Shoulder Blade (Scapula) Pain

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Published: November 25, 2014
Last reviewed: March 23, 2017

What are the shoulder blades and where they are located?

The shoulder blades are two flat, triangular bones on each side of the top of your back. They are connected to the upper arm bones (humerus), collar bones (clavicle) and the muscles of the upper back, neck and arm.

What causes shoulder blade pain?

Pain in the shoulder blades can be caused by bad posture, psychological stress, shoulder overuse, injuries, pinched spinal nerves, lung diseases and disorders of other chest and abdominal organs.

The following conditions typically, but not exclusively, cause pain only in the right or only in the left shoulder blade or only between them:

  • RIGHT shoulder blade pain: gallstones, liver cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, rupture of an abdominal organ: stomach, appendix, spleen, ovary or ovarian tube (in ectopic pregnancy)
  • LEFT shoulder blade pain: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heart, pancreas and spleen conditions
  • Pain BETWEEN the shoulder blades: gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), esophageal cancer, broken vertebra (in osteoporosis or bone cancer), Hodgkin lymphoma, aortic dissection

Shoulder Blade Pain Location Left Right Under Between Picture

Picture 1. Shoulder blade pain location
(free image use)

Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain by Organ

I. MUSCLES of the upper back
II. TENDONS in the shoulder area
III. BONES: scapula and spine
IV. NERVES
V. CHEST organs: heart, lungs, aorta
VI. ABDOMINAL organs: gallbladder, ovary
VII. SHOULDER

I. MUSCLES

1. Poor Posture (Forward or Rounded Shoulders)

Rounded shoulders can result from the tight chest and weak upper back muscles, for example, due to a long-term desk job, and can cause pain in the shoulder blades or between them [109]. Pain can be triggered by bending the head forwards.

2. Emotional Stress

Chronic emotional stress, anxiety or depression can result in an increased tension in your upper back muscles with burning or stabbing pain between the shoulder blades; the pain can be triggered by touching the chest with the chin, deep breathing or stretching the back muscles [89,90].

3. Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial Pain Syndrome imageMyofascial pain syndrome is a chronic condition with palpable knots in the muscle sheaths (fascia) that act as trigger points. Snapping on the muscle knots in the shoulder blade area triggers muscle twitches at the site of the snap and deep aches in the shoulder, the back side of the arm, hand and little and ring finger (Picture 2) [18]. (free image use)

Picture 2. Myofascial pain syndrome: Applying pressure on a trigger point can cause pain over the shoulder blade that radiates down the arm.

Serratus Anterior Muscle Pain Syndrome

Serratus Anterior Muscle Pain imageSerratus anterior muscles on both sides of your chest help raise your upper arms forward and upward, for example, during boxing sprinting and workout exercises (push-ups, bench presses). Symptoms of overuse include:

  • Pain at the bottom of the shoulder blades, below the armpits and on the inner sides of the arms down to the pinky and ring finger (Picture 3) (free image use)
  • Aggravation of pain by deep breathing [73]

4. Muscle Strain (Pulled Muscle) or Tear

Muscle strain refers to overstretching and muscle tear to a rupture of a muscle, such as during carrying a heavy backpack, reaching for something on a high shelf, push-ups, pull-ups, weightlifting exercises (deadlift, bench press, squat) or similar activities. Symptoms include tenderness, pain and swelling in the shoulder blade area [85].

5. Muscle Contusion (Bruise)

Muscle contusion is a collection of the blood in a muscle (hematoma), usually caused by a direct blow or fall [4]. Symptoms include localized swelling, bruising (reddish-bluish discoloration), tenderness and pain.

6. Snapping Scapula Syndrome

Snapping scapula syndrome refers to snapping, grinding or popping sound during shrugging or lifting an arm sideways due to rubbing of the shoulder blade against the rib cage. Other symptoms can include palpable crepitus over the medial side of the scapula, and pain between the shoulder blades when lifting the arm above the shoulder level [84].

Causes and risk factors include repeated overhead arm movements, like in swimming or throwing, weak upper back muscles and scapular dyskinesia [84].

7. SICK Scapula Syndrome

SICK scapula syndrome (scapular malposition, inferior medial border prominence, coracoid pain and malposition, and dyskinesis of scapular movement) includes [6]:

  • Asymmetric shoulder blades and prominent inferior medial angle of the affected shoulder blade
  • Pain in the shoulder blade area and upper outer part of the arm, aggravated by using the arm force against resistance
  • Tenderness along the medial shoulder blade border
  • Normal or slightly reduced range of shoulder motion

The syndrome can develop in overhead throwing athletes, such as baseball, tennis and water polo players, javelin throwers, shot putters and swimmers.

II. TENDONS

1. Whiplash – Neck Strain and Sprain

Whiplash is a strain or tear of the neck muscles, tendons or ligaments or even a damage of the spinal discs and nerves caused by a sudden neck movement backwards and forwards, most commonly in rear-end car accidents and motorbike falls. Symptoms can include [93,94]:

  • Pain radiating from the neck toward the shoulder blades; the pain can be triggered by turning the head sideways
  • Neck stiffness
  • Dizziness and headache

2. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Tender Points ImageFibromyalgia is a chronic condition with widespread dull musculoskeletal aches, fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.

Typically, more than 10 symmetrical tender points can be found: on the bottom of the back of the head, above and between the shoulder blades, on the upper parts of the buttocks, over the clavicles and upper part of the breastbone at the bottom of the neck, on the hips, outer sides of the elbows and lower medial sides of the knees (Picture 4) [13].

Fibromyalgia affects mainly women; it can develop after an accident, disease or stressful event or without an apparent reason.

Picture 4. Tender points in fibromyalgia  (free image use)

III. BONES

1. Fractures

Shoulder blade fracture can occur during a fall on an extended arm or due to a direct hit to the shoulder blade. Symptoms can include:

  • Sudden, extreme, sharp pain, and an audible click in the shoulder blade
  • The pain that can radiate into the neck or upper arm and can be aggravated by moving an arm, firmly pressing on a shoulder blade or sleeping on the back [8]
  • A visible deformity and swelling

Vertebral fractures are most common in older people with osteoporosis or spinal cancer and can be triggered by minor accidents or even by a hard cough [11]. Diagnosis can be confirmed by an X-ray.

2. Scapular Cancer

Bone cancer or the spread of a lung or other cancer into the shoulder blade can cause shoulder blade tenderness and pain, especially when sleeping on the back, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight.

IV. NERVES

1. Pinched Spinal Nerves

Pinched nerves arising from the neck spinal cord can cause burning and shooting pain and tingling:

  • C4, C5 and C6 nerve roots: above the shoulder blade [2,92]
  • C7 and C8 nerve roots: between the shoulder blades [2]
  • C8 nerve roots: in the right or left shoulder blade area [2]

The pain can be triggered by bending the neck backwards, turning the head sideways, or lying down. The pain can spread to the back of the neck and head or down the arm all the way to the fingers [21]. It can be relieved by placing a hand on the top of the head [81]. Common causes include bulging or herniated discs due to an injury, degenerative disc disease, spinal wear and tear (spinal osteoarthritis or spondylosis) [21] and cervical spinal stenosis [24].

2. T4 Syndrome or Upper Thoracic Syndrome

T4 or upper thoracic syndrome imageT4 syndrome refers to an irritation of the spinal joints and sympathetic nerves around the level of the vertebra Th4 (Th2 to Th7) resulting in:

  • Pain and stiffness between the shoulder blades and in the neck
  • Chest tightness and abnormal sensations (a sense of swelling, extreme perception of cold and heat, numbness and tingling) in hand, all 5 fingers and forearm (Picture 5); the symptoms are not aggravated by the trunk or arm movements [79,87].

Causes include repetitive forward, backward and sideways bending or twisting of the trunk (in dentists, surgeons, electricians, assembly-line workers) or carrying heavy backpacks [87]. Pain can be relieved by laying flat (without a pillow) on the back [87].

Picture 5. T4 or “upper thoracic syndrome” pain distribution (free image use)

3. Shingles (Herpes zoster)

A reactivation of a previous infection with the Herpes-zoster virus in one of the spinal nerves that arise from the lower neck or upper chest part of the spinal cord can cause burning pain followed (after several days or weeks) by red, itchy blisters in the form of a stripe that runs horizontally from the spinal line over the shoulder blade toward the front of the chest, usually only on one side [23]. The pain and rash can persist for several weeks or months.

4. Long Thoracic Nerve Injury (Winging Scapula)

The long thoracic nerve travels from the armpit vertically down the side of the chest on each side and supplies the serratus anterior muscle. It can be damaged by a direct blow to the side of the ribs, sustained bearing of heavy loads over the shoulder, deep massage or during removal of a breast and the lymph nodes in the armpit (radical mastectomy). Symptoms can include:

  • Trouble lifting the arm on the affected side forward and above the shoulder level
  • Winging scapula (a shoulder blade that sticks out)
  • Mild burning pain on the side of the chest and in the scapular area.

Recovery time may be up to 2 years [72,82,83].

V. CHEST ORGANS

1. Gastric Reflux

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and bile reflux symptoms can include:

2. Pleurisy

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the lung membrane (pleura) caused by a viral infection, such as flu, bacterial infection, such as pneumonia, cancer, drugs, etc [43]. Symptoms may last from few days to 2 weeks or more and can include stabbing pain on one or both sides of the chest or upper back that is worse during breathing in, coughing and sneezing [43].

3. Pneumothorax

Pneumothorax–a rupture of the lung membrane that results in the collapse of the lung, usually on one side–can cause sudden knife-like pain on one side of the chest, followed by vague pains around the chest and shoulder blades, worsened by breathing, coughing and moving the arms [44].

4. Coronary Heart Disease and Heart Attack

The risk of coronary heart disease increases in men after 45 and in women after 55 [33]. Typical symptoms include:

  • Sudden, heavy, burning pain behind the breastbone (angina) and shortness of breath aggravated by exercise, stress, cold or heavy meal and relieved by rest or the analgesic nitroglycerin, and lasting for less than 5 minutes
  • The pain can radiate to the neck, jaw, into the left, both or between the shoulder blades or down the inner side of the left arm to the fingers [32].

Pain from a heart attack is similar to angina but much stronger and longer (>15 minutes); in men can radiate to the neck, chin, left shoulder and down the left arm and in women into the neck, chin, both shoulder blades or arms [34].

VI. REFERRED PAIN FROM THE ABDOMINAL ORGANS

Disorders of abdominal organs that irritate the diaphragm–the flat muscle between the chest and abdominal cavity–can cause pain in the left or right shoulder, because the phrenic nerve, which conducts sensory stimuli from the diaphragm, and the nerves that conduct sensory stimuli from the shoulders enter the spinal cord via the same nerve roots, so the brain can wrongly interpret the pain origin [88]. Sometimes, only shoulder pain without abdominal pain is present [5]. Referred shoulder pain is not aggravated by shoulder movements [15].

1. Trapped Gas

In individuals with irritable bowel syndrome or constipation, trapped gas in the part of the colon near the spleen can cause pain on the left side of the upper abdomen, chest and left shoulder (splenic flexure syndrome); the pain is constant, can be severe and can last for several hours [30,80].

After endoscopic investigations, such as laparoscopy (an investigation of the abdominal cavity) or hysteroscopy (investigation of the uterus), some of the gas that has been insufflated into the abdominal cavity during the procedures can get trapped under the diaphragm and cause sharp pain in one or both shoulder blades lasting for few days; laying flat can relieve pain [52,53]. After the colonoscopy, a pain in the left shoulder blade is common [54].

2. Gallbladder Disease

Gallstones with or without acute inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) can cause a “gallbladder attack” or “biliary colic” with [47,48,49]:

  • Sudden, severe pain below the rib cage on the right side persisting from few minutes to several hours, which often appears after eating and can radiate to the right flank or beneath or below the right shoulder blade or to the shoulder tip
  • Other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting or fever

Gallstones in the common bile duct can present with additional symptoms, such as jaundice, pale and smelly stools and dark urine [50].

Biliary dyskinesia–a motility disorder of the biliary tract, either gallbladder dyskinesia or sphincter of Oddi dysfunction–can cause similar pain, which can persist after a gallbladder removal [51].

3. Other Causes of Visceral Pain Due To Irritation of the Diaphragm

Any process in the abdomen or chest that irritates the diaphragm–a flat muscle between the abdomen and thorax–can cause pain on the top of the right shoulder blade [64]:

  • In peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal membrane), pus can collect beneath the diaphragm (subphrenic abscess) and cause severe abdominal pain, tenderness and fever [67].
  • Ruptured ectopic pregnancy with abdominal bleeding can cause a sudden, sharp pain in the lower left or right abdomen [64].
  • A ruptured ovarian cyst can cause lower right or left abdominal pain [68].
  • In endometriosis, abdominal pain can be worse during ovulation and period [17,110].

VII. SHOULDER PAIN

This section describes the conditions that cause pain in the front of the shoulder and upper arm rather than in the shoulder blades.

1. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis and Tear

The rotator cuff is a collective term for the muscles that move the shoulder. Inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons or impingement syndrome is common in sports with overhead arm movements, such as tennis, golf, throwing (“thrower’s shoulder”), swimming (“swimmer’s shoulder”) and in jobs, like painting. A sharp pain in the front of the shoulder and outer side of the upper arm radiating to the hand, and spasm of the shoulder muscles usually develops over the months [96,102]. Pain is aggravated by lifting an arm over the levels of the shoulder [102]. Rotator cuff tear results in similar symptoms; chronic tear can cause a popping sound during moving a shoulder [96,97].

Shoulder overuse can also result in tenosynovitis (inflammation of the tendon sheets) or bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sac called subacromial bursa) with swollen red skin over the tip of the shoulder that is sore and warm to the touch [98,99].

2. Calcific Tendonitis

Calcific tendinitis, a chronic inflammation of rotator cuff tendons of an unknown cause, can cause mild or severe and sharp pain in the shoulder and upper arm that comes and goes, stiffness, catching or snapping in the shoulder [96,100].

3. Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)

Adhesive capsulitis is an inflammation and thickening of the shoulder capsule, which wraps the shoulder joint. Causes include shoulder immobilization, diabetes, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. It can gradually develop in adults over 40 and cause a deep ache in one shoulder and upper arm and severe stiffness with a greatly limited range of motion of the shoulder [107]. The condition usually spontaneously resolves within 1-2 years.

4. Arthritis of the Shoulder Joint

Common types of the shoulder arthritis (inflammation of the shoulder joint) are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis and arthritis in systemic lupus erythematosus and got [95]. Symptoms can include severe pain in the shoulder and entire arm and, sometimes, swelling, warmth and redness of the shoulder and a popping sound when moving the shoulder; pain can become worse by weather change [96,97].

5. Shoulder Sprain, Subluxation and Dislocation

Shoulder sprain means overstretching or rupture of the shoulder joint capsule, which can be caused by falling on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the shoulder or overuse of the shoulder [103]. Symptoms include pain in the shoulder and upper arm, tenderness, shoulder joint instability and swelling or bruising around the shoulder [103]. Shoulder dislocation and subluxation (partial dislocation) can cause similar symptoms.

6. Brachial Neuritis

Brachial neuritis, also called Parsonage-Turner syndrome (PTS), is a rare neurological condition of an uncertain cause, which may include infection, vaccination (flu, tetanus, hepatitis B), surgery or trauma [60,75]. Symptoms include sudden burning pain in the shoulder and upper arm. The pain lasts from a day to several weeks and is usually followed by an abnormal protrusion of the shoulder blade (scapular winging) and weakness, paralysis, tingling or numbness in an arm or hand. Recovery may last from few months to years.

7. Other Causes of Shoulder Pain

Other causes of shoulder pain include thoracic outlet syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica, polymyositis and dermatomyositis, lung cancer and avascular necrosis of the humeral head.

How to treat shoulder blade pain?

Rest

In an early, painful phase of a shoulder or shoulder blade injury, shoulder rest prevents further damage.

Ice Packs

To reduce pain, swelling or bruising, put ice in a plastic bag, wrap it in a cloth and hold over the painful area for up to 20 minutes, several times a day.

Heat Pads

Heat pads can help relieve pain in myofascial pain syndrome due to increased tension of the upper back muscles.

Dry Needling

Dry needling can help in myofascial pain syndrome but the effect is temporary.

Vapocoolant Spray

Vapocoolant spray can reduce the pain in muscle strain or bruise and before myofascial pain release.

A Sling or a Shoulder Brace

A sling prevents the motion of the shoulder blade and shoulder and encourages their healing after a fracture, dislocation, rotator cuff injury or surgery. A doctor can prescribe a shoulder brace in shoulder joint instability and impingement syndrome [108].

Scapular Stretching (Retraction) Exercises

Shoulder blade exercises are intended to relieve pain due to the tension of the upper back muscles or to prevent stiffness of the shoulder joint after injury. Do not exercise immediately after an injury or when you have severe pain.

Drugs

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can be used to relieve mild to moderate pain.
  • Muscle relaxants can help in muscle spasms near the spine caused by a herniated disc.
  • Steroids can be used to treat inflammation in disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica [16], polymyositis [31] and brachial neuritis [60].

Surgery

Surgical treatment may be needed for pinched nerves, broken shoulder blade, calcific tendonitis, adhesive capsulitis and snapping scapula syndrome.

311 thoughts on “Shoulder Blade (Scapula) Pain”

  1. evan kennedy says:

    Hello I don’t know if you can help me or not, but I am 19 and I have very painful back pain like along my right shoulder blade. My arm will go numb or tingly some times as well. This is an every day pain and and most days it’ll get to a point where I have to lay down because it’ll bring me to tears. I have gone to my doctor many times and him and my parents say the same thing its nothing just take some advil. Nothing I can buy even eases the pain, it feels like someone has stabbed a knife into my back and left it. If someone could get back to me I’d really appreciate it !

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Have you fallen on the back, has someone hit you, were you running, cycling or lifting anything with that arm? Any other symptoms than those limited to the shoulder blade and arm?

      It sounds to me it may be a problem with one or more nerves and I suggest you to visit a neurologist who can perform appropriate tests.

      1. evan kennedy says:

        Yes I fell off a roof and landed on my right shoulder when I was 5 and come to think about it I’ve been dealing with this pain ever since then. What kind of test do they perform ? Thanks for getting back to me, sorry for the long reply busy at work

        1. Jen says:

          Hey Evan – I was reading your description of your shoulder pain and I have suffered the exact same pain for many years. When I read your description it was exactly the way I have been describing my pain. I also fell backwards years ago and I remember I had to take a few days off work because of the injury (but the doctor never told me what exactly I had done to my shoulder). Mine hurts every day like you and like you said, no drugs help with the pain. I have been sent to physio for it and that would help a little but they pain always comes back. I just wondered if you ever found anything that helped you?

          1. Jan Modric says:

            Jen, Evan will probably not read this, but I suggest you to arrange an appointment with an orthopedist who can give you exact diagnosis. You might need some investigation, like X-ray. Only when you know what exactly is wrong, you can think about treatment.

      2. Alex Ibarra says:

        hi Jan modric I have pain around my shoulder blade my shoulder my chest and my neck it’s only on my left side its been hurting for 9 months

        1. Jan Modric says:

          Alex, I can’t comment much on this. Pain onset, type of pain (burning, shooting..), pain triggers and relievers…can tell more.

          1. Bev says:

            I 55, have arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, GERD & DegenDiskDisease. 3 weeks ago I had a bout with pleurisy and i felt pain in both scapulas and pain along the spine in between scapulas, pain under breasts and chest pain. Two courses of prednisone to get rid of the pleurisy. Recently saw my GP and told her I still had dull aches from time to time in left scapula and burning down both long muscles in back. She said I had a lot of arthritis in ribs enough to “wing” them and that there was pressure (not impinged) on the spinal nerve. She put me on gabapentin( this is my 2nd day taking it) which is helping with burning, but cant tell
            any difference in the come and go left scapula pain. I notice pain most when lying on couch propped up. Ive enclosed my mri report to see if you notice anything that could cause this.

            L4-5 disc level shows chronic degenerative disc disease with loss of disc
            height and signal intensity. Diffuse disc bulging noted. Mild spinal
            canal stenosis seen. Disc contour shows slight asymmetric disc protrusion
            in the right central region with slight asymmetric flattening of the
            thecal sac. Facet osteoarthropathy which appears severe is noted on the
            right. Moderate right foraminal stenosis seen.

            L3-4 level this shows loss of disc height and signal intensity with
            diffuse disc bulging. Moderate spinal canal stenosis seen. Facet
            osteoarthropathy noted which is more severe on the right.

            L2-3 disc level shows chronic degenerative disc disease with broad disc
            displacement and osteophyte complex. Mild anterior indentation on thecal
            sac seen. Moderate spinal canal stenosis seen. Mild left foraminal
            stenosis seen. Facet osteoarthropathy seen on the left mildly on the
            right.

            L1 to disc level shows loss of disc height and signal intensity with
            circumferential disc displacement bowel bulging and some osteophyte
            complex. Moderate left foraminal stenosis seen. No spinal canal stenosis
            seen.

            T12-L1 disc shows mild bulging without spinal canal stenosis.

            T11-12 disc level shows central small disc herniation without cord
            compression or deviation.

            Scoliosis is noted which is convex left at the L4-5 level and convex right
            upper lumbar region with apex toward the right at L1-2 level.

          2. Jan Modric says:

            Bev, all the nerves mentioned in the MRI report are in the lower back , so even if they were causing nerve impingement, you would feel pain in the lower back or legs and not in the shoulder blade.

            If the pain in the left shoulder blade is new for you and you did not have any injury or heavy physical work in his time, it’s more likely that the pain is from a partly unhealed pleurisy (diagnosis: an ultrasound or X-ray) or from the increased tension in the muscles (diagnosis: physical examination for myofascial pain syndrome http://www.ehealthstar.com/conditions/myofascial-pain-syndrome) rather than from a pinched nerve. To confirm a pinched nerve that causes pain in the shoulder blade you would need to have an MRI of the cervical and/or thoracic spine, but I would discuss about pleurisy and muscles with a doctor before having MRI.

        2. Carol says:

          I’m a 54 year old woman, this past Jan. I woke up one morning and felt like a semi ran over me! My whole upper body was in excruciating pain and I felt very larthgic. Not being a big fan of traditional health care, I visited Holistic/ Naturopathic Dr. they ran several test, found out I was allergic (highly) to Dairy and Egg. I’ve been Dairy and Egg free plus GF ( by choice) for almost 9 months now. They had indicated that it could possibly be Fibromyalgia, that it would help if I changed my eating lifestyle so I did! I’m still having terrible pain in my left shoulder blade and upper part of left arm, sometimes my left collarbone is extremely painful as well. The pain is constant and at its worse in the AM and PM. Can you please tell me if this is normal for Fibromyalgia?
          They also put me on some vitiams t control my neurotransmitter and Adreanal, I’ve just recently started on the vitiam but my shoulder is very concerning. Thank You

          1. Jan Modric says:

            Carol, your shoulder pain sounds much more like a muscular or neurologic condition than allergy or vitamin deficiency. An orthopedist or neurologist can give you a diagnosis.

            Symptoms of egg and dairy allergies include itch in and around the mouth, hives, nausea and diarrhea after eating; symptoms you’ve described are not typical for allergy, but if you still think you are allergic to some food you would need to have blood and skin tests done by an allergologist to confirm that.

            To diagnose fibromyalgia, a doctor would need to identify “tender points” on the typical sites of the body (check above in the article). While changing a diet can help in various health conditions, it is not cure-for-all. The pain you have described does not sound typical for fibromyalgia to me.

            In most cases, you need vitamin and minerals supplements when you have a mineral or vitamin deficiency.

        3. Greg Gardner says:

          I have had a terrible pain right inside of my shoulder blade on one side or the other that comes and goes every fall. It is a constant pain with knotted muscles and sometimes numbness and tingling down the arm on the affected side. I have been to chiropractors, massage therapists, had steroid injections, physical therapy, etc. and nothing helped. I read the other day that inhaling some types of mold spores can cause muscle aches and cramps and then it dawned on me. My pain would come on every fall and eventually go away before spring on its own. Well, in the back of my closet, where my hunting clothes are–that I put on every fall for hunting season–there has been some mold in the corner for several years. (It wasn’t getting any worse and I have been too lazy to figure out where it was coming from and do something about it). So I believe that every fall when I get back in the corner where the mold is and get my clothes out I breathe in the mold spores that have built up on them since last fall and here comes the muscle pain. Usually I bow hunt which starts in August and that’s about the time my pain starts and I always thought maybe it was from pulling my bow back, but this year I didn’t bow hunt but hunted later and the pain didn’t start until later this year so I’m pretty sure it is the mold. So if you have muscle pain in your shoulders, check for mold in your house.

      3. REPLY
        Wesley Arnold says:
        February 12, 2017 at 5:56 pm
        Hello Jan, about an hour ago I was pushing a 150 box into a vehicle. I heard a sudden pop and immediate Pain under armpit running to my pec muscle. I have slight numbness in my 4th and 5th digits . If I flex my chest the pain is very severe from the area I stated. Unable to push my right arm at all. Just texting this message is increasing the pain. Also I’m right handed which is not good at all. I would extremely value your information and help as what to do. I current have taken Neurontin , Ibuprofen and Tizanadine that I had from and old injury. Also have ice pack on the area. What should I do?

        REPLY

        1. Jan Modric says:

          Go to the doctor as soon as possible. I can’t say what happened, but numbness in the fingers speak for a nerve involvement. Pain during bending could be from a strained/ruptured muscle.

    2. Hunter says:

      I know your post is a year old, but I experienced the same thing. My right arm went numb, all the way down my thumb. I found bike riding excruciatingly painful. Standing at a concert looking up at the stage was agony. I told a friend who is an RN that I thought I had a pinched nerve. She said she’d bet me $100 it was how I was sitting at my desk, hunched over the keyboard for hours (with my legs often crossed). I improved my posture, then got a stand-up desk. The pain, tingling and numbmess went away completely in a couple of months. I bought my nurse friend some fancy dinners to pay my debt to her.

    3. Julie says:

      Hi Evan You may wish to go see a Chiropractor, they are health professionals trained in dealing with neurological, musculoskeletal conditions.
      kind regards J

    4. Joseph Pooler says:

      :,:Hey dude you have to have a MRI done on your neck and thoracic area, you probably have a pinched nerve you are to young for surgery, but have that checked man good luck I’m out, joseywales!!!!!!!

    5. A says:

      What was it?

    6. Dave says:

      Thoracic outlet syndrome. Look for evidence of a elongated cervical rib from a x ray.

    7. Nancy Hayes says:

      I have had similar pain along and sometimes in between the shoulder blades. The best treatment I’ve found is Physical Therapy with a very experienced Therapist, and after they work out the pain, go on-line and buy a soft roller to roll your mid-upper back. Also something else that is helpful is to buy icepacks and ice your middle spine. I lay on ice pacs to help with the pain.

      My Physical Therapist has a Masters Degree and has worked at In-Patient Intensive Physical Therapy Programs with patients that who have had spine surgery, been in severe car accident, etc. Ask for someone who is experienced with Spinal Surgery patients to find someone who is good.

      I have gone to many average Physical Therapists before and got little relief. Instead of exercises, which many PTs will start you on, you need deep massage. After the pain has subsided, don’t lean forward for long periods while driving, on the computer, etc. Sit back in your chair, bring your chair close to the computer, and keep your arms and hands as low as possible. When driving hold the steering wheel low, gripping the steering wheel with your palms facing up, so you aren’t elevating your arms – like the 10-2 o’clock position we are trained to do. I have many trouble areas in my Cervical and Thoracic Spine and all of these help both. When grocery shopping only use the smaller carts and keep your arms low when you grip the handle. Try to avoid doing any heavy lifting and do as little arm elevating as possible.

    8. bontle says:

      Hello dear. .im also suffering from pain below shoulder blade ..my advise go for a proper check up like x rays and blood test

    9. Dawn Ford says:

      See a chiropractor

    10. Loretta grace says:

      Hi Evan
      I know its been a while from your post … I am a very active 41 year old female
      surfer and “worker outer” ! so I USED TO lift small weights kettle bells sand bags extra
      I broke my shoulder surfing 2 YEARS ago didnt go to the dr had tendinitis in my shoulder
      and sprained my neck …. ( old whiplash etc… injuries in the neck ) 5 months later got an mri which confirmed the broken shoulder and some pinched nerves in my neck
      I have the same pain as you are explaining it is a knife that no one can relive I have tried everything from a natural healer 1 year of PT everything and anything !!!
      I am now scheduled for an epidural nerve bloc in my neck I fear there is more to it …. serrates anterior muscle pain as well as possible Accessory nerve entrapment
      I have pain and tingling and burning as well all the way to my fingers
      I have tried for 2 years to get better still a long road ahead
      hoping that you have found some kind of relief especially at your age !
      thanks for posting
      loretta

    11. Dan deezy says:

      Go to a chiropractor and get yourself sorted out.

    12. maria says:

      hello.i do have the same problem as you…and i do not know what to do..the doctor said its nothing but the pain still come and goes.it has been over a year now.and i am 18 years old now.

  2. Chea Brown says:

    I am 34, have had back pain for years, but the last week the pain is so intense, it burns all the way down my spine, sharp pains, an constent muscle pain. Even when I sleep an wake up. It gets worse throughout the day, by the end of the day I can barely walk. Yesterday it started tingling an feels numb. Its mainly always upper part of my back next to my right shoulder blade and under it. Likes its twisted. When I sleep I feel my hand go numb a lot. I’ve had xrays before, and take motrin 800, but the pain never goes away. What could this be? Also now my nerves in my nek and sciatic have been acting up. Starting to get scared an doctors seem not to help me.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Pain around the spine and shoulder blade in combination with numbness/tingling in the limbs usually arises from pinched spinal nerves. Common causes include degenerative disc disease (bulging or herniated discs) and spinal arthritis. An orthopedist or neurologist can make a diagnosis and suggest proper treatment, a general practitioner can not do much. For exact diagnosis, MRI is usually needed.

  3. Kyle says:

    I often have back pain, but over the last week I have been getting pain in my left shoulder blade. It is only painful when I stand up though (and occasionally when sitting). What are possible causes of this and should it go away over time?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Hard to say with so little description. In young and otherwise healthy people, in most cases, shoulder blade pain arises from the upper back muscles.

    2. Ruby says:

      It could be angina or early heart attack symptom…do you have shortness of breath?

      1. Jan Modric says:

        Angina or heart attack at 18 year old former competitive swimmer is very unlikely.

    3. Andrew says:

      I’ve had continuous pain under my left shoulder blade for the past 5 years, it ranges from a dull ache to very painful like a knife being inserted, but no-one could fix it.
      Recently I came across this website that said if you had rounded shoulder it can lift the bottom of the shoulder blade so that the blade doesn’t move properly causing pain/irritation under the shoulder blade. Since then I’ve consciously pulled back my shoulders to give myself better posture, not just when working at the computer, but also when walking around doing stuff. The pain is now gradually subsiding…

      1. Phil says:

        this sounds very similar to the pain i’m experiencing. Mine is in the same spot…..and only when i’m laying on my back. the pain is so bad it actually hurts my chest. I have had this for 4 years……which affects my sleep greatly. i constantly have to turn…..lay on my side for the pain to go away. Does this sound like the same issue you experienced?

  4. Emmy says:

    I have a condition in which mostly when I lay down, am sitting, or have been standing for a long period of time, the area around my rhomboid minor (between my shoulder blade and upper thoracic vertebrae) pops when I breathe in deeply. I also have a lot of muscle tightness in the same area all around that side of my scapula up into my neck and right shoulder. Heightened before the popping, and quite often when I’m at rest there’s dull pain in that rhomboid area. I played tennis in high school, but I’m only 20 years old and this started happening around a year ago. I’ve been to 2 different chiropractors and neither has helped. Any ideas what this may be?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      You can read about “snapping scapula syndrome” above in the article. An orthopedist or a sport doctor should be familiar with the condition.

  5. Mahi says:

    I am 22 female. Over the past 10 months I am facing a strange condition. I hear a popping sound on my left upper back on moving my left arm. I can hear this sound while I bring my left arm close to my body forcefully. Initally I had severe neck pain so that I was unable to read books. Sometimes when I do this, it causes pain to my chest.(Is it something related to heart?….Sorry to ask this. But I am really worried.) I feel that the sound is like something is rubbing on my left shoulder blade. Another thing I noticed is that my left back is seen little bit bulged out.I occassionally feel pain in my left hand also(especially on my little finger and ring finger) I went to many doctors. One of the doctors said that it might be fibromyalgia. He suggested me physio therapy. But it didn’t work. I took xray of my chest. But no abnormalities were found. Could you please help me understand what it might be.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      One possible cause is snapping scapula syndrome (read above in the article) and, to me, it does not sound to be heart related. An orthopedist or a sport doctor should be familiar with the condition. X-ray may show nothing, because the bulge (probably from the shoulder blade) occurs only when you do certain movements with the arm.

  6. Leia says:

    Hi, the pain I have been experiencing starting Friday, began with the feeling of a knot behind my left shoulder blade then to one behind my right shoulder blade as well. The knots ache and burn sometimes. Now I am having hip pain on both sides. It feels like a heavy pressure that runs from my hip bones in my back (near kidney area) all the way down the back of my thighs to the back of my knees. And now…both arms from the knot areas down to my fingertips are tingling. Seems to be a pinched nerve maybe?? When I roll my head stretching my neck I can feel it pull at the knots in my shoulder blades. any thoughts??

    1. Jan Modric says:

      My first thought was myofascial pain syndrome (read above in the article). Next, it could be fibromyalgia or spinal arthritis with pinched nerves. An orthopedist should be able to make a proper diagnosis.

  7. Jessica says:

    I am having pain in my right shoulder blade it feels like tightness, pressure, sometimes sharp while breathing. I find it worse when taking deep breaths. It feels like right under right shoulder blade and a little bit to the left of right shoulder blade… Please help

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Pleurisy, usually from a lung infection, or rarely, from spontaneous pneumothorax, can cause pain that is worse by deep breathing. Another possibility is muscle strain due to exercise, carrying heavy loads or injury. If the pain persists, I suggest you to visit a doctor.

  8. nicole says:

    hi been having issues for at least 5 years no with my right shoulder. seen a chiro for a bit too. I believe it started when i was pushing up a gate in the mall to lock the store for the night. sometimes it use to get so bad that i had to go see the chiro it was unbearable. it also hurts if i push on my right shoulder blade in the front and my shoulder always “clicks” when I’m doing my workouts now. its sore and numb lots all the way down to fingers too. i don’t have as good of range of motion doing my workouts too i notice…always a bit sore. I am also a makeup artist so use my right hand for that so i always thought it had something to do with that but I’m sure when i pushed to up to lock that gate that it all started then. who should i try to get in to see?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Nicole, pain and numbness down to the fingers speak for a nerve problem, so it may be a neurologist that can give you a diagnosis. Two possibilities, among other, are “thoracic outlet syndrome” (a compression of the nerves that run into the arm at the level of the clavicle or armpit), and bulging/herniated disc in the cervical spine. Another possibility is a “shoulder joint subluxation” (read above in the article), because you mentioned the clicking. An orthopedist should be able to diagnose this, but some sort of imaging may be required (X-ray, MRI…). You can write down all your symptoms in chronological order in details (the side of the arm and palm with numbness, pain triggers, relievers, etc.) and maybe first see an orthopedist.

  9. Katie Kelly says:

    Hi I’m 19 years old and I woke up today with a pain in my right shoulder blade. It gets worse when I take deep breathes or bend down. Also when I extend my left arm it sends a shooting pain to it and has been hurting for hours nonstop now. Any suggestions?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Pain in the shoulder blade are triggered by changes in the body position are usually caused by muscle strains, entrapped spinal nerves or bone fractures – the latest are usually caused only by obvious trauma.

      You can read about serratus anterior muscle above in the article. This muscle can be overstretched by repeated lifting of heavy loads with an extended arm or by repeated sprints, for example.

      Pain during deep breathing can be also caused by pleurisy. The most common cause is a viral infection. A rare but possible cause is spontaneous pneumothorax.

  10. beck says:

    After a chiro visit I got severe pain from a point on my spine beteen shoulder blades that radiated to under my right scapula & finding comfort was difficult, I felt like I had something stabbing through me. I found a new chiro who discovered my rib was out, one pop and was better. The pain came back, less severe, but now my itchy scapula became numb to touch & I started to get pins and needles throughout the whole area. Massage therapist noticed I was beginning to get frozen shoulder. At times I had tingling in thumb, pinky, & ring finger on right hand also. I just had an MRI & was told I just need to seek pain management. Acupuncture is working but im sick of paying for false hopes with MDs. What advice is there? Should I seek more help or stick with just acupuncture as thats been my only relief?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Tingling and numbness that radiates to fingers is obviously caused by the nerve entrapment. One possible cause is a “cervical rib” …you can also search for the “thoracic outlet syndrome” but other causes are possible. Yes, I strongly suggest you to see a doctor, but it should be a neurologist or orthopedist, not a chiropractor. If the nerve is entrapped, acupuncture or some muscle/joint manipulation will not be enough.

  11. Maz says:

    Thankyou for the information above, I had breast implants and when I got up from the operation table I felt a knife pain in my left shoulder blade I fel to the ground, this pain took my breath away. Weeks later I felt breathless I went to hospital.. Years passed with constant spasming and jabbing pain in the left shoulder blade, till one day I felt a pull in that area, since this happen I can not take a deep breath.. I took my implants out but now I am left with this pain and I can’t breathe properly.. I am so scared for my life as I can not live like this, I had a MRI but I am looking to do more test. I also have pins and needles down my left Arm and burning pain in the left shoulder blade? Any advice please ? Thankyou so much ..

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Pins and needles in the arm and burning in the shoulder blade may originate from a damaged nerve; either the brachial plexus or one of the intercostal nerves may be involved.

  12. Maz says:

    Could you recommend test that I could do, I am looking to do an emg? I want to fix myself…

    1. Jan Modric says:

      A neurologist should be able to tell more and perform appropriate tests (for xample, nerve conduction test, EMG…)

  13. Fran says:

    Hello In the last week I have pain in both shoulder blades and it’s mostly affected when I’m laying down on my back and I’m sleeping at night. Over the course of the last year I have had slightly elevated pancreas enzymes. I have been seeing a G.I. and because the levels are not triple and I don’t have severe pain with other symptoms she has not diagnosed me with pancreatitis. I had a CAT done about 9 months ago and everything was fine I have had a little bit of pain in the left side but my G.I. feels that it is an ulcer. I was also recently diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis but my liver enzymes have been normal. Since the pain is in both shoulder blades and I have had tingling in my arms and hands it would lead me to believe this is more or less a nerve/muscle issue than anything else. Any thoughts? Thank you

    1. Jan Modric says:

      I agree, tingling in arms/hands speak more for a nerve or muscle issue than for abdominal problems, which by themselves do not cause tingling. Pancreatitis, hepatitis or gastric ulcer can cause pain between the shoulder blades or in one, usually right shoulder blade, and less likely in both shoulder blades.

  14. Kay says:

    Hello, I have been suffering from a aching, burning pain underneath my left scapula area for years. The thoracic and chest MRIs do not show anything in that area, but a one inch protrusion (supposibly not lipoma) on the left side. Always in pain and discomfort even with meds, acupuncture, trigger point injections, epidurals, stretching, etc. I just need to know what’s going on with me.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      A doctor can better understand your problem if you describe your pain as detailed as possibly:
      1. Are you physically very active or what is your predominant body position?
      2. Where exactly is the pain?
      3. Is the area tender to touch?
      4. What are pain triggers: moving the left arm in a certain way, bending the neck in a certain direction, carrying a bag or lifting it with an extended arm?
      5. Is the pain present at rest or only during sitting, moving, at night?

      They are usually orthopedists and neurologists that can help in shoulder blade pain.

  15. Beau says:

    Hi
    Please advise.

    I am suffering severe right shoulder pain which has worsened over the past 3 years to the point where I am in constant debilitating pain.
    It started as an occasional painful flare deep inside the shoulder joint which gradually increased. After 6months of pain and 2 cortisone injections my doctor referred me for Physio, for a further 6 months. This did nothing to help and I was then sent for an ultrasound where calcium deposits were seen and possible tendonitis (bear in mind this was the first scan referral after 12months of increasing pain), I was then referred to an Ortho (?) consultant who ordered an X-ray and diagnosed bone spurs, he recommended keyhole surgery to remove which took a further 4 months on a waiting list, followed up by a further 6 months of Physio.
    None of this has helped and now the pain is worse than ever and has spread to my upper arm, fore arm and hand, my right shoulder blade and right clavicle, I am now beginning to feel pain in my left shoulder blade and left arm joints. It’s so severe on my right side that no OCD touch it and it is debilitating. I feel nauseous much of the time and as a migraine sufferer and a reflux sufferer I am familiar with pain and bouts if nausea, but this is constant and worse.
    I also had a cardiac stent fitted for a PFO closure (suspected TIA) nearly 8 years ago which had a positive impact on my overall health and as so far has not caused me any serious problems since.
    However with this increasing pain on my right side I’m worried that they’ve missed something more serious here and am frustrated by the lack of action from the doctors.

    Should I be worried? Should I be pushing for fast track investigation? My doctors practice make you feel like a hypochondriac and are very slow to react, I suspect because they can’t exceed their budgets and every referral costs them money!!!

    Any advice?

    Yours desperately !
    Ps I’m 44yrs old white female non-smoker non-drinker and up until the pain got so severe was fairly fit and active.

  16. Beau says:

    Just to add that the ASD surgery to reduce the bone spur was a year ago now.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      First, your orthopedist should give you exact diagnosis, for example, calcific tendonitis, or whatever your actual diagnosis is. A neurologist can give you a diagnosis of pain in the clavicle, arm and hand, which may be from the damage of the brachial plexus, for example. So, you need exact, full name diagnosis (or more of them), which is the basis for treatment.

      1. Beau says:

        Thank you Jan. I’ve managed to get a referral back to the Orthopedic surgeon so will have a better idea of the actual diagnosis in the next week,…. Hopefully!

  17. LouLou says:

    I have been experiencing a lot of pain above my left shoulder blade for years. About two years ago, it started up in my right side also. Over the time I’ve had chiro, physio, dry needling and have done exercises..all to no avail. Most of the time the pain is achy and is very tender when touched or pushed. I sometimes get a stinging pain which is the worst and I feel nauseous when I get that. Occasionally I hear a popping sound when I bring my arm down or to the side while doing something. One night I had numbness down my right forearm. Nothing has worked to alleviate the pain and I’m hoping you can steer me in the right direction.

  18. LouLou says:

    Side note – the pain isn’t on top of my shoulder blades actually..it’s more towards the back on my shoulder blades if that makes sense.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      LouLou, to me, it sounds like one or both of your shoulder blades have became misaligned from some reason (excessive shoulder muscles use, bad posture, a lot of sitting work..). You may need to see an orthopedist who can order MRI or other test and give you exact diagnosis. Numbness going down to forearm speaks for the nerve involvement. Again, you need to see a specialist, physiotherapy alone might not work when you even don’t know what exactly is wrong. You can also search for “pop” in the article above to get ideas of the possible causes.

  19. Amanda says:

    Hi, im 27 yr old female and have had a car wreck sept 14, we rolled it a few times. Since then im having increasing pain under my right shoulder blade . It wraps around to my ribs. Very painful and always hits me in my sleep. Ibprophen takes so me edge off bit not much. I can’t sit , stand or lie down when this happens. I have tried everything an it seems to be getting worse. Please any advice. Also I have a 1 yr old that im always carrying or holding so im not sure what the Cause of this is.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Amanda, a possible cause for pain that travels around the chest is a compression of one of the spinal nerves, either at the point where the nerve leaves the spinal cord (due to a bulging or herniated disc or other spinal injury) or at some other point. I strongly suggest you to visit a neurologist to get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment and to avoid further nerve damage that might occur with time.

  20. Steve says:

    32 year old female, persistent right shoulder pain for nine years. Initial injury incurred while doing an obstacle course while in the military. Injury initially addressed with small amount of narcotic pain medicine to alleviate symptoms. Then, deployed. Job was flying. I flew for nine of the eleven years. On top of flying, regular soldier responsibilities were expected (ruck marches with 50 pound bags, long distance running, push-ups, sit-ups, etc). Flew up to 9 hours a day with 70 pounds of body armor as a vest, also with helmet and at night an extra 7 pounds for night vision. Neck and shoulder issues persisted. Upon resignation, was granted VA disability for cervical spondylitic changes, disc degeneration and disc bulge, chronic right shoulder strain and mild carpal tunnel in right wrist. It has been 4 years since I have been out. Finally got to an orthopedic surgeon (after several years of physical therapy and multiple injections – general practitioner believed it to be bursitis) who diagnosed as posterior capsule contracture. Ortho referred me to a neurosurgeon (ortho felt the numbing, pins and needles, burning pain down my arm were due to nerve issues…as do the physical therapist and chiropractor) who said the sharp stabbing pain on right side of neck, stabbing pain in shoulder blade, pins and needles down to my fingertips and general weakness in my right arm is not because of the disc bulge or spondylitic changes. Round 4 of physical therapy for shoulder. I see a chiropractor as well. One suggested thoracic outlet syndrome. I have MRI images of shoulder, cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. I am at a loss. I keep fighting for some resolution. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Steve, numbness, pins and needles and burning down to fingertips are probably from a pinched nerve and yes, thoracic outlet syndrome could be one possible cause. It is a neurologist/neurosurgeon who should be able to make this diagnosis by using specific investigations. Despite your neurosurgeon saying the bulging disc is not the cause, I would not rule that totally out. A small bulge can cause a lot of problems and a large one can cause none. If the bulge is not even close to the nerve, it’s probably not the cause…Carpal tunnel syndrome also can involve tingling going down to the fingers but also up to the forearm.
      Shoulder capsule issues can cause pain down the upper arm but less likely all the way to the fingers.
      When nothing other helps, surgery can be tried; it’s usually effective for bulging discs and often effective in thoracic outlet syndrome. The shoulder capsule might then still need separate treatment. So, you can first try to get a reliable and exact diagnosis of your nerve problems and discuss if surgery is an option.

  21. Mary Trevino says:

    Hi there! I’m 18 years old at the time and having really odd back problems that don’t make sense to me. It started with flashes of numbness in my body, primarily my chin and right arm, and pain between the shoulders a few weeks back. It worsened to severe knots in my right shoulder, rib pain, and an odd tugging on my right scapula. I went to a chiropractor this week. He said this: my right scalene muscles have shortened. This caused horrendous knots in my right shoulder, and something with my ribs and vertebrae. However, he was very vague and didn’t give me any diagnoses. Also, he pretty much ignored my numbness which has persisted. The knots are gone, which is great, but I now have a greater tugging on the inferior medial border of my scapula and the pain only returns with activity. Any thoughts? Not sure what to do. If it helps at all, I am a former competitive swimmer and have had severe subluxation in my right shoulder all my life. I have had no accidents to instigate this, and I work at a fast food joint in which I’ve gone home with upper back pain the majority of my long shifts but have always just ignored it. Beginning to wonder if I need to leave the food service before my symptoms clear up. My chiro also said I seemed to be predisposed to these anyways.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Mary, I believe you need to see an orthopedist or neurologist and get an exact diagnosis. Numbness in the chin and down the arm certainly speak for the nerve involvement. Your current job may cause myofascial pain syndrome (here: http://www.ehealthstar.com/shoulder-blade-pain.php#myofascial) – muscle knots speak for this. The physical strain and eventual psychological tension can both add to it – in this case it can help to get some time off the job. Numbness in caused by something other than myofascial pain syndrome, though – probably due to a pressure on the nerve at some point (neck spine or clavicle…).

  22. yesenia says:

    Hi im 24years old my shoulder blade hurts an under also my ribs an my chest also hurst i also get tingles on my hands an my arms feel like a lil burning sensation. Sometimes an when i bend foward my back hurts so bad an my left side is starting to do the same what coyld it be i also get headache that dont go away an when i lean on my right side i cringe because it hurts too much helpp!#

    1. Jan Modric says:

      yesenia, a general doctor can perform a physical examination and see if you have a problem with nerves, muscles, spine, heart or something other.

  23. Verónica says:

    I have this sharp stabbing/shooting pain in my back on the right side by my shoulder blade. It was a sudden onset and I don’t know what caused it. Its made worse by taking a deep breath and it really feels like if I apply enough pressure it will crack and go away. I have no idea what it could be. Also tilting my head back makes it worse. Any ideas?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      The first possibility that comes to my mind is wry neck (torticollis), which can occur after sleeping with a head in a certain position, a quick head move, carrying a bag or backpack, prolonged computer work or so — in this case, the pain should fade away on its own in a reasonable time…but if not, and if tingling/numbness in the arm appears, you may want to visit an orthopedist.

    2. Diane says:

      Did you ever find out what was causing your right shoulder pain? My sister has been hurting in her right shoulder blade area and neck for two years and the doctors don’t know why.

  24. Mel S says:

    Hi, 42yr old female that’s had acute, burning and constant pain between my right shoulder blade for 5 weeks now. In particular, that areas around from the bottom of the neck to the bottom of the shoulder blade – and then in, under and around the shoulder blade. Apparently the muscles next to the spine is extremely tight. The pain increases as I stretch my left ear to my left shoulder or chin to right shoulder.

    I have ad no recent injuries however, this pain has only come about since I my lower left back pain was healed by a man that practices the electric shock technique ie. he twangs your tendons (I’m sorry I don’t know the name of this practice but it fixed my 2yr old lower back issue). Also to note, I have, in the past (2yrs ago), landed most of my body weight onto my left shoulder in a sporting accident resulting in my neck being injured. I’ve been told my neck muscles are extremely tight.

    I do NOT have any tingling or numbing down my arm.

    I have had and am still having physio, doing neck strengthening exercises and stopped doing pilates. I tried my tendon twanging guy (once) but that hasn’t helped. Physio has tried dry needling (once) and shock wave treatment (once).

    I have booked a Dr’s appointment to get a referral for a scan to see if it’s a bulging disc.

    The pain is still as acute and uncomfortable as ever – sometimes it feels worse – like today.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Pain triggered by head movements are usually due to nerve or muscle problems. Whiplash is very likely associated with your pain. Tingling/numbness down the arm would be from a neck spine injury, but an upper back spine injury or bulging disc can cause pain in the shoulder blade area. My initial feeling was that your pain arises from the muscles around the spine (myofascial pain syndrome), but I can’t by no means exclude nerve pain. I think an orthopedist would be the most appropriate doctor to see.

  25. dena burch says:

    Hi i I was n a accident back n January of this year.I hurt my neck and lower back; bn gon to a chircorprac for several months now.im now have pain n my right shoulder alone the bone sore to the touch and very painful.I also have wat looks like a rash broke out own my upper right arm and the right side of my chest.it Itch’s like crazy(.I’m start to worry ).Could it b something serious.the rash r bumps don’t seem to go away.its been like this now few week.NY advise?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      I can’t say for sure, but the rash may be from herpes zoster (shingles). Ask your doctor for a diagnosis; if confirmed, treatment may include an antiviral ointment. For the bone/muscle injury, you may want to visit an orthopedist rather than a chiropractic, to get a proper diagnosis first.

  26. Jayantha says:

    Hi I have a back pain just below the right shoulder blade, tender to touch and hurts when twisting my upper body. Please help

    1. Jan Modric says:

      It could be muscle strain – in this case you should recall a physical event that caused it (swimming, sprinting, reaching for an object on the high shelf, repeatedly lifting heavy objects with an extended right arm…) and maybe see some mild swelling. If not sure, please visit a doctor. In general, shoulder blade pain that originates from the internal organs (heart, gallbladder…) is not aggravated by touch.

  27. gautham says:

    i am 40 age, i have pain for RIGHT SHOULDER

  28. Mona says:

    Hi,

    I had allergies and problems with my sinus this spring. It eventually morphed into bronchitis and I was on puffers and antibiotics in July. There was still a bit of wheezing so now I have an asthma puffer to use as needed. Now in the last couple of days I have noticed temporary pressure behind my breast bone a couple of times (asthma puffer does not help for this) and I have a dull ache around the bottom of my left shoulder blade. Any thoughts?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Mona, I suggest you to visit your doctor who can listen your lungs by the stethoscope and tell if you need to do something.

  29. Lina Cedillo says:

    What kind of doctor should i visit for upper right shoulder blade pain? I went to two different physicians and they both said it was stress/anxiety and i was given xanax, lexapro and zoloft. They help a little but i can still feel the warm sharm pain. Any suggestions?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Lina, you would need to tell more symptoms: how the pain is affected by moving your arms, neck or torso, by breathing, sleeping….when it started, is it constant and is the shoulder blade area tender to touch or not?

      Roughly, when the pain is affected by moving, it is usually of muscular or neurological origin (an orthopedist can deal with this), and when it is not, it can be a referred pain from the internal organs,like gallbladder or pancreas (gastroenterologist could help).

  30. Ray says:

    Hello, I am wondering if anyone has ever overcome snapping scapula syndrome because I have had this problem for over 10 years and it has caused havoc in my life. It first started when I was doing gym work at home, I was doing my usual workout and ended on seated row. The next morning I woke up and discovered a small lump on the top of my left shoulder and it was very painful to touch. At around this same time I started to develop this snapping scapula syndrome. Also at the start the lump was soft to touch but over time it hardened and I eventually had surgery to have the lump removed. I thought this would atleast alleviate the pain in my shoulder joint which at this point also makes a clicking noise but the pain and clicking is still there to this day. Because I have had snapping scapula syndrome for so long now my right side of my body has compensated for the weakness and gradually become stressed to the point where the trapezius muscle is always tense and painful and I have recently had an ultrasound that has seen my right shoulder to have a tear to the supraspinatus tendon. I have been doing exercises that my osteopath has given me but I have not seen much improvement. At this point I am at a loss and am so tired of waking up with intense trapezius pain everyday. Can anyone tell me if they have had success with the improvement of there snapping scapula syndrome. If so I would be so grateful to hear it.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Ray, I recommend you to visit an orthopedist, who may eventually order some investigation or tell you which exercises to do.

  31. Desiree says:

    Hi, I’m a 19 yr old female, I’ve been having shoulder problems since around April this year. I’ve been to the doctor once over this and have been doing physical therapy exercises. I have a lot of anxiety, and both my shoulder blades pop. They think I have Sick Scapula. My left arm has pins &a needles sensation, also burning and it goes from the left blade all down to my fingers. Also my left breast will hurt as well. Not sure if I need to go back to doctor or not. I think back in April I strained it, not sure if maybe it’s something to do with my nerves, I also suffer from occur migraines not sure if it’s related or not.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Strained muscles around the shoulder blades should heal completely in few weeks if there is no repetitive injury. Tingling down the arm might be related to migraine (if it occurs before headache), but it also occurs in sick scapula. Before any treatment you may want to get a reliable diagnosis, probably from an orthopedist.

    2. Sam says:

      I too have started with chest and shoulder pain I today went to a and e they did ecg blood pressure oxygen levels said my heart was fine but I’m still worried of what it could be

      1. Jan Modric says:

        Sam, more symptoms, exact locations, when it started, what are pain triggers and relievers…would be needed to comment this.

  32. Stacey says:

    Client is complaining that she has pulled the back of her left shoulder blade and its really sore. I have seen this Client in the past for Frozen Shoulder on the left side. It has taken 18mths to heal, but now this is something new and on the left side too. she is a school teacher.

    I am a Remedial Therapist but not sure whether I will be able to help. Subscapularis, Serratus , Rhomboids and Rotator Cuff muscles might be something to look at. Your views on this. Thanks for your time

    1. Jan Modric says:

      An orthopedist can find out is it a strained or ruptured muscle, for example. Strained muscle would heal in few weeks with some rest, but ruptured muscle would need longer to heal. If it is frozen shoulder again, it could probably last for long time again. I would recommend her to visit an orthopedist, who can give her a diagnosis.

  33. Cosette says:

    Hi, I’m 39 yr old mother. Have endured pain just to left of right shoulder blade for a week. Prior to onset, carried my 4 year old (37 pounds) on left side and my handbag (onknown weight) on right side for a week of visiting sites with visiting family. Stiffness is worse in the morning – pain goes up neck. I’ve been doing yoga, pilates, stuff like that with my daughter in the evenings trying to work it out. Finally found what hurts or pulls the most is if I hold a weight in my arm while standing with arm straight down on side of leg or back of leg. Thought it might be adult torticollis – my daughter experienced this last month after a fever – but it’s been a week… self-massage and heat and ibuprofen have helped, but I’d love to be back to myself. Does not hurt to breathe and has not interfered with my ability to complete household chores – just tricky to turn head while driving and my kids have learned to let me take naps.

    Reading above, it sounds like I need to be in touch with an orthopedist – is this right?

    Thanks!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      It sounds like stretched tendons or muscles – in this case it should heal on its own, but rather to have various exercise try to avoid using the affected arm and not holding or carrying heavy things.

  34. Sereniti says:

    So over the last few weeks at work I’ve been experiencing this weird burning sensation in my left shoulder blade area. It only started at work, and for the longest I was convinced it was unformed acne or some sort of skin reaction to something at work.
    But last week at work it went from just the burning to sharp pain originating from the ‘burning’ spot up into my neck and down just above my lower back. I couldn’t lift food trays that weren’t directly in front of me, lift heavy objects or lift my arms above my head without wanting to cry. Sitting/laying down helped relax, but standing and walking aggravated it. After two days and a inconclusive hospital trip, the sharp pain went away. But after my next day at work the burning pain started up again and is now aost constant, even at home. There’s no rash, but even my skin is sensitive to the touch. I switched shampoos and body washes, just to make sure it wasn’t some strange rash.

    Anyone have any ideas?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      If it were just some skin condition, it probably wouldn’t be affected by lifting arms…I was thinking it could be shingles, in which the pain can appear few weeks before rash, but the pain would go horizontally around the chest. Burning pain is more likely neurological than muscular…I don’t know. If the pain persist, you can go to a doctor again.

  35. Sb says:

    Hello,

    Not sure if this can be answered here, but was hopeful someone could shed some light.

    For the past 3 months I have had progressively worsening underarm pain. The pain started on the right side, now has started on the left as well. It is a dull ache that resembles lymph node pain. My pcp has not been able to feel any enlargement, but it is very sore in the general area of the underarm lymph node areas. My arms feel heavy and resently I have started feeling tingles and pain in my forearm and fingers on the left side (sometimes on the right as well). The pain feels slightly better while laying down flat on my back, with the exception of pain in the upper back of my arms/sides (i can not lay on my side- too painful). No movement makes it feel worst or better (arms overhead, neck bent etc.). I just had a mammogram and axillary ultrasound, both were normal. I have been taking mortin 800mg around the clock and still get uncomfortable break through pain on a daily basis.

    Any suggestions for additional testing, or diagnosis? Radiologist thought it could be muscular, my pcp has no idea now that mammo/us is normal (also normal cbc). Is there a diagnosis that would incorporate the underarm pain in the lymph node areas that relates to the musculoskeletal system?

    Also, i have been very dormant prior to this illness and have not done repetitive tasks or strenuous activity.

    Thanks in advance for any help!!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Tingling down to the forearm and fingers probably means the nerves are involved. Bulging disc in the neck and brachial plexus neuropathy (thoracic outlet syndrome) could be possible…anyway, you may want to visit a neurologist.

  36. MN says:

    Hey I’m a 20 year old female who has for several years had a weird feeling in my right scapula/shoulder. It didn’t hurt from the age 13-17 if I remember correctly, but when I walked/walk I feel the need to push my shoulder blade out, I have no idea why but I somehow feel uncomfortable if I don’t. But anyway I think it was around the age of 17 that it slightly started to hurt, prettymuch everywhere around the shoulder blade, but not in the actual shoulder joint, but down and up my spine, under the shoulder blade and a little on the top and above the scapula and down my arm starting from behind. It gradually became worse, and about 1½ years ago it became really severe. Once when I walked I did a slight movement with my neck and I felt and heard something under the scapula and the pain became suddenly worse and the sound as a remember it was loud, not like extremily but from where it came from I think it was loud. It got a little better during the next hour, but I could feel that it had happend for the next days untill it happend again but more severe. I was laying in bed and changed my position and I could just feel and hear something moving or snapping or something around my shoulder, I could not move and breathing became worse than it had before, I had had pain when breathing before. So I had no option other than just lay there and hope it got better the next day, but it didn’t, I had a really hard time geting out of bed and putting some kind of clothes on, I could walk slowly but any force or movement of my arm and neck was one of the worst feelings I have experienced, it was okay to sit completily still, but getting up was not fun. I went to the hospital and the doctor just pushed realy hard on my shoulder blade and said it’s nothing, and I sort of got dizzy when I stood up. I went to physiotherapy, I realy never got an answer of what it was or anything other than my right scapula pointed more out than the left and that my muscels were tight. The realy bad pain slowely went away and the pain after about ½ year was very minimal, but I could easily do a movement and feel the pain but it wasn’t so bad. And I can/could always feel that there is something thats not how it’s supposed to be. Anyway so now I have gotten a job thats about 40 hours a veek and of cource the pain is back, it’s not as bad as it has been in the past, but it’s definately there.

    I have felt similar pain in my left shoulder area but not nearly as bad. I play the trombone, where it is more common to injure the left arm/shoulder and I’m a leftie.

    So can anyone tell me roughly what happend to right shoulder area or whats happening, or what to do? Because I have no idea what happend, the only thing I know is that it’s the worst physical pain I have ever felt.

    1. MN says:

      To add: it doesn’t realy hurt more when touching and there was never any swelling or bruises.

      1. Jan Modric says:

        MN, you may want to see an orthopedist who can perform a proper body examination.

  37. Jackie B. says:

    I developed pain in my upper middle back, left side, around February of 2014. It was like someone came by and stamped my back. The pain has gradually gotten worse. I can feel the pain at times throughout the day but it hurts the most when I go to bed and try to sleep on my back. I start out now sleeping on my side and wake up having to sit up all the way to turn to the other side because I cannot roll over on my back. It hurts too much. It’s like I am putting pressure on something but don’t know what. I had an MRI done last May, 2014 of thoracic spine and nothing found. Since pain has continued to get worse, we have just done recent testing. Nothing found except hepatic cysts on liver. Spine doctor said my spine looked good and no pinched nerves, etc. I know what I feel but no one can tell me what is going on. I have even had a bone scan. Can you help me in anyway? Thank you for your time and knowledge!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Jackie,

      liver cysts could theoretically irritate the diaphragm muscle, which could cause referred pain in the shoulder blade area, but more likely on the right side. Another option is “T4 syndrome” (check above in the article, just search for “t4”). A good physiotherapist or orthopedist should be able to carefully examine your back and check for “muscle knots” which can be related to “myofascial pain” (you can read here: http://www.ehealthstar.com/conditions/myofascial-pain-syndrome). It is very important to say if pain is aggravated by deep breathing, turning the trunk, bending the neck or lifting the arm. Also, if the area is tender to light to moderate touch. And does pain radiate anywhere (to the arms or neck…) and if you had any injury or surgery at any time…

      In general, pain that is aggravated by certain lying positions is more likely from muscles and nerves than from internal organs such as lung membrane, heart or kidneys…Bone would need to be broken to cause such pain.

      1. Jackie B. says:

        Not too long after pain began, my husband was able to find the “spot” and pressed on it, which caused severe pain to the touch. Now it’s deeper and not painful at the surface if that makes any sense. It’s just the weirdest thing. I have had no injuries or surgeries. Deep breathing, bending of neck or turning trunk ok. My left arm has had aching along with butt/thigh area but not consistently. Throughout the day, you just never know when you might feel it. I have Factor V and was just in hospital for retal bleeding but could not tell me exactly what from. Found 2 polyps, 1 ok but lost other one so was not tested, 12mm was one that was lost. Said I had diverticulosis and non-bleeding hemorrhoids. Also small hiatal hernia with incomplete LES and mild erythema of antrum. These were findings from colonoscopy and endoscopy.

        1. Jan Modric says:

          The “spot” could be a muscle knot. An orthopedist should know how to evaluate that. When you have the main symptoms in the back and they radiate down to an arm, this speaks for a nerve involvement. Muscles and nerves are related, so it’s not possible for me to say what could be the initial cause. Clean MRI does not exclude all neurological and muscle problems. From other conditions you have mentioned (diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, hernia) it seems you have weakened connective tissue in some areas. I believe it can help if you visit an orthopedist and mention that spot even if it’s now gone. And also prepare your complete medical history and write it down, so you’ll have it handy at the vsit.

          1. Jackie B. says:

            Thank you so much for all your information! You have given me direction where previously no one has! ?

  38. Sunny says:

    Hello, over the past few months I’ve had recurring knots under my right scapula which tend to be relieved with deep tissue massage but it keeps coming back. Then yesterday while doing standing military presses I had a terrible pain in the same spot which hasn’t happened before and know the knot is back also. It is also tender to touch. I went to see a MAT/physiotherapist who says I have un-activated rear delts which is throwing everything off as i’m not rotating properly. I also had a left shoulder injury last year which is close to a AC seperation but not quite as per the doctor/x-ray. He also noted that my right side is clearly more developed than my left which makes me wonder why I keep getting the pain under my right scapula!?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Sunny, muscle knots can be a part of myofascial pain syndrome, as you probably know. Two possible causes are the injury you mentioned, excessive exercise and uneven development of your upper back muscles. Secondary to that, your right scapula may be positioned improperly. I suppose you would need reduce the intensity of your exercise. An experienced physiotherapist or orthopedist can evaluate your scapula position and what to do to balance your back muscles.

  39. Rebecca says:

    Hi my left shoulder mussel is in costent pain can’t shake it even with pain killers massaging helps but for a short time what could it be

    1. Jan Modric says:

      There are several possible causes: two of them are “frozen shoulder” (search above in the article) and arthritis. Pinched nerve in the neck would be also possible. An orthopedist can help.

  40. chanchal thakre says:

    My mom is suffering from shoulder and back arm burning pain ….since 7 year …. frist it was only in right arm but last year it also in left arm.. sugges me the best test n treatment for her

    1. Jan Modric says:

      chanchal thakre,

      she can visit an orthopedist, who can tell if she needs any tests.

  41. Nancy Bishop says:

    For a week I have had a burning pain that starts in middle left upper chest area then spreads through to my back, then it goes to my left arm down to my little finger area. It goes away if I rest but comes back every day when I get up and slowly increases in pressure and the burning pain, following the same path. No numbness nor tingling. My left collar bone is being effected now. I

  42. Nancy Bishop says:

    I have put heat to it and it seems to help. However it becomes so painful that I need take pain releavers. I am 65 years old and fairly active.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Nancy, pain in the left chest that travels down the arm may be related to the heart or nerves. You mentioned clavicle, so you may want to check for “thoracic outlet syndrome,” in which clavicle may pres upon the nerves that go from the spinal cord to an arm.

  43. Jennifer says:

    I’ve had severe and constant pain now since April. It started in my chest and back, then shoulder blade. Had an ECG, antibiotics and even an Gastroscopy which was all normal. At night when sleeping, my arms go numb with pin and needles and into my fingers. Also have like soft vibrations going from my abdomen area down into both legs. This is something new which started about 3 weeks ago. Also seem to urinate more frequently. I am rather anxious due to this pain and I don’t know what’s causing it. The pain is there all the time…only when I’m asleep, then I get some relief, otherwise real bad pain from the moment I’m awake. Anti inflammatory pills don’t even seem to help. Sometimes can’t bear this deep, burning pain that stays there. If I press on my chest, back or right shoulder blade and just above near my spine, the pain seems to be even worse. The pain is mostly on my right side. When moving my neck ear to shoulder it seems to be worse. Also sore when I inhale. I have spasmodic torticollis as well and about 20 years ago I was involved in a motor vehicle accident where the car rolled numerous times. My face and whole body was black and purple.

    Just mentioning…I had an MRI for the cervical spine done in May, 2012 and the comment for the results were as follows: There are chronic disc osteophytes protruding posteriorly at the C3/4 and C5/6 levels. The C5/6 osteophyte complex causes slight stenosis of the spinal canal at this level. No spinal cord pathology is seen.

    Please help!!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Jennifer, I can’t make any diagnosis. It sounds to me like a neurological problem. Vertebral changes C3-C6 could pinch the spinal nerves, which could explain your neck, shoulder and arm symptoms. Eventual additional problem could be thoracic outlet syndrome, in which nerves and blood vessels that travel near the armpit toward the arm are compressed between the upper rib and clavicle.

      Vibration sensation in the abdomen and frequent urination can also be neurological, maybe from the stenosis of the spinal canal.

      I strongly suggest you to discuss all this by an experienced neurologist. Seemingly mild MRI changes can cause severe symptoms and vice versa.

  44. Marci says:

    I woke up this morning with a terrible soreness under my shoulder blade. The pain is more evident under the left shoulder blade and I can feel it when I try to take a deep breath. I have shortness of breathe and my chest feels tight. My husband says that I sounded as if I was struggling to breath last night while I was sleeping. At the end of July this year I was diagnosed with an Oesophagul Hernia and to top that off I have post nasal drip which could be related to the reflux. I am also a sinus sufferer. I am currently on a PPI and have started doing saline rinses two days ago. On sunday I was very nauseas and lightheaded, but eventually it passed after a nap. I am seeing my oncologist at the end of this week and having a chest xray done. Could the pain in my back be related to any of this conditions?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Marci, acid reflux can cause back pain, but this would be more likely between the shoulder blades and should not be so obviously related to deep breathing. It is possible that you have inhaled some acid or maybe the saline solution, which can cause inflammation of the lung and lung membrane (pleurisy). If your symptoms continue to worsen, please go to the doctor as soon as possible.

  45. mike m. says:

    For the past couple of weeks I have had on again off again left shoulder blade pain only. No where else. Also, the pain is not a deep pain but superficial. I’ve not done anything to it that I can think of. It never hurts at night but only during the course of the day does it flare up, but even then only occasionally. Menthol type creams relieve it for awhile. What could this be? Thanks.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      mike, I don’t know, but:
      – In pinched nerve in the neck, pain is often aggravated by bending the neck backwards or tilting the head to the shoulder, and relieved by placing the hands on the top of the head.
      – In thoracic outlet syndrome, pain is typically aggravated by lifting an arm above the shoulder level.
      – In shoulder joint disorders, pain would be aggravated by moving an arm in the shoulder.

      If you are concerned you can visit an orthopedist.

      1. mike m. says:

        You’re right I do fall asleep sometimes in a patio chair with no neck support and find myself with my neck tilting left and sometimes backwards! I do need to stop this. However if it continues, I will look up a ortopedist. Thanks again.

  46. cyndi says:

    I have a knot that forms under my right shoulder blade sporadically over the past 20 years. At first I had my sister press on it thinking it was bump or something but the burning stabbing pain sent me to my feet and I have a high threshold for pain. She said it was just a black head but it felt like it was right on top of a nerve. Tonight, like 20 years later, I had my daughter look at it and she thought it was an ingrown hair, but when she tried to check it, it felt like a flaming needle stabbing me. It’s only in this area under my right shoulder blade.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      cyndi, an ingrown hair, pimple, blocked sebaceous cyst, boil, folliculitis or furuncle have an opening and are usually more or less red. Pressing upon any of these bumps can be quite painful.

      A muscle knot is just a bump without redness or an opening to the skin. Pressing upon the muscle knot typically triggers pain in other parts, for example in the shoulder, neck or arm. If it were a nerve involved, you would likely experience pain and tingling go around the chest on the right side. If you are concerned, you can visit a doctor.

  47. Loretta says:

    For the last three years, I get pain between the lower part of my right shoulder blade and spine. My son massages it for me sometimes and said it is a hard lump. When he pushes on it, it hurts even more but the pain doesn’t’ really travel to other areas when he pushes on it. I do sit and reach a lot for work. When I want to cook or clean at home, it gets so painful while it is getting used that I am miserable. If I am cleaning or folding clothes, I have to stop and rest for quite a while and then go back to my project for just a little while and then rest for quite awhile again. This is frustrating because I am not able to do the things I want to without pain.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Loretta, such pain are usually from muscle overuse or from repeating twisting of the torso (check for “T4 syndrome” above in the article). The important contributing factor can be psychological stress, which increases the tension in the muscles. The solution is either in decreasing the amount of physical work or to solve eventual problems that cause stress.

  48. Nikki Lowe says:

    I have been experiencing pain in my right shoulder blade area. I’m a hairdresser and very busy all the time and when I’m at the salon, my shoulder kills me. It makes me want to squeeze the area that hurts. Sometimes it comes up into my neck. I have had a few massages and been going to the chiropractor with little help. I’m worried it is something really wrong and I have not done anything to injure it. This has been going on for about 4 months now. It feels better when I’m not working.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Nikki, I strongly suggest you to visit an orthopedist. One possible cause, regarding you need constantly raise your hands, is thoracic outlet syndrome (read above) or a pinched nerve in the spine.

  49. Emma k says:

    Hi, for over a year now I hAve been experiencing tingling or pins and needles over my right shoulder blade, this occurs when I am washing up or making a drink or carrying my son up to bed. Sometimes it happens when I’m looking down at my phone or lying in bed with a book in my hand . Chiropractor hasn’t helped at all ,and I’m getting worried now about it , any idea ?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Emma, tingling and the fact that pain gets worse by bending the neck or raising hands speaks for a pinched nerve in the spine. An orthopedist can give you a diagnosis; an X-ray or CT may be required.

      1. Emma k says:

        Thank you 🙂 do you think this could be treated quite well ? On a waiting list for a mri but they say 20 wk wait to see if I can have a appointment . I really want to stop worrying it’s something really serious

        1. Jan Modric says:

          Emma k, tingling and pain that is triggered by movements and various body positions is usually caused by pinched nerves or narrowed spinal canal. Nerves can be pinched due to bulging spinal discs, vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis or bone spurs in arthritis. In diseases that actually affect the nerve tissue, for example, in multiple sclerosis, symptoms are more constant are are not directly affected by movements. Note, that I can’t confirm or exclude anything, so if your symptoms worsen considerably, you may want to visit a doctor earlier than you planned.

  50. Lolly says:

    Hi,

    After I have been walking or standing for long periods of time (about 2 hours) I get a dull ache in the lower right hand side of my back, this then makes my neck quite stiff and only eases if I sit down.

    I often wake up with a very stiff neck or back ( I am only 27) and I think I have a little ‘hump’ at the base of my neck that I first noticed about 3 years ago.

    I also randomly get a shooting pain in my left shoulder blade (not at the same time as the dull ache) that lasts around 30mins and is very very painful.

    I have never had an accident or a fall or anything like that, and surely for my age all these back problems are not normal?

    Many thanks.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Lolly, I strongly suggest you to visit a doctor soon, maybe a neurologist. The hump in your neck suggests a deformity of the spine, which could press upon your spinal cord and cause pains you’ve described.

  51. Paula Combs says:

    I deal with anxiety and stress and take medicine. I have had the shoulder blade pain on right side with the knots at the edge. Sometimes alittle on left blade but mostly right. Seems to lesson when stress is gone, but sometimes seems to burn more with heart burn especially during stressful times. It is sore to touch but seems to lesson with deep massage and stretching. I work at a computer and am also carry a lot of weight in the front at the top. Suggestions or thoughts?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Paula, muscle knots near the shoulder blades are possibly due to increased muscle tension caused by stress, computer works and, I guess, acid reflux (since you mentioned heartburn). The original cause of acid reflux may be “hiatus hernia” or incomplete closure of the lower esophageal sphincter from some reason. Stress and medicines and certain foods can aggravate reflux. You can search for diet for acid reflux; you can also consider if you can do something about taking medicines. About computer work, it’s good to have a chair and table of appropriate height, but also to learn how to deal with stress, which may be one of the main reasons of your pains.

  52. Becky says:

    Hi Jan 🙂 For the past two weeks I have been experiencing bad aching pain in between my shoulder blades ( feels like towards left side) the aching pain is there all the time and even runs into my upper left arm (shoulder) and under my left arm. Sometimes it feels like a bit tingling in my arm. The aching pain is annoying and even causes me to wake up in the middle of the night and it’s hard to get back to sleep. Thought maybe moved wrong and pinched or strained a nerve but I took a muscle relaxer a couple times before bed with no relief. …not sure what the heck it is but I don’t like it!! I am a 38 year old female 🙂

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Becky, yes, pain could be caused by a pinched nerve either due to a bulging disc or arthritis in the related part of the spine. Tingling additionally speaks for a nerve involvement. Shingles sometimes cause burning pain before any rash appears. Muscle relaxers do not help in nerve pain.

      Mild cases of pinched nerve can resolve on its own with time. You can try to avoid moves and positions that trigger pain. If pain gets worse with the time, you can ask an orthopedist for diagnosis.

  53. rika says:

    Hi,
    2 years ago i got right arm dislocation. Then it spread out to my right breast, my right sjoulder blade and my right underarm. My breast feel so painful all the time. Last year i got US and the result said everyhing is normal on both breast. But i have fibrous breast
    i also got x ray on my cervival spine and the result was spondylosis on c5-c7
    Everytime i move my arm and rotator, there’s a sound like a broken spinning wheel. Snapping sound from shoulder blade is so loud, until a person who standing right to me can hear it clearly
    im so frustating. My breast,shoulder blade,upper arm are so painful. Im so worry abt breastcancer. My finger also feel numbness sometimes. And i feel pain while i taking breath. Need a suggest

    1. Jan Modric says:

      rika, breast cancer is painless in most cases. I can’t exclude anything, but your pain is much more likely due to either spondylosis and/or arm injury. I suggest you to visit an orthopedist to get a proper diagnosis first.

      1. rika says:

        Dear jan,
        i’m 35 y.o now. 158cm, 58 kg. Do you think people in my age could get spondylosis? Cause i read from few journals, they said its commom on older people (50+ old).
        I got this injury when i played tennis without any warming up.

        1. Jan Modric says:

          Spondylosis can occur in people 20 years of age, especially if they have degeneration disc disease (DDD). C5-C7 involvement does NOT explain your breast and armpit pain because nerves arising from those parts of the spinal cord innervate the shoulder and the arm but not the upper chest. Spondylosis could explain the numbness in the fingers.

          If you put a hand over the shoulder joint and move the arm, and you would feel the click, then the snapping occurs either in the shoulder joint or in one of the tendons in the rotator cuff. It is an orthopedist who can tell what to do with that.

          An injury can cause a damage of brachial plexus, which can cause “thoracic outlet syndrome” with pain in the front of the shoulder and armpit, forearm and fingers.

          So, the possible causes of your symptoms (not a complete list) seem to be:
          – shoulder joint injury
          – something in your rotator cuff tendons (calcific tendinitis? – it’s described briefly above in the article: it can cause snapping and pain in the shoulder and upper arm)
          – fibrocystic breast (pain in the breast and armpit)
          – c5-c7 cervical spondylosis (numbness in the fingers)
          – thoracic outlet syndrome (pain in the front of the shoulder, armpit, forearm and fingers
          – to exclude breast cancer, you may want to have ultrasound or mammography

  54. Michelle says:

    Hi,
    I am in so much pain that I am crying. The pain is located on the left side of my back. About where my bra strap is. In the past I dealt with an isolated sciatic nerve pinch which at time left me immobolized. That worked itself out in about three weeks. This is not like that. As much pain as that was it never pushed me to tears. I have tried cold packs and heating pads. I have not really had any relief from either.
    Due to being overweight my whole life I have had constant lower back pain. Lost the weight and the lower back pain diminished. A heating pad or massage will usually help with that.
    My boyfriend said he could feel it so I am assuming it is a pinched nerve.
    Any ideas?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Michelle, an isolated tender spot (muscle knot?) below the shoulder blade is usually from a muscle injury, overuse or increased tension due to prolonged sitting. A broken bone or scapula without an apparent injury is not likely.

      Pain from a pinched nerve usually extends over the larger area and is less likely provoked by pressing upon a certain spot.

      A doctor who can perform a proper physical examination should be able to tell more.

  55. Vicki Crashtoy says:

    I’m a 55 year old female and I don’t know if you can help or not, but this is the worst and longest pain, in my right shoulder, underneath the blade has ever been. I’ve had to sleep sitting up, with a frozen (33.8 fl oz) water bottle on my back. It’s the perfect length and width to get up under the blade. It’s a very sharp pain that started 2 – 3 weeks ago. After 2 days it went up into my neck and I couldn’t turn my head left, right or lift head up after I had been looking downward, without severe pain, like a cord was being pulled way to tight underneath that blade. A week later I could feel that same feeling trying to go into the back side of my right arm if I moved wrong. Heating pad makes it feel worse. I’m still sitting up but can move my head better now. I’ve had this pain before, but it usually only last 3 – 4 days with icy-hot patches, not 3 to 4 weeks, sitting up with a frozen water bottle to sleep and icy-hot patches.
    **Now background check: I have had whiplash approx. 15 years ago when I slid down a snow hill and hit to 2 separate snow walls so hard it knocked my breath out and I could not hold my head up at all it would just flop forward or backwards until the next day. I had lipoma in my right shoulder, underneath the blade, removed approx. 13 years ago and that’s usually where the pain starts. Per the doctor this tumor was also wrapped around a nerve and if he didn’t get all of it, it would grow back. Car accident (rolled SUV 1/4 mile down freeway) approx 13 – 14 years ago. I had to have 7 to 14 cortizone, steroid mixture shots in my neck, shoulder blades and sometimes lower back 3 to 4 times a year for several years due to severe pain. Also at that time I was diagnosed with fibermyalgia, arthritis, epstein barr and anemic.*** So now I have no clue what this pain is…nerve, tendons, ligaments, lipoma??? Plus the last 3 months have had severe pain in my right heal can’t put weight on it, can’t walk or stand too long. I did do a lot of digging over this past summer but it seems that the pain should be gone by now. But I still have problems putting any kind of weight on it so I’ve been walking on the ball and toes of my right foot which is causing me to walk weird and puts stress on my left leg. Yep, I’m falling apart and is depressing me to have to stay in bed most days. 🙁 Any help for me???? 🙂

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Vicki, lipoma or eventual adhesions as a side effect of lipoma removal can cause pain on the right side but that lipoma does not likely cause pain on the left side, unless you have another lipoma on the left, which is less likely, but a doctor would need to check this.

      The pain underneath the left shoulder blade could be caused by bulging/herniated discs in your lower neck spine resulting in pinched spinal nerves. Arthritis, bone spurs or adhesions in that area would be also possible, maybe all as a consequence of your injuries. An experienced orthopedist or neurologist could tell what is the cause; you would maybe need an MRI of your neck spine.

      Your heel pain may be caused by plantar fasciitis, you can read our article here: http://www.ehealthstar.com/heel-pain.php

  56. Samantha says:

    I am a 30 year old female that is suffering from severe pain both between my shoulder blades and under my left shoulder blade. The pain started 3 days ago and has gotten progressively worse to the point where it takes my breath away, and I cannot lift my arms. The pain worsens when I attempt to turn my upper body or bend. NSAIDS do nothing, and OTC pain patches barely take the edge off. For example, I had to have help brushing my hair, and putting my shoes on this morning. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Samantha, I strongly suggest you to get this checked with a neurologist or orthopedist. Even if I were able to guess the cause I would not be able to help here.

  57. Amanda says:

    Dear Jan,

    Excellent article. Thank you!

    I have a left shoulder blade pain for the past 20 months (present at all times, doesn’t matter what I do – it never goes away, I guess it gets a bit worse when I lay down). I saw 3 doctors in 3 different countries, but they all referred me to a physiotherapist. I did an 8 week physiotherapy but it didn’t help. I did notice that everytime I get stressed my pain becomes worse and it feels like burning. I am really worried that it’s sort of a referred pain from somewhere else. I am 29, I have a high cholesterol, elevated liver enzymes (only gamma GT though), and extremely low ferritin levels (now I have to take daily iron supplements). I am non-drinker, had appendix removed 11 months ago. My BMI is 22 and I used to be really sporty, but somehow I am too tired and too fatigued to do it.
    My shoulder blade pain started when I had a really bad gastroenteritis and bad sore throat. I felt a really sharp stab in my back and the pain got a bit better with time, but it never fully went away. I also had a really bad episode of rheumatoid arthritis when I was 17 and an episode of psoriasis…which eventually (after 2 years) went away and never came back. Do you think it’s linked to my shoulder problems? I really don’t know what’s happening. Doctors keep telling me I am healthy (I had abdominal ultrasound and all I know is that I have 2 spleens and the rest is normal), but honestly, I feel like shxx. Living with chronic pain is really something which is so draining. I really hope to get the advice to know what steps should I do next. Also, again, no clue if related or not, I suffer from really bad migraine attacks (3 times a year, sometimes I have to go to the hospital as I just can’t retain any fluids) and when shoulder pain started (20 months ago) I had my first episode (approx 15 mins) of really bad stomach cramps (very low abdomen), severe diarrhea and vomiting at the same time and I passed out from pain on a toilet (doctor told me it was just really bad gastroenteritis). This “attack” happens every 6 months.. (so far I had 3).

    If you have any ideas what it would be, I’d really appreciate it. Mostly my pain is dull, it’s there at all times, when I lay down at night, burns a bit more. It also projects to my shoulder and down my arm (sometimes), sometimes I feel a bit weaker/tingling feeling in the same hand.

    Any advice would be really appreciated.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Amanda, you said the left shoulder blade pain is triggered by stress and that it started after gastroenteritis. You also said you have 2 spleens. While, I by no means can say if this is actually the case, my hypothesis is that you have maybe developed post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in which the gas trapped in the upper left part of the colon near the spleen, can distend the colon, which then presses upon the diaphragm muscle. This can cause pain in the upper left side of the abdomen, left side of the chest and left shoulder blade or, sometimes, only in the shoulder blade (referred pain). This is known as “splenic flexure syndrome” – splenic flexure is the part of the colon near the spleen.

      Additionally, two spleens you have can press upon the diaphragm and push it up a bit, which, again, can cause referred pain in the left shoulder blade. In future, if nothing other helps, you may want to discuss with your doctor if the removal of the extra spleen is an option.

      Theoretically, there could be other abdominal problems that could press upon the diaphragm. You mentioned psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and removed appendix (I guess from appendicitis) –these are all inflammatory diseases. This may suggest that you might be also more prone to get inflammation in the abdominal cavity, which could cause adhesions (strands of fibrous tissue), which could pull on the diaphragm and again cause referred pain in the shoulder blade. Often, an endoscopy of the abdominal cavity (laparoscopy) is needed to see adhesions — this is an investigation to think of when other things do not help.

      Another possible cause of the pain in the shoulder blade area is rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis of the thoracic spine, which can result in a pinched spinal nerve with burning pain. An MRI of the upper thoracic spine can confirm this, but note that abnormalities that may seem mild on MRI can cause severe pain…The pain could be aggravated by twisting the trunk and bending, as you’ve mentioned. The pain down the arm could be caused by pinched nerves arising from the cervical part of spine.

      If the arm pain is on the *inner* side of the arm and occurs mainly when you are stressed and is accompanied by chest pain or heaviness, it could be due to “heart anxiety neurosis” http://www.ehealthstar.com/arm-pain.php

      In summary, the pain in the shoulder blade triggered by stress may be from trapped gas in the colon, but pain triggered by twisting and bending my be from the pinched nerves in the thoracic spine.

      What to do about stress? Do you think you can slowly start to resolve some situations or relationships that make you stressed? You can decide what deserves your attention and what not. Solving stress can also help prevent IBS.

      If you experience abdominal bloating (which could trigger pain), you can consider a “low-FODMAP diet” (you basically reduce lactose, fructose and few other nutrients from your diet).

  58. Amanda says:

    Dear Jan, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I can’t really thank you enough as this is the first reasonable answer I got in the last 20 months! I will try everything you suggested-starting with the least invasive method – diet change (low-FODMAP diet). I had a similar idea, my hypothesis was that I have this low inflammation somewhere (even if in the gut) and it’s referring to my shoulder. I tried gluten free diet for 2 weeks and saw no difference so I stopped. Maybe I didn’t stick to it long enough to see the improvements but I thought maybe it’s just not gluten. I’ve never heard about low-FODMAP so I am starting with it today!

    Also, in terms of my appendix. The reason why I am pretty sure I have 2 spleens is because I had 3 abdominal ultrasounds done by 3 different doctors for my appendix and what was consistent with all 3 was that I have 2 spleens. Every single doctor mentioned that. Then I had 2 appendix surgeries (one to remove my perforated appendix, then the second one (laparoscopic) two weeks after to clean the mess in my abdomen they left behind after the first surgery). What’s funny though is that now that I had the abdominal ultrasound 10 months after my 2 surgeries a doctor said I only have one spleen.. !? Whatever, I still think he missed it if other 3 doctors said it was there. I have no idea. I will try the diet first and hope it helps:)

    Thank you so much again for taking your time to respond. I really appreciate it. I will also read your other articles as I noticed you posted a lot on this topic.

    You really make a difference in peoples lives by taking time to respond! THANK YOU!!!

  59. john says:

    hi, my mum sometimes suffers from a persistent pier sing pains in or around the heart and central chest area a bit lower between the ribs. it makes her feel discomfort especially in breathing, nausea. when the piercing pain occurs, she feels it in the heart, all inside the head and eyes and the whole body leaving her depressed and discomfort.
    please any idea what the solution could be??????

    1. Jan Modric says:

      john, I don’t know what this is, but the symptoms you mentioned sound like it could be a heart disease, more precisely “coronary heart disease”. This type of pain is called “angina pectoris.” I strongly suggest that she visits a doctor soon.

  60. David says:

    Hi.

    For the past couple of years I’ve had pain and popping in the right shoulder blade. The pain feels sharp and will come on occasion. The popping occurs when I do things like take a deep breath or retract the shoulder blades. I’m 22 years old and it’s concerning, along with a lot of other problems. I recently puchased a lacrosse ball that I use to massage the area.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      David, one of the causes of popping in the scapula is a snapping scapula syndrome due to upper back muscles overuse (see a short description above in the article). I can’t say if you have this, but if you do, lacrosse ball will probably not be enough–that’s meant for muscle knots. I suggest you visit an orthopedist or a physiotherapist.

  61. Julie says:

    Hi
    When I tilt my head to the right (chin touching collarbone) my neck hurts and so does the area above my shoulder blade and sometimes it’s just my shoulder blade that hurts.. My arm also feels funny, not painful and sometimes it affects my underarm.
    I do suffer from stress and anxiety which has been worse since this pain..

  62. Elizabeth says:

    Hello. I have had shoulder pain for 6 months now. It is in my right shoulder underneath the shoulder blade. My mom works on the knot once or twice a day just to loosen it a little because the pain brings
    me to tears sometimes. I recently got a professional deep tissue massage and it did not help at all, but the lady who gave the massage must have felt so bad for me because she said to come back whenever
    and she wouldn’t charge. Everything points to the snapping scapula syndrome but the sounds aren’t that loud or often. I can feel the muscle knot against my spine and under my scapula and it is extremely painful and I would really like to know what it is so I can get some relief. Thank you!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Elizabeth, a muscle knot can be from muscle tension due to poor posture, muscle overuse or as a reaction to a painful condition in the spine, for example, a herniated disc in the neck. If you think, you have a snapping scapula, you may want to get a professional diagnosis by an orthopedist. Snapping scapula is shortly described above here: http://www.ehealthstar.com/shoulder-blade-pain.php#snapping. Treatment includes physiotherapy.

      You can also read about cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve in the neck) http://www.ehealthstar.com/conditions/bulging-herniated-disc#cervical , which can cause shoulder blade pain.

  63. kelvin says:

    Good day I am 19 and I have been having this pain under my left shoulder blade and on my spinal cord if I bend my head forward my neck aches and I have been having this for like a year now please I will b glad if u can give me a reply soon

    1. Jan Modric says:

      kelvin, such pain can occur due to increased tension in your upper back muscles (myofascial syndrome) but I can’t say what exactly is the cause. An orthopedist can give you a proper diagnosis.

  64. June says:

    I am 59 have pain/discomfort on my left side around my ribs both front and back. I first noticed a problem when carrying a light bag on my left shoulder but now it hurts to sleep on my left side. The pain has now also travelled into my neck on the left side. It feels like I am bruised but there is no sign of anything. I have no trouble breathing and do not get breathless. Could you please help me as now my mind is playing games with me?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      June, it could be a herniated disc in the neck, a heart problem or something else. I don’t have enough information to tell more. Please, visit a doctor.

  65. Ruby says:

    Hi. I have a sudden pain In between the scapula all the way down around the scapula only on the left side. It’s painful when am lying on my back and if I lift my neck it’s even worst. I had a bad fall a month ago jumping off a 60ft cliff. Could it be related? What should I watch for before I go to the ER? Thanks

    1. Ruby says:

      The pain developed only 2 days ago. I can lay on my left side (the affected side) but painful to lay on my back or the right side. It hurts to move my head left or right, up or down (hurts more looking down or side to side). I dont have a problem rotating my arm. It’s this symptoms urgent?

      1. Jan Modric says:

        Ruby, I am not in the position to say if your condition is urgent or not. If you did not lose consciousness after the accident and you do not feel any weakness, pain, tingling or numbness in the arms or legs or anywhere, these are good signs. The symptoms you’ve described by themselves do not speak for an urgent situation, but again, I don’t know.

        The pain between the shoulder blades can be due to strain of the back muscles or ligaments near the spine or by a herniated disc in the neck – the later would be even more possible if you in the next days/weeks develop pain in the left arm.

        A broken rib or scapula would cause an obvious and severe pain aggravated by breathing. You probably did not break the spine, but I can’t exclude smaller, incomplete breaks (hair fracture) of the vertebra.

        Use common sense and intuition in deciding to see a doctor or not.

        1. Carol fynn says:

          Can you give me some idea of what might be wrong with me. It started about 2 months ago. I was at lunch and bent down to pick up a napkin from the floor when the most almighty burning pain sensation was felt under my right lower shoulder blade just around bra strap height. I am 69. Now every time I bend down to pick up something or cough it does the same. The pain lasts a few days then feels slightly better until I cough or bend down again. It then aches after. I have had heart checks all clear and a chest x-ray a few months back was clear. its making me fed up now.

          1. Jan Modric says:

            Carol, I suggest you to visit an orthopedist. Examples of causes that can cause pain as you described it are herniated disc in the neck or strain of the upper back muscles.
            We have an article about herniated disc here: http://www.ehealthstar.com/conditions/bulging-herniated-disc

  66. Normellya Bailey says:

    Hi this is Mimi and I am a 43 year old woman. I’ve recently been having some trouble/ pain in my left my shoulder blade. I also feel pain when ever I bend my neck down or I lean forward. The pain usually is kinda relived when I take a deep breath. I am also pretty active in the gym. This morning I woke up it felt like my shoulders were pinned back, as if I was holding a small ball between my blades, my Chest felt really full and tightness was felt from my chest all the way through to my back (in between my shoulder blades) my pain is not only felt through my right shoulder blade but it also involves my chest cavity or the left breast bone

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Normellya, it may be a strained muscle in the back – such pain would be obviously affected by moving your arms or shrugging, for example. I can’t exclude conditions in your chest, like pericarditis or enlarged lymph nodes. Muscle strain would improve by itself with some rest in a relatively short time. If your symptoms increase with time, please visit a doctor.

  67. Duane Johnson says:

    I am a 63 year old man. A few days ago I started experiencing a sharp stabbing pain under my right shoulder blade. When I take deep breaths it intensifies the pain. I seems to go away when I lie down and breathing is normal again. When I lean forward pain increases again. when I lean back it seems to go away. This condition is going on for the 4th straight day. Any suggestions as to what the problem might be?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Duane, any other symptoms, like low-grade fever, acid reflux, pain in the abdomen?

      Pain that is relieved by leaning forward and aggravated by deep breathing can be, for example, from pericarditis (inflammation of the heart sac) or pleurisy (inflammation f the lung membrane). I suggest you to visit a doctor.

  68. Duane Johnson says:

    no other symptoms. leaning forward worsens. leaning back or lying down alleviates pain.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Duane, I can’t comment much from a single symptom. If your back muscles are tender to touch, it may be a muscle strain, but if not, it may be one of the problems I mentioned earlier, so inside your chest.

  69. zalson rollin says:

    hi im zalson 33. i always have a problem that my left and right shoulder blade is hurting a lot seems like some pinching inside the muscle and my whole upper back is painful as well through my arms and get numb. the right side of my shoulder is more painful. the pain goes all over my whole upper body trough my neck. pain is very sharp and tinggling. in other time got a sharp pain in lower back also. what this could be? ive havn’t went to a doctor yet. everytime if my back relaxed for a 5minutes and when i move, i cant move because my back killin me. please help

    1. Jan Modric says:

      zalson, you would need to visit a doctor to get diagnosis.

      One possible cause is a herniated discs in your neck and lower back spine.
      http://www.ehealthstar.com/conditions/bulging-herniated-disc

  70. Chris says:

    Every morning when i wake up i have pain betwee. My right shoulder blade and my spine. It feels much deeper than any muscle pain ive had in the past. Its hurts for 2-3 hours, particularly when i look down. It goes away throughout the day although i get a tingling through the area and around to my chest in a sort of ring about 2-3x daily. I typically sleep on my back. I am now unable to lay on my right side for more tha 2 minutes without my arm going numb or having back pain. My chiropractor did not help, my doctor took an xray but there were no problems. My masseuse gave me some stretched which have helped loosen my upper back but havent helped the pain. Ive had it for 3 months now. I cannot recall a specific injury but i do play soccer and football. I am 30 years old.

  71. Gary F says:

    Only when I lay down or go to sleep I get pains on right side that stretch from right shoulder blades to right chest pain goes away quickly once I wake up and sit up

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Gary, I cannot say much from a single symptom. Few possible symptoms (far from a complete list):
      – A stretched muscle or tendon around the shoulder blade
      – Serratus anterior pain syndrome (after lifting heavy objects with the right arm, or after repeated sprints or other overuse of your arms)
      – Gas in the large intestine below your rib cage
      Gallstones
      A herniated disc in the neck

  72. Regina says:

    Hi I’m Regina, 31 year old female. For about 4 months now in the morning’s when I wake up the heels of my feet hurt to the point I can hardly walk on them. About a week ago, I started having sharp pains in my left shoulder blades and really bad headache’s. Nothing I do seems to help. What could this be?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Regina, do your heels hurt only in the morning and improve through the day? This can occur in plantar fasciitis, for example; you can check here: http://www.ehealthstar.com/heel-pain.php

      For the shoulder blade and headache…I would need to know more circumstances, timing, the nature of the headache (throbbing, one sided?)

  73. Srinath Neel says:

    Hello,
    Thank you for the information about shoulder blade pain.

    I am 37, experiencing pain in the left shoulder blade area. It feels like a deep muscle pain sensitive to my posture. If I rest my back against a support then it feels better but I get a sudden increase in pain when I sit straight without any support. Also the pain is lower when I am sleeping on my back but it usually worse when waking up in the morning.

    I am 37, have a healthy lifestyle – hit the gym, run, bike Etc mostly vegetarian non smoker Social drinker. Have a 4 year old daughter that sometimes jumps and climb on my shoulder 🙂 but I don’t think that caused it.

    Recently I was trying to set up a telescope and I was holding it in certain postures that may have put stress on my back / shoulder but I am not sure if I can attribute that.

    This has been going on for over 2 weeks now. Please help – any guidance and suggestions will be helpful

    Thanks, Neel

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Srinath, I imagine you could strain an upper back muscle during setting up the telescope. Even an innocent move, like reaching for something on a high shelf can cause muscle strain. Strained muscle is tender to touch – if someone presses on various spots around your shoulder blade, it would aggravate your pain. Strained muscle can heal on its own without any special treatment but with relative rest.

      If your pain does not get better soon you may think about other causes, such as a herniated disc in the neck.

      1. Srinath Neel says:

        Thank you for your reply! feeling a bit relieved after reading your reply.

  74. Leah Anne says:

    I sure hope someone can help figure this out…I have had pain in behind my left shoulder blade since April of 2015…I have had four MRIs on all different areas of my shoulder, lower back, mid back and the neck and shoulder (nothing showed, except on the one I had on my shoulder the technician advised my doctor to have another mri done as he thought he saw a bulging disc on my thoracic spine, so had another one and nothing showed this time)…have had nerve testing done (very painful experience), nothing…have had physiotherapy, chiropractic treatments and massage treatments to no avail, no relief…I was off work for three months due to the pain, I have been on pain killers and that’s how I am coping now, but I don’t want to stay on them…I have also had two cortisone injections in the left scapular area, nothing…If I go off the pain killers, the pain is horrible…has anyone else experienced this and please let me know and what if anything was the cause….

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Leah, it’s not likely many people will respond here. It may help if you describe exact pain triggers and relievers (arm movements, lying, sleeping positions).

  75. Amani says:

    Hello there
    After reading the info above I’m not really good in explaining my condition
    I’ve had this pain in my right slightly low right shoulder that if I move or get up or sit the pain makes me scream its sharp and very uncomfortable it feels like a know on the right. I can’t walk with and when I see the doctors they don’t do nothing about from saying it muscular and just take painkillers.

    There has to be more to this. Not sending me to check it out.
    Asking me to get one of those heat rub but the question who can do it for its in the pack.sometimes these doctors don’t know what their are doing.

    I’ve got swallon and painful joints in my fingers…and I asked if you can refer me to rheumatoid arthritis orthopaedic or even having a scan or MRI. Nothing.

    Can someone help me.I’ve not drop or anything like that. The pain is so bad that it makes me cringe and sweat.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Amani, finger joint swelling can actually be from rheumatoid arthritis or some other type of arthritis, so in this case you deserve an appointment with a rheumatologist. I can’t help you here; if your primary doctor does not want to arranged an appointment and if you really think it may be arthritis, then you may ask for a second opinion.

      I’m not sure if I understand if your pain is in the shoulder joint or shoulder blade.

  76. Tammi Davidson says:

    I am having severe pain near, on top of, under that radiates into my left arm. I went to the chiropractor who said I had “Trigger points” and said I should get a series of about 8 or 9 injections. I started to feel so much better..hug relief, but then, I started getting the same pain in my left shoulder blade. Now, due to severe pain, he referred me to my family doctor to rule out any other possible causes (organs, etc). I am frightened. I have to sleep sitting up, because the pain is to severe to lie down. It is like a burning, stabbing pain, and nothing helps, ice packs, naproxen, prescribed painkillers, nothing. The Chiropractor wants me to have an MRI done ordered by my doctor. I have a low tolerance to pain, and it’s been going on now for two months. I am hoping the injections did not make things worse.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Tammi, if your pain is due to muscle tension, you may want to think about the possible causes: poor sitting posture, stress…

      In myofascial pain syndrome, pain radiated down the inner side of the arm.

      Heart-related pain is behind the breastbone; it can radiate to the left shoulder blade or between shoulder blades and down the inside of the arm.

      In herniated disc in the neck, pain can radiate down the outside of an arm.

      Pain from abdominal diseases rarely radiates down the arms.

      Trigger point injections have only a temporary effect. A neurologist can evaluate if some nerve damage has occurred.

  77. Jamie says:

    i have pain in my left scapula that spreads to my armpit and elbow it started a year ago and then went away every few weeks but now its back and has been back for several months, it was just burning pain back then it felt similar to sunburn that was just slapped but constant. it happened about the time i started work and now a year on it has gotten worse it tingles, tickles, stabs, burns all around my scapula area its aching pain that happens in my elbow and burning pain in my arm pit. worse part is i cant find the stem its numb and sometimes hot to touch, it makes me sweat, whenever i move my scapula it makes a clicking noise that doesnt happen in my right, what are some possible causes for this?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Jamie, it sounds like a neurological problem to me. You may want to see a neurologist or orthopedist.

  78. Marylie says:

    Hi,

    similar here. I dont know what is wrong either. I’ve been suffering from occasionnal shoulder blade pain for many years. Espacially on the right side (I dont know if its be cause I am right handed). Sometimes I cant barely feel it and sometimes it is not even barable. At one point it has even gone through my arm right and down to my fingertips that would feel numb. The last 2-3 years the pain has gone up through my neck (still most on the right side) it feels very stiff and very sore to touch which almost feel like a brain freeze sometimes. When I do pressure points on my neck the pain becomes aweful right in the forehead area. Again, the last 2 years have brought a weird light pain in the middle of my breastbone when I’m sitting or laid down and then getting up and naturally opening my shoulders.
    I definatly think everything is connected together. Had a MRI 3 years ago and came out fine as well as my most recent lungs scan from a month ago.
    One time a physical therapist had even told me that he thought I had an adherence from my lung to my rib cage and thought it was a possible cause to my shoulder blade pain. though it was 6-7 years ago. I also got treated by an acupuncturist.

    Anyways, I’d like to know more please. anyone?

    thanks a lot

    1. Jan Modric says:

      The pain that goes down the inner side of the arm can be due to tense muscles and muscle knots in the upper back. Heart-related pain also travels down the inner side of an arm. Pain from a herniated disc in the neck travels down the outer side of an arm.

      The adherence of the lungs to the chest (adhesions?): ask a pulmologist or radiologist for a professional opinion.

  79. James says:

    Hi,

    I am a 42 year old male smoker. I have what feels like pulled muscles in my left shoulder blade and left chest which are exacerbated by touching my chin to my chest.

    I obviously worry about lung cancer being a smoker but I was involved in a fairly heavy car accident around 12 months ago and I also sit at a desk all day, hunched with bad posture.

    Ibuprofen relieves symptoms but doesn’t eradicate them. I am also overweight. I’d very much welcome your thoughts.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      James, pain from lung cancer would not be likely aggravated by a chin-to-chest or any other body movement. The same way, heart-related pain or pain from other internal organs is not likely aggravated by touching the painful part or moving.

  80. Tina says:

    My left shoulder blade is what hurts me. I get migraines regularly and I’m beginning to think it is triggered from that. My shoulder blade is always crackling when I move my arm and recently I’ve been getting numbness and fingers tingle. All on the left side. It’s uncomfortable to sleep. Please help.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Tina, I suggest you to arrange an appointment with an orthopedist who can find out what may be wrong with your shoulder blade. Yes, I believe this can be a cause of both migraines and fingers tingling.

  81. Sherry says:

    Hello evens I also read about your shoulder blade pain and it is described exactly like mine. I was also told the same thing by my family and doctor I took advil, norcos, and other mess nothing helps. I was just wondering if yoi tried the help that was suggested to you and did that help you.

  82. HOW DO ONE TREAT EMOTIONAL STRESS PAIN BECAUSE IT SEEMS AS IF IT’S THE CAUSE OF MY PAIN ON MY RIGHT SHOULDER PAIN. I CAN FEEL MORE WHEN I TUCK IN MY CHIN AND WHEN I TURN MY HEAD MORE TO THE RIGHT.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Sefako, emotional stress can be treated by removing/avoiding the cause of the stress or learning how to cope with it. Stress can increase the tension of the upper back muscles and thus cause shoulder pain. Also think if you maybe have a herniated disc in he neck.

  83. Ron says:

    I had an MRI report a few years ago due to neck and arm pain. Report states varying degrees of foraminal stenosis from C2 to T1. I have had good results with cortisone injections every 6-9 months. It has been 9 months now since my last one and recently I started feeling pain under my left shoulder blade and around the shoulder socket. My shoulder also crunches when I rotate it with my arm down in a neutral position. BTW I have IBS too, as per beginning of article. I am wondering if the crunching when I move my shoulder is due to nerve compression. I am familiar with the pain of nerve compression but the crunching/grinding seems like it would be more of a structural problem. I put off having the injections because I have had about 8 of them and I know they are not good for the tissues and that they are cumulative. In other words you don’t really recover from the damage of the cortisone. There was nothing I know of that brought on the shoulder issues.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Ron, crunching/grinding is not likely from a nerve compression, at least not as a direct effect. Theoretically, nerve compression could result in muscle weakness and this in slightly changed architecture in the shoulder and this in grinding, but that’s pure speculation. Grinding could arise from the inside of the shoulder joint or from ligaments around it (shoulder capsule) or from muscle tendons. I can’t say if this is from steroids, but there could be an association. You may want to ask an orthopedist what is it and if any imaging investigation would reveal more. IBS can trigger referred pain in the right or left shoulder/shoulder blade (in this case, pressure upon the shoulder blade would not aggravate the pain), but does not cause grinding. Nerve compression in the neck can cause pain along the medial border of the shoulder blade on the affected side, though.

  84. Cindy Kinnoin says:

    I am a 55 year old female who has been suffering with chronic pain for two years now. I began to have mild pain in my right upper back between my spine and scapula. I went to a chiropractor which did not help. I then went to my Dr. who gave me muscle relaxants and anti inflammatory meds. The pain got a little better, but then 16 months ago, it turned into a sharp stabbing pain that only gets better when I lay down or sleep. It never goes away and gets worse when I sit for a short period of time or use my right arm. I have knots and ropes in my back, shoulder and upper arm (front and back). I have had an MRI which didn’t really reveal anything to cause the pain. I have had trigger release injections, massages, PT, exercises, many chiro. visits. I also had an abdominal ultrasound which was negative. The pain seems to be getting worse and I don’t know what else to try. I am in tears about every day due to the pain. I can’t do things I have always enjoyed doing.I have never been injured or
    in an accident.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Cindy, if the pain radiates down the outer side of your arm, it can be from a herniated disc in the neck, even if an MRI did not show much changes. The pain between the spine and shoulder blade can also be from a herniated disc in the neck. The first treatment for this is avoiding prolonged sitting and excessive neck bending…

      If the pain radiates down the inner side of your arm, it can be myofascial pain syndrome, possibly due to increased muscle tension in the upper back. Such pain can be caused by increased muscle tension in the upper back or excessive arm use. Avoiding triggers could help.

      I believe the first thing you need is an exact diagnosis, probably by an orthopedist.

  85. Russell says:

    Starting about 3 weeks ago my upper left back developed a tired feeling that was relieved by laying down for 15 minutes, very refreshing. About a week ago this area became very painful – a strong ache, not shooting pain. Since then I’ve been taking a prednisone-like medication, treating the area with 15-30 minute stretches with a heating pad, laying down on my back (laying down on either side is not beneficial, actually makes it worse).

    There’s been no trauma to bring this on – no falls, no bumps, no position-caused discomfort to initiate the condition.

    I am 84, in otherwise good condition. Hiking, biking, swimming, appropriate weight, mostly a healthy diet, maintain my own single-family house with laundry, cooking, up and down stairs, minor housekeeping.

    What are the likely causes and paths forward?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Russel, can you say more exact location of the pain (in relation to the tip of the shoulder, shoulder blade and spine)? Is the area tender to touch and if yes, is it only one spot or a broader area?

  86. Amith says:

    Hello. I am 25 yrs old and I have this pain under my shoulder blades and lower back. The only problem is that it keeps on changing from one place to another. But never goes away. If today I have the pain in my left shoulder blade then after 2 days it will be in my right one or my lower back. I was diagnosed with Zeronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 15. I understand from all my research that it cannot be cured permanently. But after a session of Ayurvedic treatment that lasted for 3 months I was temporarily cured of it. I was diagnosed with the same problem again at the age of 20 and again after 3 months of Ayurvedic treatment I was able to walk again. But since about 2 yrs ago I have been having these pains in my lower back and shoulder blades. I did tests for my RH factor to determine if it’s another episode of the arthritis. But it came out negative. I would be really grateful if someone here could advice me on what this is or how I should proceed.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Amith, one information you might want to get is, if your spine has been affected. In rheumatoid arthritis, bone spurs can appear and press upon the spinal nerves, which could cause pains you have described. Ask your doctor if MRI of the spine would give you more information.

  87. Sally says:

    Hey Evan I have had a shooting pain near the back of my neck it gos right down my back to my kidneys it burns but when it stops I feel really cold it’s painful and feels like it gos down in a streight lin the pain stops in my kidneys …

  88. ondine pannell says:

    Hello i have burning in my neck and pain in my left arm and shoulder pain and feels like i have stabbing pains in my chest ?? please can someone help what this may be and treatment
    Many thanks

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Ondine, from so little information it’s not possible to give any helpful suggestion. You may want to visit an orthopedist.

  89. Kingsley says:

    Hello;

    This is a very informative article, thanks for sharing.

  90. Elijah says:

    Am 56 years and I have pain on my left arm sometime I feel very un easy can I take pain medicine if so which one

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Elijah, I can’t answer this. I suggest you to visit a doctor who can figure out is it a muscle, joint, nerve or heart-related pain.

  91. Dana says:

    What is causing pain under right shoulder blade that continues to right abdomen area above rib cage?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Few possible causes are muscle strain, a gallbladder, liver or lung condition or trapped gas in the bowel. You can read details of these conditions above in the article.

  92. Heartless much? says:

    Please no:

    Chronic Pain is real pain. Maybe they misunderstood. Get that stick out of your arse and respect the fact that they were trying to help.

    Thanks 🙂 Have a nice day.

  93. Rosalie says:

    I need advice for my shpulder and scapular pain i am suffering for 4 years

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Rosalie, from this little info I cannot comment much. You may want to see a doctor.

  94. carole says:

    MY RIGHT SHOULDER BLADE FRONT AND BACK ARE CAUSING ME PAIN THAT EVEN RUNS DOWN TO MY RIGHT THUMB.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Carole, it sounds as a neurological problem to me, for example, a herniated disc in the neck or thoracic outlet syndrome. You may want to see a neurologist.

  95. Juvy says:

    Hello,

    Been looking for solutions and information online that can help me with the pain I am suffering right now. My left scapulae is aching. The left side of my chest, from the shoulder level down to the rib cage is also aching. My left and right hands are also numb and painful. I have also been coughing for almost a year already. I weigh 85 kilos and I stand 5’3′. My nape area is also painful at times, and just recently I always feel like im about to vomit and lightheaded. My entire back is also painful when I breath in deeply. And oh, my both my feet are swollen. I had a check up with a physician last April and Ive gone through various tests including ecg, xray, 2d echo, lipid something test, FBS. The results are all normal. Please help me know what is this I am feeling right now.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Juvy, I’m not sure if I can say anything smarter than the doctors who made tests you have mentioned.

  96. Richard says:

    I’m having SEVERE pain radiating from 6 VERY VERY tender and knife stabbing trigger points. The pain is all around my shoulder blades. I’m guessing my whole scapula is in complete disarray. Message and acupuncture are not working. Heat and ice packs feel good but only while applying.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Richard, this sounds as myofascial pain syndrome to me – it is possibly aggravated by a bad posture during sitting or some repeating physical activity. The usual massage does not work, but “myofascial release” might be more effective. For this to help long term, you would probably need to identify and remove the cause, though.

  97. Kate says:

    Dear Dr. Modric,
    (posted earlier but somehow it was associated with an old repky from another poster, so reposting)

    I just had to write and thank you for your deducated effort at posting the incredibly informative article in the first place — this kind of reliable info is hard to come by online — and for your constant availability and immediate replies to all the posters of questions. Thank you!

    I don’t have specific shoulder blade pain except occasionally from too much writing at the laptop, but I do have a problem for which I’ve been unsuccessfully seeking information. About a year ago my neck started cracking upon turning my head to the right to respond to folks coming to my desk. The cracking was extreme — exactly like when a chiro cracks the neck intentionally (which I’ve learned is now prohibited due to risk of stroke). Then my neck developed sound like gravel crunching when I move it, and fairly intense aching pain and stiffness with smaller crackling sounds. My right shoulder blade exhibits what you describe as that popping scapula condition and occasionally my right fingers tingle.

    I fell off a high ladder onto a wwoden deck and landed on my butt about 10 years ago. Also, I have very little space between 3 of my cervical discs (per x-ray done by an orthopedic surgeon a year ago). He didn’t have any diagnosis for me and just recommended massages and physical therapy.

    Is this enough info to give me your thoughts about possible next steps? (I’m a youngish 60 years old.)

    Kind regards,

    Kate

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Kate, I have studied medicine but I do not work as a doctor. From what you have described, it seems that crackling comes from your neck spine, possibly from osteoarthritis. Tingling in the fingers can arise from one of your cervical spinal nerves, because you’ve mentioned narrowed spaces between the vertebra. A pinched nerve can cause pain but sometimes only tingling – you can read an article about a herniated disc. It is not necessary a disc that presses upon a nerve, it could be also a bone spur from a vertebra. An X-ray can show bone spurs and narrowed spaces between the vertebra but not bulging discs – for this MRI is usually used. I’m not trying to suggest you to have MRI just like that – tingling in the fingers could be also from carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if you work on a computer a lot.

      Snapping scapula usually develops after repeated exercise that involves arms (swimming, throwing) and, by itself does not result in tingling fingers. Crackling in the scapula appears when you lift your arm sideways.

      I suggest you to visit an orthopedist.

  98. Asif anwar says:

    My name is asif anwar. I have sever pain in my right scapula. There is no history of anytype of hitting anything or falling.doctors injected pain killer like steroid four times in scapula and i also took physiotherapy but there is no relief.my age is 52.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Asif, to make any meaningful comment, I would need to know when did your pain start, is it constant, is it triggered or relieved by anything, does it radiate anywhere, is scapula sensitive to touch, etc.

  99. sarah says:

    Hello i am 21 i have recently had this pain over my left shoulder blade it only lasts for a few seconds and at random times, i could be driving, sleeping and it will just hurt thats the only place that will hurt. what could this be?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Sarah, if lifting the arms, shrugging or pressing on the spot where do you feel pain aggravates pain, the origin of the pain is probably in the upper back muscles (which often goes away on its own) or in a pinched spinal nerve in the neck. If you can’t provoke the pain, then it is probably referred pain that originates in the heart or bowel. If worried, go to a doctor.

  100. keRa says:

    Hey please help , I have a pain in my left shoulder blade, neck and arm. What could it be. The pain get worse if I use the left hand

    1. Jan Modric says:

      keRa, hard to say just from this. The pain that travels down the outer side of the arm is often from a pinched nerve in the neck spine.

  101. PHYLLIS HAMRICK says:

    HI I HAVE A PLACE BESIDE MY RIGHT SHOULDER BLADE THAT HURTS AND GOES DOWN MY SHOULDER AND ARM JUST BELOW THE ELBOW. CAN YOU HELP ME.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Phyllis, such pain can arise from a pinched nerve in the neck spine (a herniated disc in the neck or cervical radiculopathy). I suggest you to see a neurologist.

  102. chris njoro says:

    i have had a sharp left shoulder blade pain for 2 months now… its on and off and is increasing in intensity. i usually pull back my shoulder to realive the pain. assistance please

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Chris, it sounds like a problem with the local muscles or nerves. I strongly suggest you to see an orthopedist.

  103. Patty says:

    I have had pain under my right shoulder blade that began anout 10 yesrs ago as a pin prick that itched and hurt. This pinprick has now become a deep pain that effects my whole shoulder blade. It never stops aching just differes in intensity day to day. Sometimes its so unbearable that the pain causes all of my muscles to tense up giving me headaches and increased pain when I breath. As of about a week ago while playing with my little boy I felt something like a bubble pop which itself didnt hurt but suddenly it was painful to breath and the pain was shooting down my arm. The breathing has gotten better, not so fiery but the ache is deep and intense, I had to request T 3’s to be able to get through my work days. My doc has refered me to a phisiotherapist and Im hoping to hod for some resolution to this as I feel my past complaints over many years have just been brushed off as minor or imagined. It hurts so bad and I don’t think its right that anyone should just have to continue to live with such pain. I want answers, Im tired of being brushed off, Im hurting everyday even at rest. Does anyone have any ideas, know of anyone whos actually gotten a diagnosis with something similar?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Patty, it is very unlikely that anyone will solve this problem for you online. I believe your problem is real and before anything I think it is extremely important for you to prepare answers on the following questions for your doctor (orthopedist):
      – When you stand or sit still, where exactly do you feel pain?
      – If someone touches the painful area, is it tender to touch? Yes or no.
      – Where exactly does the pain radiate–you said arm–but is it the inner or outer side of arm and is it limited to upper arm?
      – Which exact moves or body positions trigger pain (lifting an arm in a certain direction, lying on the back…)
      – Do you have any other symptoms–you said headache–…?
      – 10 years ago when the pain started, did anything happen what could cause or trigger your pain (an injury, hard physical work)?

      Such pain is usually caused by muscle problems in the shoulder blade area. Two terms to think of (among other) are “myofascial pain syndrome” and “serratus anterior muscle pain.” In these two conditions the pain usually radiates down the *inner* side of the arm. Additionally you might have some anatomical condition, which makes you more susceptible for pain; an orthopedist should know how to find out this (maybe by X-ray, ultrasound…)

      Another possibility is a herniated disc in the neck with pain in the neck, near the medial border of a shoulder blade on one side, in the shoulder and down the *outer* side of an arm.

  104. sam says:

    Hiii plz help me I’m suffering from left lower shoulder and jaw pain from last one year I consulted with doctor and also done with treatments but no effect every night it keep paining . Plz suggest me what to do

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Sam, to get more help, you would need to explain:
      – Where exactly in the shoulder do you feel pain?
      – Is the pain constant or triggered by arm movements?
      – How old are you?
      – Do you think it’s work- or injury related?

      One possible cause for shoulder pain in combination with jaw pain is myofascial pain syndrome caused by increased tension and muscle knots in the shoulder muscles, but I can’t say if this is it in your case.

  105. Shay says:

    So I had the exact same pain as well and couldn’t be sure what it is. I did not fall, however I have been using my right arm more than my left. Since now last week Friday it has been so much in pain. I am thinking that it could be how I am sleeping at night. Then the tingling pain with numbness behind my R arm going down occur for a brief seconds and goes away, but the pain is still there.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Shay, if the pain goes down the *outer* side of your upper arm, it could be from a herniated disc in the neck. Anyway, if pain continues, you may want to see an orthopedist.

  106. Not sure if anyone can help me but here are my symptoms. I am fine when I am standing up but when I sit I have a strong ache in my lower right shoulder blade sometimes it tangles in that area as well. And also take those on the opposite side of my body on my chest sometimes. I’m a right-handed tennis pro and I spend a lot of time reading balls in a repetitive motion. I also strained my back a year ago while picking up something kind of heavy. I noticed this pain start shortly after that happened.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      William, it sounds that your initial problem was a muscle strain. With time, increased muscle tension (myofascial pain syndrome) has maybe developed in that area. Your problem will likely persist if you intend to continue with your physical activities. An orthopedist or a sport doctor should be able to give you an exact diagnosis and help you learn some exercises to relax upper back muscles. Tangles (pins and needles?) can be a symptom of an additional problem – herniated disc in the neck.

  107. Dan says:

    I have a lot of pain from In between my shoulder blades and down them,in shoulders and down to my forarmes.is there an one out with the same problems.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Dan, an orthopedist can tell you what it is: for example, myofascial pain syndrome, herniated disc in the neck or something other.

  108. Pilinka says:

    My mother has pancreatic cancer and has been having episodes of incredible intense left shoulder pain sometimes with nausea vomiting and profuse sweating. She also had a case of tako tsubo, which she has now recovered from, however she is still getting these shouldler pains which the doctors have not been able to explain. Do you have any insight or ideas? She has had ekg’s blood work for heart markers, and ultrasound of the heart none of which show anything.
    Could referred pain from the pancreas be so intense as to mimic a heart attack?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Pilinka, yes pancreatic cancer can cause severe pain that can mimic heart attack, but the pain in pancreatic cancer is usually constant while heart attack occurs as a one time event.

      The pain in the left shoulder blade could be referred pain from the pancreas or nearby organs. The cancer can pull or push upon the diaphragm muscle that divides the abdomen and chest cavity — this can cause pain in the left shoulder blade. If this is the case (I can’t say if it is), then-possibly–an abdominal surgery that would release pressure upon the diaphragm could resolve the pain. You may want to discuss this with an abdominal surgeon or a doctor who specializes in internal medicine.

  109. Kim says:

    Hi there I hurt my shoulder whilst at work as was advised to see the company doctor whom did a ultrasound & injected the joint with a cortisone injection as there was apparent inflammation in the joint. Eight months past and another 3 injections I was still getting pain in the shoulder and when used a lot my little fingers would go numb. The doctor advised me he didn’t know what I was doing to aggravate so much.

    I went to my personal doctor and got a referral to see a specialist whom carried out a MRI indicating I had a slap tear 2 half inch tears in the front and rear of my labrum, I had surgery got everything reattached however still after 2 years im still in pain and the specialist had indicated further surgery will not help as its instability I now suffer, well the last cortisone injection has worn off and i have trigger point pain in the rear of the should that then carries around the delt and into my peck. most days i get random stabbing pain in the top rear of the delt and ongoing numbness in my little fingers. i have had a nerve test that didn’t show an impingement?? if i rest on that shoulder it goes completely numb and i am completely unsure what to do as for the last year and a half i continue to do all the recommended exercises?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Kim, numbness probably means that a nerve is pinched at some point — in the neck spine, near the armpit, in the elbow or in the wrist. You may want contact a neurologist. Another possibility would be myofascial pain syndrome due to increased tension in the muscles around the shoulder.

  110. Rebecca Conway says:

    Having pain in the back of the left shoulder with pain going up into my head back of my ear—-No pain in my arm or anywhere else in my body. I did fall a few years ago and landed on my back and head. Had a brain scan and x-rays nothing found.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Rebecca, such pain can be due to a herniated disc in the neck. an MRI of the neck can show that. But it is a neurologist who can tell, if this makes sense.

  111. Geoffery Praise says:

    I have done all medical treatment but i still feel pain in my back,what should i do to the pain.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Geoffery, first you need to know what is your exact diagnosis. Different conditions that cause back pain require different treatment.

  112. Cynthia Bell says:

    I have been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and have had 3-MR Is which shos w several bulging disc in neck. I have been living with chronic pain in my right shoulder, under my armpit, and my upper quadrant of my abdomen. I have burning sensations , tingling, numbness and pinched nerve pain for over twenty years. I was referred to neurologist eight years ago but he didn’t want to do survey not would he explain why. Can you give me an idea of why? I also have had crags to the right hip due to osteoarthritis. Can you advise me on if surgery wld be senseless?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Cynthia, pain in the shoulder and tingling sensations may be from herniated discs in the neck, but upper abdominal pain could be from something else, not sure. In general, surgery can help, but the success depends on the actual condition in each person. I suggest you to find an orthopedist or neurologist whom you can trust and ask him or her for explanation. A doctor may suggest you certain exercises first. If not already you can try using a shallow pillow.

  113. Diana says:

    I have had a bad left shoulder blades ache/pain for 3 days now. I’ve tried topical creams in which seem to help some as well as the n said meloxicam. I sleep on my left side with my arm under my head. So I’m thinking that’s the cause of the problem. Is this a muscle strain that I’m feeling? I haven’t injured it. What is a good topical cream that has am anti inflammatory in it?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Diana you did not say anything about the nature of the pain, is it burning, is the area tender to touch or if pain is aggravated by shoulder movements. Muscle pain is most common, but if you feel it is a skin, it may be shingles, for example. A herniated disc in the neck can also cause such pain.

  114. Thandaza says:

    Hellow I have a problem in my Right shoulder blade for now I used cooling jell to rub but it same please help me, this thing is so pained.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Thandaza, hard to comment after so little description. One of the causes of burning pain is shingles (even if rash has not appeared yet).

  115. Drea says:

    Hello!
    I have been dealing with upper back and behind the shoulder blades pain the started over two years ago. I did not fall, twist, etc., that I remember which could be the onset of the pain. I woke up one morning with a really bad cramp-like feeling behind my left shoulder blade which had traveled over to the right side and is not all across the upper back. I have tried PT, acupuncture, 5 chiropractors, blood work, etc. and nothing works. I have an office job and have a stand-up desk to see if that would help which hasn’t. Does anyone have any ideas on what is going on or what to do?? I recently had 3 MRIs done on my cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine which shows a few herniated discs. However, I am unsure those are the causes are my pain. I do NOT have lower back pain at all.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Drea, for the start: Write down the exact pain location, where does it radiate, what are the triggers and relievers, is it better or worse at night? Does bending or twisting the trunk or lifting the arms above the shoulder level aggravate or relieve the pain?

  116. Taylor says:

    I am 17 years old and I have this terribly sharp pain behind my right shoulder blade. Every now and then it will pop which really hurts. I’ve had this pain for a few weeks now. And even though after watching greys we could all be doctors I would highly appreciate real advice! Thanks

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Taylor, popping can occur when the scapula is not aligned properly, in inflamed tendons and shoulder joint conditions. It is an orthopedist who can give you a diagnosis.

  117. Phyllis Rodrigues says:

    My mri shows that My left shoulder tendon has a tear of 1.2 cm. My shoulder hurts badly and cannot lift my hand, nor comb my hair. Do i have to undergo an operation or will it heal with medicines, exercises and rest

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Phyllis, if it is an incomplete tear and you are otherwise not heavily using the arm, it may heal with rest and medicines. Your doctor can tell, what are the treatment options.

  118. DEBORAH TROTMAN says:

    hi i have had mild to severe shoulder blade pain only on the left side of my body i am a type 2 diabetic have had reoccuring UTI,S and kidney infections sometimes it feels like my heart would rip out my chest i also have gastropresis please help

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Deborah, a doctor can tell if the pain comes from the upper back muscles or is related with any problems you’ve mentioned.

  119. carlhardy says:

    i nad kiddey cancer now all my bones hustle and in pian top to bottom

  120. Catherine Kramer says:

    I also have a problem, but its probabaly just sore muscles, this has never happened before though. I’m 15 and i play volleyball club and school. I recently had team placement on monday and another day of team placement today (wednesday). I hadn’t played since school ball ended which was mid october. When i played Monday as you can imagine i was a bit rusty since i also hadn’t stretched before playing. Today is when i starting have pain in my back below the bottom inner corner of my left shoulder blade. It hurts everytime I breathe or so anything. I don’t think I tore anything and I did’nt fall on my back, but I gues I couldve landed wrong and it did soemthing to my back or it could jut be a very sore muscle or from bad posture and my heavy school backpack. Just making sure im not dying or anything haha. Thanks anything would be helpful

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Catherine, one possibility is that the pain comes from overuse of the serratus anterior muscle, which runs by the side of the rib cage and is attached to the lower angle of the scapula. We have a separate article about it. If this is the cause, the pain should go away or become milder within several days. It can help if you have some rest from swinging the left arm.

  121. Tera says:

    just yesterday morning after I had woke up, I started having pain from the inner part of my shoulder blade the right one, straight up to my neck, it hurt last night of being able to move my head, and hurt to move my arm as well. To tip my head forward it hurts and pulls, to tip it towards the right i can’t, just hurts more. most everything i do affects it, what would you believe it is, thank you.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Tera, such pain distribution occurs, for example, in a herniated disc in the neck. Now, herniated disc would not appear all of a sudden, except if you had some injury. So, maybe it’s just a muscle strain.

  122. Jocelyn Mayum says:

    I’ve been experiencing pain on my right shoulder, down the right back and up to the right side of my head for some years now. It’s a burning feeling n it makes the right back bulge out a bit. I’ve been to physio and it relieved the pain for a while but it comes back on again. The burning feeling on my head breaks out into sores, just on the surface of the skin. Please help..

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Jocelyn, my first thought was shingles (Herpes zoster), but a doctor can give you a diagnosis. Infectious disease specialists deal with this.

  123. Erica Atkinson says:

    Every now and then i have a a tired ache in in left shoulder which last for a couple of days. i am a right hander. iam now having an occasional stiff neck, is it a cause for concern.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Erica, I can’t exclude anything, but such pain can develop if you have a desk job and you lean on one elbow occasionally or have a certain sitting posture (poked chin, bent neck…). Or if you carry a bag over one shoulder or repeatedly reach for something with the left arm…

      If the pain is not getting worse with time, there may be no big problem. A possible underlying cause would be a herniated disc in the neck. In this case, you may have an occasional pain/tingling in the arm on the same side.

  124. Aria says:

    its been 2 weeks i have so much pain such as badly aching on my right shoulder blade. i went to massage, apply hot patch and hot lotion to reduce pain. Stretching my arms while doing desk work, cause me pain and i need to rely on my pillow ( put it right in the center of my right and left shoulder blade).

    tightness all over my top shoulder to my neck. please give some advice, what i need to check on or worry? thank you very much.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Aria, you may want to visit a doctor.

  125. RITA says:

    On Nov 3, 2016 i went to a Exercise class for beginner the name of it is called Aerial its like a trapze well, i did a flip hitting my back of head and injured C-7 spine doctor said it was Whipplash..its now jan 2017 and am still in pain. having a like burning sensation.all day i tried ice pack hot pack exercise. and still nothing should i work out maybe it will go away ?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      RITA, if the pain persists, you can ask a doctor for exact diagnosis and what is the best treatment.

  126. eric says:

    When I sit in certain postions and at night when I sleep and cough my right shoulder blade creates uncomfortable pain? Would greatly appreciate it if you have any idea what is the cause. Eric

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Is the pain the shoulder blade or between the blades? Does the pain go away if you put the right hand on the top of your head? Does the pain radiate down the arm? Pain that changes with the body position is in most cases muscular – from bad posture.

  127. Kathy says:

    I am a 54 yr old very healthy woman and have constant pain under the left shoulder blade with burning sensation and swelling on the left side. Primarily my left breast, rib cage and now is radiating to the lower back. No position is comfortable. I went to the ER and was diagnosed with Pneumonia and Pleurisy. They did an chest xray and that is how this was diagnosed. Blood pressure normal, no fever, no cold nor I’ve had one. I have not one symptom of these two diagnoses. My left side feels like it is on fire inside and out.
    No rash to point to shingles, No bumps to point to breast cyst. I was given Hydo for pain, 3 days of zythromicin and 8oomg of Ibuphrophen. Nothing is working.
    looking for a medical direction. Can anyone help???

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Kathy, pleurisy can cause pain during deep inhaling. Pneumonia, for example, atypical pneumonia, can be sometimes without symptoms. Did they give you any antibiotics? The swelling is visible? I’m not sure if swelling can develop in pneumonia or pleurisy.

  128. Naila zahid says:

    Hey there 🙂 i am suffering from a very bad pain in my left shoulder blade … It’s getting worse day by day .. i couldn’t able to sleep properly at night because of this pain.. o can’t even raise my hand … Please recommend me something..

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Nail, such pain can be caused, for example, by a pinched nerve in the neck part of the spine. I strongly recommend to visit a doctor who may be able to tell more on the basis of physical examination.

  129. Corey says:

    Hi, I’m a 16 year old male, and I’ve been experiencing bad pulsating pains in my lower right shoulder blade. Sometimes it will go down my arm, when this occurs, the pain is usually excruciating. I’ve had it for a couple of years now, and a year ago I was diagnosed with scoliosis. However, I read that scoliosis doesn’t usually cause any pain. I’ve been to a physiotherapist, but there was lots of confusion and complications. They refused to X-ray me, under certain conditions. I will also experience spasms in the same place… When it started, I could hardly sleep at night, because the pain was intolerable, but since I’ve had to deal with it for so long, it’s not as bad… Please give me even the slightest hint of a clue towards what’s happening, as the doctors where I live are useless, constantly telling me it’s merely growing pains, when it’s obvious it isn’t.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Corey, without any investigations result I can’t say much. Roughly, I think there are two possibilities. One is that something is pressing on a spinal nerve high in your chest or neck and cause pain. It could be a herniated disc or any other hard part of the spine. An X-ray is not enough for diagnosis; they usually do an MRI. The other possibility is that you have muscle spasms because of the curvature of the spine. Pain from muscle spasm can also travel down the arm. I strongly suggest you to find a dedicated orthopedist you can trust and who will be able to make a diagnosis and tell is it a neurological or muscular pain or something other. I agree that scoliosis on its own does not usually cause pain.

      1. Corey says:

        Thank you very much for the reply! I’ll look into what you have mentioned.

  130. Philip says:

    I am Philip, I have burning sensation on my two shoulders…I don’t really know what is the cause although I was going to gym for month I have never gym in my life that was the first time..please what can you advise me to do.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      I can’t exclude anything, but regarding your newly started exercise it can be delayed onset muscle soreness or some slight muscle straining.

  131. vinay Shrivastava says:

    Hi
    I have sever pain in my right shoulder which goes down to my right hand. I have numbness in my fingers ( heavy in index finger and thumb and less in other fingers). The get relieve from pain while laying down but which sitting in shoots up. I feel severe pain between my shoulder and elbow and just below elbow. There was swelling earlier but its now reduced.I feel that someone hitting bones with sharp tickling pain. Pain is not always, its maximum during day time and subsidized post afternoon.
    Kindly advice

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Such pain can be from a pinched nerve, either in the neck (herniated disc) or below the clavicle (thoracic outlet syndrome). I suggest you to visit an orthopedist soon.

  132. nik says:

    Hi
    I have this pain since 1 year
    Pain in left shoulder blades, pain in neck, stiffness in shoulder, stiffness in left arm, pain in lower left shoulder blade with this I also have pain in my left leg and stiffness in my left leg ankle. I get vomiting sensation and nausea throughout the day my mouth gets dry even if I drink lots of water I m not able to raise my left hand for more than 5 mins it’s starts paining. I have been identified with cervical spine disc space loss between c4 and c5 but that is very minor as per doctor also I have kidney stone 2 kidney stone even my lower back also pain I even feel a niddle pinching on my left chest and left rib I even feel sharp pain in my middle spine. I have under gone many test but it’s not helping me. Plz help me

    1. Jan Modric says:

      Cervical spine disc loss that appears “minor” on an MRI can cause severe symptoms. So, it is possible that your upper back and arm pain is from that. You can ask the same doctor for further treatment or ask another doctor for a second opinion.

  133. Jackie says:

    Please tell me whats wrong my upper right side of my back is killing me in the morning my whole body suxs cause i have a slew of stuff wrong w me bt this is new. Its like right behind my breast on the right side and its a constant paim. The more i do the more im in major pain at night. Also its so difficult for me to take a deep breath. I struggle and have to bend ova to try to expand my lungs. Im 33 yrs old and have alot of problems like arthritis sciatica scleroderma and so forth bt this is new!!!!!! Please please please help me!!!!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      I don’t know what it is, but one cause, for example, could be pleurisy (which causes pain during deep breath). I strongly suggest you to get this checked with a doctor.

  134. David L Chartier says:

    Hi there everyone
    Well I am writing this because I acquired something that is not ordinary like some of you. I have burning under my shoulder blade mostly the left side. My Thorax area feels like if you have a knife in it. My left cheek feels like I just had freezing. My nose tingles like I have a spider on it crawling. My forehead and the back of my neck tingles. I get the shivers and this happens through my body. When I breath it feels like I have a sore spot on my lungs. When I go to bed my hole back throbs. Then the fireworks begin. My left arm moves on it’s own my shocks go down my leg.I was told it is the Central Nervous System Nervous system And they don’t know what causes it or how to fix it. I am kinda in a very bad place and don’t know where to turn. The neurologist told me the best thing to do is pain management.
    I had many surgeries Disectomy, Rotator cuff tears might be a contributing factor.
    What to do or go would be much appreciated.

    1. Jan Modric says:

      I encourage you to insist to get the exact diagnosis first. You can ask your current neurologist or someone else whom you trust more.

  135. Ilse says:

    Dear Jan Modric,

    I am not commenting for your advise, but just wanted to say you are amazing!
    Many Dr’s these days don’t take the time to listen well, and investigate all possibilities prior to handing out a prescription.

    Your original post was on November 25, 2014 and as of March 2017 you are still responding to comments from your readers. This is very rarely the case online. So on behalf of all your readers who have gained advise from you over the years, I would like to say thank you, thank you and thank you again. You and your work is appreciated so much and is so invaluable.

    Many blessings.

  136. Renee Wemmer - Loredo says:

    I have a very sharp constant pain under my right shoulder blade . I have had it off and on my whole life . I can pin point the pain with one finger . It feels good when I put pressure on it . its always there . Sometimes its worse then other times. Not sure what to do about it

    1. Jan Modric says:

      You can get this checked by a doctor.

  137. Salma Bello says:

    Thanks for this information.pls I have a problem.i have had both shoulder pain especially the right shoulder since mid 2009. Although, when I was 11yr , there was a day I was trying to get up quickly from bed , then my neck made a sound.so I couldn’t get up.my parents had to support me up and for a week I couldn’t turn my neck to the right.until I was taken to a local orthopaedic Dr .then the man
    blew the stiff side of my neck. Then my neck became fine. Another incident was that I used to carry heavy texts books in bag hung on my shoulder that was from late 2008 – mid 2009 (when this shoulder pains started). Though the is off and on. but it comes back when am
    stressed psychologically, physically emotionally and when I get angry too. And like

    for two days now I have been taken meloxicam 7.5mg twice daily massaging my shoulder and the entire scapula blade with ointment. I have to do that before I can get some sleep and when I wake up the comes back again. I was expecting the pain to go with these treatments but to no
    avail. Though am under physical ,emotional stress and probably premenstrual syndrome. So I need help to get rid of this pain. I ll appreciate if you reply ASAP because am in pain.thanks.

  138. Salma Bello says:

    Hi I commented but can’t find the it here. What’s the problem?

    1. Jan Modric says:

      The pain caused by physical and emotional stress is usually due to increased muscle tension. Walking without carrying anything may help.

  139. P Harper says:

    I haven’t been to the Chiropractor in years.
    I started with left hip pain for three weeks, went to Chiro two weeks ago and felt better the next day. By the next week visit, I was hurting in my left shoulder blade. Chiro popped me good. Now after the second week I am hurting in both shoulder blades and up into left side of my neck is stiff and having back pain. I have fibro and years ago I had bursitis that turned into frozen left shoulder that lasted two years. After that healed, my right shoulder froze for a year. That was in 2012. What do you think is going on with me? I haven’t had these problems in years. I am 58, I have gained weight since getting my gallbladder out last year. I am currently 5’4 weigh 150 and I am in menopause and gained a lot around my stomach area.
    Thank you!

    1. Jan Modric says:

      You may want to visit an orthopedist.

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