Today, pain in the back and a severe shoulder blade pain are rather widespread among the elderly people and the young people as well. Sometimes pain occurs in different parts of the spine. In this article, we will talk about one of the most common locations of pain in the back: pain in the shoulder blades.
Such pain is a pretty broad concept. That is why the specialists distinguish the following varieties:
- pain beneath the shoulder blade (right or left);
- pain between shoulder blades;
- pain in the blades themselves.
So, What Are the Shoulder Blade Pain Causes?
As a matter of fact, a number of diseases may be the shoulder blade pain causes. And they do not necessarily have to be associated with the spine. Depending on the localization of the pain and presence of the concomitant symptoms, we may only suggest one of the most common diseases associated with back pain under shoulder blade, as well as painful feelings between the shoulder blades. To be completely sure about the diagnosis, a patient should be examined by a doctor.
So, pain in left shoulder blade area is often observed when there is one of the following pathologies:
It is characterized by recurrent, gradually increasing pain, seasonality, fainting or complete elimination of pain immediately after vomiting. The main localization of pain is epigastrium, but it can also spread to the thoracic spine, behind the sternum, to the left side of the body. Almost 75 percent of the patients feel pain relief after vomiting.
Perforation of a stomach ulcer
It is accompanied by an extreme, excruciating pain, often radiating to the left part of the body or supraclavicular region. This condition is usually accompanied by nausea or vomiting. A patient thus looks accordingly: expression of fear, the body covered with cold sweat. To relieve pain, a patient takes a certain position of the body: lying on the back or on the right side, pressing the thighs against the stomach strained with pain. It should be noted that the slightest motion leads to a sharp increase in pain.
Psychological problems turn to be the causes of pain in shoulder blade as well. The patients may feel fever, heaviness, tingling, congestion, or compressing of the chest. Such feelings may be acute or mild, but in any case, they are quite unpleasant for the patient. Often these symptoms affect the lower abdomen or spread to the neck, arm, under the shoulder blade or under the collarbone. Some people say that the heart hardens, flips, “falls down”, and it seems that it is about to pop out. At the same time, they feel anxiety and trepidation. Together, all of these symptoms are a kind of foundation for the development of hypochondriac syndrome in the future. In rare cases, all the above symptoms can be accompanied by feeling of a lump in the throat or air deficiency.
It is preceded by a severe attack of angina. In this case, the patient feels a sharp pain in the chest which often irradiates to the left side of the back and shoulder blade, jaw, and neck. Such pain is not relieved with vasodilating drugs. To ease the pain, they use only narcotic analgesics (morphine). Most of these attacks occur after a physical or emotional stress. Chronic, constant pain in the area may be a sign of heart diseases. One has to be very careful if there is such pain. It is better to contact the doctor either way.
Cervical vertebral osteochondrosis
In cervical vertebral osteochondrosis, the patients suffer from aching, dull, often unilateral pain which is located just below the neck. It often occurs in the morning and wakes up the patients. Pain aggravates by sharp neck flexions and extensions, as well as by high loads on the cervical spine. Pain disappears when the damaged area is treated with warmth (a warm bath, for instance). Very often the patients say that it hurts under the shoulder blade and is reflected in the head or hand. Dizziness, as well as paresthesias often occur around the shoulder area.
Painful feelings are paroxysmal and encircling. They increase during the palpation of the patient, physical activity, walking, deep breathing, sneezing, and coughing. There is also the likelihood of the following symptoms: excessive muscle tension (therefore, the disease is often accompanied by pain under the left shoulder blade, back pain, and heartache), burning, tingling, and various sensory disturbances.
The reasons of pain under the right shoulder blade may be as follows:
- The most likely cause of pain near the right shoulder blade is the muscle spasm of the gallbladder or bile ducts. It is characterized by a very intense, almost unbearable pain which the patients also describe as stitching, cutting, tearing, with its epicenter in the right hypochondrium. Such a condition often causes sharp pain in shoulder and neck, as well as make the pain irradiate to the eye and jaw. The patient screams and constantly changes the position to feel at least a little pain relief. This condition is often accompanied by vomiting and nausea.
- Subphrenic abscess. It is characterized by severe pain which increases with every breath. Often it radiates to the right shoulder blade or shoulder itself. These symptoms are often accompanied by fever and leukocytosis.
- The inflammatory diseases of kidneys (pyelonephritis, nephritis). Such diseases are always accompanied by pain in the lumbar region which is also reflected in the right shoulder blade, in the iliac region, and in the hypochondrium. Frequent and painful urination is one more specific symptom.
Pain behind shoulder blade and between the shoulder blades is often accompanied by a feeling of numbness, chills, as well as pins and needles. And it occurs in the following diseases:
- coronary heart disease;
- hernia of the thoracic section of the spinal column;
- kyphosis or kyphoscoliosis;
- humeroscapular periarthrosis;
- intercostal neuralgia;
- protrusions of the thoracic spine disc;
- duodenal ulcer and stomach ulcer;
- liver and gall bladder diseases.
It should be noted that those people whose professions are associated with the overloads of the rotator cuff (a driver, a designer, a machinist, a seamstress, a doctor, etc.) suffer from persistent muscle pain in the area we mentioned the most.
Pain in the shoulder blades
In some cases, when a person experiences deep muscle pain in the shoulder blades area, the painful feelings may be caused by the diseases that affect the bone (scapula) itself.
- Scapula injury. They occur when the shoulder blades are punched with an application of a great force or when falling down on them. Sometimes it happens that the fracture of the scapula results from a bad fall on the elbow or on a straightened arm. Quite often, these fractures are complicated by the displacement of the lower fragments due to being exposed to the surrounding muscles. This gives rise to severe pain which tends to amplify with the movements of the hands. These injuries are almost always accompanied by swelling. Sometimes you can visually notice some changes in the contours of the shoulder joint.
- Winged scapula. This pathology usually develops after the paralysis of the trapezoid, rhomboid muscle, and serratus anterior muscle. Paralysis may develop due to myopathy, nerve damage or neuroinfections. There may also be a traumatic winged scapula which develops after multiple injuries in the forearm or damage of the long thoracic nerve. This pathology is most common in athletes and circus performers.
- Snapping scapula. In this disease, patients feel their scapula snap in the shoulder joint which is sometimes accompanied by a feeling of heaviness and mild pain.
- Osteomyelitis of the scapula. The disease develops as a result of open bone injuries (gunshot wounds) and is accompanied by symptoms of intoxication.
Shoulder Blade Pain Treatment
As you see, the causes of the problem and pain vary. Therefore, the treatment for shoulder blade pain will depend on the proper and timely diagnosis determined by a qualified specialist.
As long as there is a huge number of hypothetical causes of the painful feelings in the shoulder blade area, you should address a specialist you can trust to get your personal program for shoulder blade pain treatment. It is highly advisable to avoid self-medication because if you don’t have the necessary education, it is easy to get confused and get a wrong medication. Improper treatment will either have no result at all or will aggravate deep muscle pain you suffer from and worsen the situation in general.
Visit a proper medical institution. Only a professional in the area will provide the necessary, timely, and qualified help you require. When you suffer from pain in the area, you might need to visit:
- a traumatologist;
- a neuropathologist;
- a cardiologist;
- a general practitioner.
First of all, it is better to visit your local physician who will send you next to a specific doctor to determine the diagnosis and treat the problem as it has to be treated.