Right Shoulder Blade Pain

This pain can be caused by a minor injury to the muscles of the shoulder or the neck area, a wrong posture, or some underlying health conditions. Learn more the possible causes of this pain.
Chandramita Bora May 4, 2019
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Several different conditions can cause pain in the shoulder blade or scapula, some of which can be minor, while others can be quite serious. The pain in the shoulder blade can be experienced in the left or the right side, and also between the two shoulder blades.
The pain under the left shoulder can be a sign of heart attack, but not many people know that the pain under the right shoulder blade can also be a sign of certain major health problems.
However, this does not mean that this pain is always associated with a serious medical condition. Rather, it can also be caused by factors, like a muscle strain, a wrong posture, an overuse of the shoulder muscles, or any kind of injury to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments of the shoulder and the neck area.

What Can Cause Pain in the Right Scapula?

As mentioned already, this pain can be associated with several conditions, right from a minor injury and muscle strain, to some serious underlying health conditions.

Gallbladder Disease

Gallbladder dysfunction or disease can produce pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. But sometimes, the pain caused by this condition can be felt between the shoulder blades or under the right shoulder. The pain can be mild or severe, and it can begin quite suddenly. The pain can be accompanied by vomiting and sweating at times.


Arthritis of the shoulder joint can also produce pain in the shoulder blade. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can affect both the right and the left shoulders. Osteoarthritis is caused by the age-related degeneration of the cartilage of the joints, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder.
Along with pain, both the conditions can cause stiffness, for which the affected individual can find himself or herself unable to lift the arm.

Liver Disease

As the liver is located below the rib cage, cancer of the liver or other liver diseases can cause pain under the shoulder blade. Sometimes, the pain can be felt between the two shoulder blades as well. A liver abscess can be caused by bacteria and protozoa, which destroy the liver cells and form a cavity, filled with infectious agents and leukocytes.
A liver abscess can produce symptoms, like fever, jaundice, and flu-like symptoms, along with pain near or under the right shoulder blade. On the other hand, the symptoms of liver cancer are, discomfort in the right side of the upper abdomen, a hard lump in the belly, swelling of the abdomen, a feeling of abdominal fullness, and jaundice.

Breast Cancer

The malignant cells can sometimes spread from the breast to the shoulder, and cause shoulder blade pain. The cancer of the right breast can therefore, cause pain below the right shoulder bone, which can be an indicator that the cancer has metastasized.

Other Causes

Sometimes, pain in the shoulder blade or between the shoulder blades can be a sign of heart attack, if it is accompanied by symptoms, like chest pain, shortness of breath, profuse sweating, nausea, and dizziness.
Apart from this, some other possible causes of pain in or under the right scapula are, pinched nerve, muscle spasms, a muscle strain, sprains or shoulder dislocation, an injury or problem in the neck, neck pain, and esophagus cancer.

Treatment and Management

If the pain is not very severe, it can be reduced with adequate rest and the application of heat or a cold pack. You can apply a cold and a hot pack alternately on the area several times a day, in order to get quick relief from the pain and inflammation.
If such simple measures fail to reduce the pain and stiffness, then talk to your physician regarding the use of medications, like pain killers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If the pain does not resolve even after taking medications, then inform your physician as soon as possible.
To sum up, this pain can be caused by various factors. So, before coming to any conclusion regarding the cause of your shoulder blade pain, please consult your physician. Your physician can help determine the underlying causes, and rule out the possibility of serious diseases or disorders.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.