Common Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

Your shoulder blade is in pain, but you cannot recall doing anything that may have caused the pain.

… I did not fall.

… I did not lift anything heavy.

… I did not over-exercise at the gym.

Shoulder blade pain can be a symptom of something as simple as a poor posture to something more serious like a heart attack.

This article discusses the causes of shoulder pain, how to treat shoulder pain, and how to prevent shoulder blade pain.

What is Shoulder Blades Pain?

The shoulder blade, otherwise known as the scapula, is a triangular-shaped bone in the upper back. This bone is supported and surrounded by muscles that work together to keep your arms moving. An alteration in the position of your shoulder blade can result in shoulder blade pain. The severity of the pain depends on the cause and can range anywhere from achy and dull to burning or severe. The pain may also improve or worsen with movement.

If you have shoulder pain that persists or worsens over time, you need to seek medical attention at Family Chiropractic Care. We treat shoulder pain using Chiropractic care, which strengthens the muscles in the shoulders and restores the proper motion and position of the scapular.

Causes and Risk Factors of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be caused by easily identifiable causes such as strain from lifting heavy objects or trauma from a fall. Other times, shoulder pain can be caused by conditions that cause something called referred pain. Referred pain is pain caused by your belly, heart, or something else.

Experiencing shoulder blade pain symptoms? We will help you understand your symptoms and if and when you need to seek medical advice.

Musculoskeletal Causes

  • Snapping Scapula Syndrome: If you feel pain and hear popping or crackling noises, you could be suffering from snapping scapula syndrome.
  • Muscle strain: The commonest causes of shoulder blade pain are muscle strains from heavy lifting, over-exercising, or sleeping awkwardly.

Shoulder Strain

Shoulder strain occurs when the tendons or muscles in your shoulders have been overstretched to the point of damage. Symptoms include sharp pain, which is often followed by bruising, swelling, and persistent tenderness.

Certain Diseases

Certain diseases can cause pain that travels to the shoulder. These include:

Gallbladder disease, which brings about dull aches to sharp pain that can travel to your right shoulder,

  • Heart disease, which causes a feeling of pressure or tightness in the shoulders,
  • Liver disease, which causes pain in the right shoulder, and
  • Inflammatory joint disease, which can cause referred pain in the shoulders.

Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder arthritis is inflammation of the shoulder joint. It can be caused by injury or trauma to the shoulder joints. Symptoms include stiffness, swelling, or reduced range of motion in the arm.

Pinched Nerve in the Neck

A pinched nerve in the neck or upper spine is a common cause of shoulder pain. A pinched nerve occurs when bone spurs around the spinal discs. It can be caused by injury or the normal tear and wear or aging.

Lung Conditions

Most individuals with lung cancer experience chest pain and pain in their shoulder blades or shoulders. Other forms of cancer, such as Pancoast tumors, grow on top of the lungs and may cause pain in the arms, shoulder blades, and shoulders.

Non-Specific Shoulder Pain

Non-specific shoulder pain means that the cause of pain in the shoulder is not obvious. Your shoulders are surrounded by many structures. The pain may be from injury in the shoulder joint or from the tendons, bones, ligaments, or muscles surrounding it. Symptoms include pain that grows worse with arm movement, especially after injury or overuse, inability to move the arm, or severe pain when you move your arm.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain with tightness in the chest and/or shortness of breath, you should contact us immediately. Initial questions and steps will be geared at finding out which shoulder blade is painful. We will make a diagnosis through physical examination and CT scan or x-ray. Our doctors recommend the above steps in a bid to be completely sure of what is affecting your shoulders. Afterward, we can confidently advise diagnosis or treatment. Thereafter, we will use medically reviewed practices to help you start treatment and tell you which activities cause shoulder problems. Our greatest joy is seeing you living your life pain-free.

How to Treat Shoulder Blade Pain

The treatment of shoulder blade pain depends on the cause of the pain. If shoulder blade pain is caused by muscle strain, you can try the RICE method:

  • Rest: Rest your upper back from any form of activity.
  • Ice: Wrap ice in a cloth and apply cold therapy to your back for around 10 to 20 minutes every 2 hours.
  • Compressions: Wrap the shoulder blade with an elastic bandage.
  • Elevation: Elevate your shoulder on a pillow while applying cold therapy.

For musculoskeletal shoulder blade pain, physical therapy or heat therapy can alleviate the pain. If you are not allergic to anti-inflammatory medications, treatment with Aleve or Advil can reduce the pain. Massage or stretching also eases the pain in some patients.

If you have tried the above treatment options and none has alleviated your pain, we can look into more treatment options for you. Although rare, if your shoulder pain is severe, our doctor may recommend surgery. Our doctor does not rush to recommend surgery because research by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons shows that 90 percent of individuals with shoulder blade pain respond well to non-surgical options, including medication, massage, exercise, and rest. As such, we use medically reviewed procedures to tailor the treatment for your shoulder pain to your needs and provide corrective exercises to ensure your shoulder blades are free from pain.

Prevention Techniques for Shoulder Blade Pain

The following techniques can help prevent shoulder blade pain

1. Do not sit for too long

If you work at a desk or computer, ensure that you stand up and stretch every few hours. This will help keep your shoulder muscles loose. Even as you sit and stand, it is advisable to pull the shoulder blades together while bending one’s elbows backward and downwards.

2. Practice Good Posture

Avoid slouching by sitting and standing tall.

3. Do not Lift Heavy Items

Lifting heavy items can cause injuries, which could cause pain between your shoulder blades. Do not carry heavy items on one shoulder. If you must lift an item, ensure that you bend your knees and put little pressure on your back.

4. Exercise

Exercise regularly. This will help you loosen the tension in your shoulders and shoulder bones and increase the range of motion in your shoulder joints. Effective exercises include shoulder circles, the downward dog pose, or seated twists.

See a doctor if you cannot move your shoulder, shoulder movement is painful, or your shoulder pain does not improve or worsens after two weeks of treatment. We provide medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment based on your symptoms. We also perform medical tests to determine which chiropractic procedure is ideal for your shoulder pain, helping you get started on a journey toward recovery.

Relieve Shoulder Blade Pain with the Help of Longview Chiropractors

Your shoulders are the most complex and most mobile joints in your body. When they are in pain, it becomes unbearable/impossible to perform day-to-day tasks such as combing their hair, grabbing a plate from the cabinet, or putting a shirt over their head.

Need to relieve shoulder blade pain? Our doctors at Dr. Still Family Chiropractic Care can help. We offer safe and effective massage therapy, corrective exercises, and chiropractic care. To better understand the nature of your health, we assess your brain, nervous system, and musculoskeletal system and provide alternatives to traditional medicines; alternatives that will help you achieve and maintain optimal health. We use medically reviewed practices to help you get started on a journey toward optimal wellness.

Do not let the sun go down while your shoulder is still in pain. Contact our clinic today and our doctor and a team of skilled and courteous staff will get working to rule out all possible causes of your pain and return your body to a healthy state. We look forward to serving you!