Pain in the right or left shoulder blade

Pain in the shoulder blade is a common complaint caused by high loads, a much too hectic lifestyle, incorrect posture and various diseases.

The shoulder blade is a triangular bone that connects the humerus (humerus) to the collarbone.


Causes of pain in the right shoulder blade that is
not caused by serious diseases

Some of the causes of pain in the right shoulder blade are not tied to serious diseases.
However, it is not advisable to ignore pain; it is always correct to inform the doctor about pain that does not have a clear and precise cause.

  • People who sit in front of a computer for professional reasons may feel pain in the right shoulder blade.
  • Carrying a child on the right shoulder can be a cause of pain in the shoulder blade.
  • Daily carrying heavy bags, school books or sacks can cause pain in the right shoulder blade.
  • Wrong posture. Incorrect posture causes pain throughout the body. If you sit on a chair for a long time and lean your spine in the wrong posture, this can lead to muscular tension.
    Excessive exertion of these muscles causes pain around the right and left shoulder blades.
  • Athletes often have discomfort on the right shoulder. A muscle strain during exercise leads to such discomfort.

Main causes of pain in the right shoulder blade due to serious diseases

The following are some of the main causes that can cause pain in the right shoulder blade.

  • Gallbladder problems
    Gallstones and other diseases of the gallbladder cause pain in the right shoulder blade. The concrements prevent the flow of glass and cause pain in the upper abdomen.
    Abdominal pain caused by gallstones can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.
    Usually you can feel this pain after a heavy and fatty meal.
  • Liver
    Liver diseases (tumor and abscess) cause pain in the right shoulder blade. Liver cancer is responsible for discomfort on the shoulder as it spreads to other parts of the body. A liver abscess is a bacterial infection that causes pain in the shoulder region (Sukhjeet Singh – 2013).
    Symptoms of liver disease also include itching.
  • Rotator cuff
    When the muscles of the rotator cuff (supraspinatus muscle, teres minor muscle, subscapular muscle, infraspinatus muscle) are injured, pain occurs. These four muscles and their tendons unite to stabilize the humeral head in the joint socket, which is necessary with every movement.
  • Arthritis
    Arthritis can cause stabbing pain in the shoulder region.
    It also limits the movement of the arm.
    Arthritis pain can be relieved with medication, rest, and physical therapy.

Pain in the left shoulder blade

Causes and risk factors

During intense physical exertion (picking up weights), muscle tear may occur.

Bursae are liquid-filled “bags”. They are located between bones and muscles and work together with many other structures.
During a contraction and relaxation of the muscles, the bursae act as shock absorbers: their task is to avoid friction.
The inflammation of a bursa (bursitis) can cause pain.

In this condition, the pain radiates from the shoulder to the arm and into the hand.
The patient feels constant pain at the base of the cervical spine or between the shoulder blades, especially with rotation, extension and lateral inclination of the neck.

Cold and influenza
One of the main symptoms of influenza is a diffuse physical malaise.
Cold, fever and general malaise are the main signs of flu. The shoulder muscles can stiffen.
Draughts or air conditioning can cause contracture of the trapezius or intercostal muscles up to the armpit and the anterior chest area or into the chest.

Poor posture
The malposition of the shoulder at rest is one of the most common causes of shoulder complaints.

Trigger points
These points are very sensitive to the touch.

Fracture of the shoulder blade is one of the causes of bone pain in the shoulder. An accident can lead to a “jump” in the bone.

Impingement syndrome (collision)
Impingement syndrome occurs when the humeral head approaches the shoulder roof (part of the shoulder blade) too closely. This pathology causes inflammation of the tendons and bursa inside the joint.
The strong compression can lead to a muscle injury in the rotator cuff.

Other causes

  • An inflamed gallbladder and existing gallstones cause pain around the right shoulder blade. Rarely, complaints can also occur on the left side.
  • An inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis) causes pain in the shoulder blade. Complaints originating from the pleura (Kamyar et al. 2008) or pericardium can also be felt on the left side.
  • Peptic ulcers or intestinal ulcers cause pain in the shoulder blades.
  • Pain during a heart attack (O’Keefe-McCarthy – 2008) can radiate through the nerves into the back of the chest.
  • Conditions such as pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and aortic dissection (Smith et al. 2011) can be the cause of left-sided shoulder blade pain.
  • The Pancoast tumor is localized on the front of a lung. One of the main symptoms of this cancer is stabbing pain that radiates into the collarbone and reaches the elbow.

Myocardial infarction
In men, sudden pain in the shoulder is a symptom of a heart attack, a less common symptom in women is pain between the shoulder blades. A heart attack is characterized by other symptoms.
If a person experiences many symptoms (except pain below the left shoulder), the emergency doctor must be notified immediately.

Other symptoms of myocardial infarction include (Joy Li Juan Quah et Al. – 2014):

  • profuse sweating,
  • Vertigo
  • pain radiating into the left arm.

Symptoms that occur along with shoulder blade pain

The main symptoms of shoulder disease are pain and a feeling of burning. The discomfort causes movement restrictions in the upper extremity. Other symptoms of shoulder problems include:

  • Numbness
  • changes in skin colour,
  • Deformity
  • Swelling.

Due to the pain in the upper back, the person cannot perform some movements, such as raising the arm.
The patient suffers from restricted movement of the shoulder and can not carry heavy objects.
The symptoms consist of standing, picking up objects from the floor, in a sitting position or lying down while sleeping. It is recommended to visit the family doctor if the pain between the shoulder blades persists for more than 3-4 days.

Cause of shoulder blade pain with deep inhalation

Some people experience mild discomfort in the shoulder blade area during breathing.
Patients breathe only shallowly to avoid a sensation of pain during deep breathing.
Laughter, sneezing, coughing or yawning causes pain in the shoulder blade.


Lung problems
When viruses or bacteria infect the lungs, pain in the shoulder blade may occur.
People diagnosed with lung collapse experience pain with deep breathing.

Nerve contusion
Shoulder pain occurs along with problems of the cervical spine.
When an intervertebral disc leaks and squeezes a nerve, it causes pressure on the nerve root. Bruised nerves cause pain in the shoulder blade.
The symptoms increase when breathing.

Problems with the gallbladder, such as gallstones or cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), cause pain that spreads to the right shoulder blade.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with gallbladder discomfort are nausea, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain after eating.

Rib injuries
If these bones are subjected to strong pressure in an accident, sports contact or violent cough, they can be injured and cause pain in the shoulder blade, which worsens with deep breathing.

What to do? Therapy for pain in the right or left shoulder blade

The following therapies can relieve shoulder blade pain:

  • Painkiller
  • Massage therapy
  • Nutrient-rich diet
  • Regular physical exercises
  • Applying natural ointments
  • Ice bag
  • Hot compresses

A massage with oil is indicated to alleviate the pain.
If the pain does not pass, you should consult a physiotherapist and perform the exercises shown.

Natural remedies for the treatment of shoulder blade pain

In case of severe and persistent pain, the doctor should be consulted immediately.
If the symptoms are not so severe, the following remedies may be useful.

  • Refrain from all daily activities that strain the shoulders. The joint must rest.
  • Ice packs or a massage of the shoulder mainly helps to heal inflammation of the muscle or soft tissue.
  • Hot compresses are an excellent means of pain relief. The application of heat improves blood circulation to the affected muscles. This is the fastest way to heal an injury.
  • If these remedies do not help, a doctor should be consulted. Doctors prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief.
  • An acupuncture session for the shoulder can be helpful.
    It reduces pain, improves movement and stabilizes the joint.
  • Many exercises help reduce muscle pain in the shoulder. The most effective exercises are stretching exercises. Yoga is an excellent gymnastics to relax the muscles.

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