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Shoulder Blade Cramps When Running

Runners most commonly suffer leg cramps, or perhaps cramps in the side, during a run, but shoulder cramps also can occur during or after a run. Often, these cramps are benign, and a few simple home remedies can correct the problem. However, medical attention sometimes is necessary to diagnose and treat the pain.


Poor posture is a common cause of shoulder blade cramps when running. Tensing up the shoulders while you run can strain the muscles surrounding the shoulder blade and cause them to cramp up. Before the run, pay attention to your posture. Focus on relaxing your shoulders while you run, and see if this clears up the cramping issues.

Overworked Muscles

Even if the cramps occur during the run, other activities you do outside of your workout might be causing the pain. For instance, slouching over a computer screen all day or lounging for long periods of time in front of the TV can cause a lack of flexibility in those muscles and lead to cramps during your run. Repetitive use of the shoulders for video games or overhead work can overwork muscles and cause this pain.

Poor Flexibility

Try some simple neck stretching exercises to improve overall flexibility, which also may improve your running posture and prevent cramps. Gently tilt your head forward and then backward several times, holding each position for a few seconds. Do this several times per day to loosen up those muscles. Also, turn your head to each side, as if you were looking over each shoulder, and repeat this several times per day, holding each position a few seconds. Tilt your head down to touch your ear to your shoulder, holding for a few seconds, and repeat several times per day on each side.

Medical Issues

If shoulder blade cramps are severe or fail to respond to proper posture and stretching exercises, they may be the result of another internal problem. Issues such as heart problems, gallbladder conditions, liver diseases, throat conditions and lung problems can cause pain in unusual parts of the body. See a doctor to rule out any serious conditions if your pain is persistent or severe.

Shoulder Cramps After You Run

If the shoulder blade cramps begin late in your run or after you're done, it could be a sign of overusing the muscles, muscle strain, holding a single position for too long or dehydration. Stay hydrated -- beginning several hours before your run -- to rule out this issue. You can treat pain due to overuse, strain or holding one position too long with gentle stretching exercises, an ice pack or some anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.

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About the Author

Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.

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