Person experiencing upper back pain between the shoulder blades and seeking relief
Back Pain

Upper Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades and COVID-19

Upper back pain, specifically between the shoulder blades, is a discomforting issue that many people experience at some point in their lives. While it can be attributed to various causes, one intriguing aspect is its potential connection to COVID-19, a viral infection that has gripped the world since its emergence. In this article, we will delve into the world of upper back pain and its possible association with the novel coronavirus.

Upper Back Anatomy

Before we explore the relationship between COVID-19 and upper back pain, let’s understand the anatomy of the upper back. The upper back, also known as the thoracic region, consists of twelve vertebrae and supports the rib cage. This area plays a crucial role in maintaining posture and facilitating various movements.

Causes of Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • Muscular Strain: One of the primary reasons for upper back pain is muscular strain. This can occur due to overexertion, lifting heavy objects, or even poor lifting techniques.
  • Poor Posture: Maintaining poor posture for extended periods can put undue stress on the upper back muscles and lead to discomfort and pain.
  • Spinal Issues: Structural problems in the spine, such as herniated discs or degenerative conditions, can also contribute to upper back pain.

Symptoms of Upper Back Pain

The symptoms of upper back pain can vary but commonly include:

  1. Upper Back Pain: A persistent, dull, or aching pain between the shoulder blades can be indicative of COVID-19, particularly if you experience it alongside other common symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  2. Muscle Tension: COVID-19 can cause muscle tension and stiffness, which may contribute to upper back pain.
  3. Breathing Difficulty: Difficulty in breathing due to COVID-19 can lead to additional strain on the upper back muscles, exacerbating the discomfort.

The Connection Between Upper Back Pain and COVID-19

Recognizing the Link

In recent times, there has been growing interest in understanding the potential connection between upper back pain, particularly between the shoulder blades, and COVID-19. While upper respiratory symptoms have been the hallmark of COVID-19, researchers have observed that the virus can also affect other parts of the body, including muscles and nerves.

Viral Myositis – A Possible Culprit

One hypothesis suggests that COVID-19 may lead to a condition called viral myositis, which involves inflammation of the muscles due to viral infection. When the muscles in the upper back become inflamed, it can manifest as pain, often in the form of a dull ache or sharp discomfort between the shoulder blades.

The Role of Cytokines

Additionally, COVID-19 can trigger an immune response that results in the release of cytokines, small proteins that regulate inflammation in the body. Excessive cytokine production, commonly referred to as a “cytokine storm,” can lead to muscle pain and discomfort, potentially contributing to upper back pain.

Case Studies

To better understand the potential link between COVID-19 and upper back pain, let’s look at a couple of case studies.

Case 1: John’s Experience

John, a 42-year-old man, contracted COVID-19 and experienced severe upper back pain during his illness. He described it as a burning sensation between his shoulder blades, which was particularly pronounced when he took deep breaths.

Case 2: Sarah’s Story

Sarah, a healthcare worker, also tested positive for COVID-19. Alongside the typical symptoms, she complained of intense upper back pain that persisted even after her respiratory symptoms improved.

Effective Home Remedies

Managing upper back pain between the shoulder blades during or after a COVID-19 infection can be challenging, but there are several home remedies you can try:

  • Gentle Stretching: Performing gentle stretching exercises for the upper back can relieve tension and reduce pain. Try rolling your shoulders and gently tilting your head from side to side.
  • Heat and Cold Therapy: Alternating between hot and cold compresses can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Apply a warm compress for 15 minutes followed by a cold one for 10 minutes, several times a day.
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen can provide temporary relief from upper back pain. However, consult your healthcare provider before using any medication, especially if you are recovering from COVID-19.
  • Maintain Good Posture: Proper posture can prevent or alleviate upper back pain. Ensure that your workspace is ergonomically sound, and practice good posture habits throughout the day.
  • Breathing Exercises: Engaging in deep breathing exercises can improve lung function and reduce the strain on your upper back muscles. Try inhaling deeply through your nose, holding for a few seconds, and exhaling slowly through your mouth.


Upper back pain between the shoulder blades is a common ailment with various causes. While its connection to COVID-19 is still under investigation, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential symptoms and seek medical guidance when needed. Remember that early diagnosis and proper management can lead to a quicker recovery.

Wasiur Rehman is fueled by a deep passion for advancing innovation in healthcare and medical research. He possesses a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science Engineering and has dedicated approximately two years to his role as a research analyst and SEO content writer. Currently, he is a valuable member of the DiseaseInfoHub team, serving as a content and research guide.

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