​Donald K. Liebell, DC, BCAO

477 Viking Drive Suite 170

Virginia Beach VA 23452 
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F 

(By Appointment Tu, Sat) 


The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions

Natural & holistic, whole-person, wellness-based Healthcare - Drug-Free & Non-Surgical Pain Relief


Relief for Your

Pain Between the

Shoulder Blades

(Interscapular Pain)

   By Dr. Donald Liebell

If you’ve been suffering pain between the shoulder blades, and/or middle back, or upper back pain… this may be the most important article you’ll ever read.


Because many people are told to do things like stretches, exercises, or massage… or to take pain medication, muscle relaxers, or anti-inflammatory drugs.

If those treatments haven’t worked for you, it is likely because they don’t address the true (and very common) cause of your pain.

“What is that very common cause?”

It is the JOINTS of your spine… not the muscles!

Does your middle or upper back feel like it’s stuck? Your pain or stiffness may be the result of the joints of your spine being partially locked up within their normal range of motion. This can result in inflammation, which in turn, affects your nerves, and gives you pain.

“Why hasn’t my pain just gone away itself?”

Imagine a door that’s stuck shut. Its hinges might be rusty or a little bit off-kilter. Maybe moisture has expanded the wood, making it tough to open. If you want to fix it, you need to make mechanical adjustments… use some leverage and a little force to open it… some structural balancing, and some oil in the hinges to make sure everything is moving freely.

Guess what… your spine can get stuck too, and sometimes it needs a little leverage and some expertly-administered “oil in its hinges” for the pain to go away (and stay away), naturally.

“Why can’t I just exercise or stretch to unlock my spine?”

Sometimes you can... that is... if your problem is indeed caused by tight muscles. However, 
in my experience, more people have problems with their spinal joints than their muscles. In fact, joints can be stuck, which then causes a muscle problem. When that happens, you can’t just work on the muscles.

Vertebrae (spinal bones) interlock with each other to form the spinal column.  Each individual bone 
needs to move properly (in many different directions) and has a normal range of motion. The vertebrae can get stuck in a manner that your own muscles cannot pull them free... and you've got pain that won't go away.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve successfully treated lots of people with chronic pain between the shoulder blades, and everywhere else throughout the spine. Many of those folks had suffered needlessly, prior to seeing me.

How come?

Their pain persisted because the medical care they received consisted of medicating symptoms or trying to exercise the pain away… and it wasn’t the appropriate treatment (in their cases). Such medical treatments can work wonders for people… but only when the diagnosis correctly matches.

Proper treatment is determined through proper diagnosis. It’s really not rocket science—if the diagnosis is WRONG; the treatment is likely to be WRONG, too. 

Has this happened to you?

If so… the past is in the past… and relief could be right around the corner.

Responsible and thorough evaluation of ALL the possible causes of your pain between the shoulder blades should be your solution.

Who are the healthcare professionals most qualified, trained, and experienced in restoring normal movement to spinal joints that are locked up?

Doctors of chiropractic, of course! A chiropractor’s job is to stop nerve irritation that is caused by spinal joints that are not moving correctly. If your middle back joints are stuck… your pain will NOT go away… until they become un-stuck!

When it comes to structural correction techniques, I use specific chiropractic procedures that restore normal motion to locked-up spinal joints and their related soft tissues. This has a magnificent effect because poorly moving vertebrae (spinal bones) cause inflammation, which results in interference to normal nerve function.

Physically correcting spinal mechanics is like “removing the dam from the river… enabling the water to flow.” The body can heal itself better when mechanical problems are solved. 

It is the responsibility of EVERY medical professional to thoroughly consider ALL possible causes of your pain between the shoulder blades… and to recommend the most likely helpful treatment (whether that individual doctor provides such treatment, or not).

Have doctors tested the individual motion of all of your spinal joints?

The source of your middle back problems may be above or below the area that hurts. I have successfully treated countless patients for whom the true cause of their pain between the shoulder blades was an upper neck problem (far from the area of pain or stiffness).  

Have more sinister potential causes of your pain between the shoulder blades been ruled out?

If not, important “pieces of the puzzle” may be missing. If you’re feeling chronic pain between your shoulder blades (interscapular pain), and you haven’t had a doctor take a thorough look… don’t mess around!

Pain between the shoulder blades or any area of the middle back can be the result of a problem with your heart, lungs
,esophagus, or gallbladder. If your interscapular pain is accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pain, and/or lightheadedness… see your medical doctor, or even the emergency room.

Most people I see in my practice who are suffering from chronic pain in the upper back or interscapular region (between the shoulder blades
), have already been to doctors who ruled out these medical conditions that are not directly related to the thoracic spine (the technical term for the middle back).

I have seen patients who thought they were having a heart attack, and appropriately went to the emergency room. It turned out that their hearts were fine… but I found that the joints where the spine meets the ribs were locked up, and the pain went through to their chests, too. Specific chiropractic treatment (adjustments) to their middle back and neck was the solution, in their cases.

If you want thorough evaluation and treatment, it would be my privilege to have the opportunity to help end your pain… without drugs, or painful and complicated exercises and stretches.

If I find evidence that I can help you with my methods; I will use them. If there’s a problem that needs the attention of another type of doctor or specialist, or if you need any diagnostic tests that I do not perform, 
will, of
course, refer you for it (no ego, no nonsense!).

Just give my office a call at (757) 631-9799, and speak to either Sheila or Barbara. If you’d like to email me a question, fill out the form below. Your question goes directly to me. I think you’ll appreciate checking out my whole website to learn all about my treatment methods, me, and more. Thanks for considering me to help you with your pain between the shoulder blades.   


-Dr. Donald Liebell 

​​​      I'm here to help, and I'll be glad to personally answer your questions.  Please type your first name in the box on the contact form.  Please check the box to receive email updates to give me permission to correspond with you by email, and type your question in the message box.  

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usually within 1-3 business days.  My responses are for

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advice for specific medical treatment or diagnosis

.   For appointments, please call my office at: (757) 631-9799.  

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