minutes.

But, what causes pain in between the shoulders and chest? One of the main reasons for this issue is a heart condition called angina. Let us dig a little deeper and see what it is and how to deal with it.

Angina Pectoris

Angina is a heart condition in which enough blood does not reach the heart muscles leading to pain in the chest and in between shoulder blades. Additionally, the discomfort is felt in the arms, throat and jaw as well.

Angina makes the chest feel tight and heavy; it is one of the symptoms that indicate CAD – coronary artery disease. In this condition, the plaque builds up inside the coronary artery, which blocks the blood flow. Angina is categorized in two:

Stable Angina

It is often set during physical activity when the heart rate and blood pressure rise. Exercise makes the heart need more oxygen and nutrients, which it does not get causing shoulder blade and chest pain. Usually, the pain stops after you take nitroglycerin or rest up.

Unstable Angina

It is when you feel burning chest pain more often and it becomes more severe and difficult to handle. It does not require strenuous exercise, this angina pain can occur while resting as well.

Other Reasons for Upper Back Pain between Shoulder blades Chest

Some of the other reasons include:

Heart Attack

When blood flow to the heart gets blocked, you suffer from a heart attack. People undergoing this feel pain in their chest, arms, shoulder blades, jaw, etc. Additionally, signs like cold sweat, lightheadedness, nausea, shortness of breath are seen. Women, compared to men, are more likely to suffer from a heart attack.


It is a condition in which the stomach acid comes up to the throat via esophagus. This causes burning sensation and pain in the chest behind the breastbone and is sometimes felt in your back.
Heartburn worsens after eating meals or in the latter part of the day. Pregnancy, excessive weight can increase the risk of getting heartburn issues.


A gall bladder stores digestive fluid known as bile. When the fluid inside hardens, it forms stones i.e. gallstones. These stones cause immense pain in several areas of the body like:

  • Upper right abdominal area
  • Below breastbone
  • Between shoulder blades
  • Right shoulder

The pain lasts from a few minutes to several hours with a feeling of nausea and vomiting.


Pericardium lines the heart surface, and pericarditis is the condition in which this line inflames. The reasons for inflammation are infection or an autoimmune condition. Sharp chest pain is one of the defining symptoms of pericarditis. The pain may worsen while resting or lying down, taking deep breaths, etc. Other signs to look out for are:

  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Swelling in the lower region

When Should You Call Your Doctor?

It is best to see your doctor in case of chest and shoulder blade pain. The discomfort and pain should not be taken lightly. In case of sudden chest pain, look out for the best cardiologist in Houston; reach out to Epic Heart and Vascular Center. Call now at (832) 952-1951 Willowbrook and 832-432-1951 Houston