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Constant cracking between shoulder blades?
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Questions in the Chiropractic Care Forum are being answered by Dr. Adam Tanase, a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic. Topics covered include Muscle Pain, Nerve Pain, Movement Disorders, Subluxation, Upper Cervical Care, Pain Management, Health Care Alternatives, and Wellness Care.

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Constant cracking between shoulder blades?

I am a 33 yr. old female, 135lbs., 5'3". No injuries/trauma/breaks/etc......

For the past few weeks when I roll my shoulders or straighten up to correct my posture, my back seems to be cracking and crunching.  It's not like when a joint "pops" (like cracking your knuckles), it does it repeatedly for as long as I keep rolling my shoulders or any other movement that moves that area.  I can feel it and it just feels like the bones are in there rubbing around and bumping into each other.  

There is no pain when I feel the cracking, although if I sit there and continuously do it, the area becomes a little tender and evenutally the cracking stops (or diminishes).

A few days ago I did have some sudden tenderness in that area (running down my spine and between my shoulder blades), it doesn't affect any other area.  The tenderness felt like a large bruise back there, but I had my husband press in the area and it didn't hurt when it pressed and palpated the area.

Possibly related....?? I recently had a mild, brief bout of costochondritis in my left 8th rib, I've had that pain off and on for about 8 years.  It was an extremely tender spot for about a day and a half and then it completely went away.

I've thought it could possibly be related to arthritis, I have arthritis in 3 fingers on my right hand.  But what I'm MOST curious about is the cracking/grinding feeling?? Like I said, it DOESN'T feel like the "crack" you feel when you "pop" a joint.

Thank you for any advice and help you might could offer!!
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It sounds to me as if there's a stabilization issue at hand... Have you had any spinal trauma in the past 10 years? Was there an injury 8 years ago when you began noticing the rib pain?

The simplest measures you can take are making sure you're drinking adequate amounts of water each day... For someone your size, that would be roughly 65oz.

Joint-strengthening supplements, like Glucosamine and Chondroitin, may help as well.

Have you had any image series taken of the area? If not, it might be a good idea to look inside and see if there are any structural abnormalities present.

Lastly, many people like the sensation of having the middle of their back "cracked" by friends or family. If this is the case, and you're doing this often, I'd encourage you to stop. This experience, while pleasant at the time, can induce hypermobility of the joints, leading to instability.

Warm wishes,
AT
2 Comments
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636562_tn?1223671045
Thank you for the information! :)  

I haven't had any trauma or injuries to my back, it just started randomly.

I have been dehydrated lately and just got back from the ER after having hypokalemia.  They're trying to figure out what's wrong...so it could be related to the dehydration?? The arthritis in my hand and wrists has been aggravated lately as well.

I'll increase my water/liquid consumption and see what my doctor finds out (in relation to the dehydration and hypokalemia).

Thank you again!!!
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Adam Tanase, D.C.Blank
St Louis Chiropractor: www.drtanase.com
St. Louis, MO
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