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Shoulder Blade Pain

Ujwal Deshmukh Feb 6, 2019
Due to current lifestyles and stress levels, shoulder blade pain has become a more common occurrence as compared to earlier times. In this article, we will be talking about the various causes behind shoulder pain, besides the related symptoms and the relief measures that can be taken.
The hectic lifestyles that we lead nowadays have resulted in many health related issues becoming a common occurrence, which were not commonly experienced in the old days. One of these problems is should blade pain.
Today, most people work on computers and sit for long hours in the same position without moving around much. This actually puts a lot of stress on various body parts, including the hands, legs, back (lower as well as upper), neck, and also the shoulder blades.
The shoulder blade is a triangular-shaped bone which connects the arm bone with the collarbone. In medical terms, the shoulder blade is known as the scapula.
Shoulder blade pain is actually a more common problem than we think. In most cases there is nothing to be afraid of. However, sometimes it might be a serious issue, and therefore it is important to have an idea about all the important information related to it.

Symptoms Pointing to Shoulder Blade Pain

Pain and inflammation in shoulder blade area are the most noticeable symptoms of shoulder pain. However, such a type of pain also leads to hindrance in free movement of shoulders. Other symptoms of shoulder blade pain are numbness, color changes (white and blue spot could appear on the arm, signifying injury to veins and arteries), deformity, swelling, etc.
In most cases, it is nothing serious and the symptoms vanish within a day or two. But that does not mean it cannot be something serious either. Knowing the various causes would help in understanding this topic better.

Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

Shoulder pain can be experienced on one side only, and not necessarily do both the shoulders have to go through the same problem at the same time. The following are some of the common causes of shoulder pain.

Gallbladder Problems

You might think that shoulder pain and shoulder blade pain is one and the same. However, this is not the case at all times. Sometimes, the cause of shoulder blade pain might be a result of some other disorder existing in your body. One such problem is a gallbladder attack. This mostly causes pain under the right shoulder blade.
Gallstones disrupt the normal bile flow, thereby causing pain the upper region of the stomach. This pain further moves towards the right shoulder blade, and pain is experienced in that area too.


A severe blow or injury to the shoulder blade can result in unbearable pain. However, the degree of pain depends upon the intensity of the injury.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is another reason for pain in the shoulder blade. This is actually a bone-related disorder causing weakness in the shoulders. Moreover, damage to the cartilage running along the shoulder joint can also result in shoulder pain.


Osteoporosis is a condition wherein the level of calcium content in the bones drops considerably, thereby leading to the bones becoming brittle. Such a disorder can also cause shoulder pain.

Improper Posture

Generally, we are not aware of our sitting position, especially when we work for long hours. An incorrect sitting position is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. Sometimes, structural abnormalities that occur in the shoulder muscles and bones could also cause shoulder blade pain.

Liver Abscess

This is a condition that is caused by bacteria. The liver gets damaged, and it results in pain under the right shoulder blade.

Other Causes

Some other causes of shoulder pain are osteoarthritis, arthritis (leading to pain and inflammation in the bones of various parts of the body), bursitis [characterized by inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sacs to provide cushioning for shoulder movements)]. Shoulder pain can also be a symptom of a heart attack.

Shoulder Blade Pain Relief

The first thing you should do when suffering from shoulder pain is to pause for a while and think about your daily activities and sitting posture. This might give you a clue as to whether there is something that needs to be changed in your day-to-day activities.
If you have suffered from an external injury and there is a sign of inflammation, then application of an icepack on the shoulder blade around 3 times a day will bring relief. Also keep a check on your diet. A diet rich in proteins and carbohydrates is beneficial for building up the muscles in the body. It will also help in repairing damaged tissues if any.
For overcoming fatigue, stretching exercises or yoga will be a good option to go for. In case none of these methods prove to be useful and the pain persists, then consult your doctor and get a checkup done. Treatment can then be advised according to the underlying cause.
A common experience that many people have is shoulder blade pain while breathing. The reason for this could be either damage to cervical nerves or a lung disorder. In some cases, it can be both. If the soreness or pain is prolonged, it is advisable to go for a checkup and get the cause determined, so appropriate treatment and relief measures can be adopted.
A common thing that many people do is take the advice of other individuals who have suffered from the same problem. This should be avoided, because as already mentioned, treatment varies according to the cause, and every person's case is different.
As a conclusion, though mentioned earlier, shoulder blade pain is harmless in most cases, and will go away on its own. But in case it persists, then getting prompt medical advice is the best way to avoid any further damage and serious consequences.