Causes of back pain in the shoulder blades

If a person has back pain in the area around the shoulder blades, he automatically associates this with the condition of the spine. They are partly right: this long-suffering core of our skeleton assumes great loads which can do nothing but affect its condition.

But often pain in this area of the back signals a disorder of the internal organs. The nature of the pain is similar to the disease, so when making a doctor's appointment, it is important to describe its manifestations in as much detail as possible.

What causes shoulder pain

Pathological changes in:

  • spine;
  • internal organs;
  • surrounding structures.

It hurts in the shoulder blade area and with some rare diseases:

  • Fractures of the spine and its systemic lesions;
  • Metastases in the spine in cancer of the stomach, and sometimes other organs.

Pain according to the type of disease is localized:

  1. Over the shoulder blades;
  2. Under the shoulder blades;
  3. Between the shoulder blades;
  4. In the shoulder blades.

Symptoms associated with pathologies of internal organs

The stomach, lungs, liver and heart can project their pain under the shoulder blade - right or left.

If it hurts on the left, this may be a sign:

  • Gastric ulcer: pain is periodic in nature, associated with exacerbations of a seasonal nature. They are accompanied by pain in the upper abdomen. During the increase in pain, vomiting occurs;
  • Myocardial infarction: The disease is accompanied by acute retrosternal pain extending below the left shoulder blade. Cardiac ischemia has similar signs, but in this case pain sensations also occur in the left hand;
  • Breakthrough of a stomach ulcer: the patient's body is covered with cold sweat, he may feel sick up to the opening of vomiting. The patient tries to alleviate the disorder by changing position, but these actions do not give the expected effect;
  • Intercostal neuralgia: pain below the left shoulder blade comes in seizures, aggravated by the slightest physical exertion. It tingles and burns in the area of the heart. It hurts to cough and take a deep breath.

It can hurt under the right shoulder blade when:

  1. Psychological failure in the body. At the same time the patient feels heat in the chest, he may complain of squeezing and tingling in the heart muscle;
  2. Pathological changes in the gallbladder: additional symptoms - bitterness in the mouth after fatty, salty and fried foods, pain in the right hypochondrium;
  3. Pleuritis and pneumonia: pain below the right shoulder blade is reflected by coughing;
  4. Kidney disease: in this case, cough also leads to increased pain, but unlike lung disease, the patient has difficulty urinating.

Pain associated with pathologies of the spine

Spinal cord problems can occur after injuries, fractures or bruises. But there are also diseases that have no obvious causes. And all are manifested by pain in the shoulder blade region.

With any pathology of the spine, pain between the shoulder blades should be associated:

  • stiffness;
  • Feeling of goosebumps;
  • Numbness.
Interscapular pain when coughing is typical of heavy smokers


If tissue nutrition is disturbed, dystrophic changes occur in them. In the spine, this process affects the intervertebral discs. They can no longer withstand the pressure exerted on them by the vortices. The loss of disc elasticity leads to compression of the spine. The nerve endings of the spinal cord come under pressure - this is where severe pain occurs.

The body tries to protect the spine from heavy loads by growing bone tissue along the edges of the vertebral processes. Bone growth is called osteophytes. They can be removed, but due to osteochondrosis, they will grow again.

Pain in osteochondrosis is localized at the site of injury to the spine. If the cervical region is affected, the patient has morning pain in the right side of the neck. The pain radiates to the shoulder and arm, felt over the shoulder blade. The head may feel dizzy, the ailments aggravated by a deep inhalation and cough.

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic region manifests as pain between the shoulder blades - to the right and left of the spine. Sneezing, coughing, sudden movements can aggravate the pain. When you try to straighten your shoulders, the chest and the interscapular zone begin to crack.

It becomes difficult for a person to breathe from the chest as the movement of the rib decreases and he subconsciously shifts to breathe with the abdomen.

Treat osteochondrosis with a conservative method. The patient is prescribed:

  • Analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • Physiotherapy procedures;
  • Therapeutic gymnastics;
  • Reflexology;
  • Massage;
  • Pull the spine;
  • Manual therapy.

If none of the treatment methods work, surgeons get started.


Symptoms of this disease are similar to osteochondrosis. However, in this case, the intervertebral disc is displaced, not exhausted. The hyaline cartilage is forced to take on the load. Under such extreme conditions, its tissue becomes thinner and loses its ability to perform its functions.

If spondylarthrosis is not treated, the entire joint can become inflamed and then completely lose mobility.The patient's condition is aggravated by osteophytes.


The curvature of the spine in relation to its axis to the right or left is common - almost half of humanity is affected by this disease. But for the majority, the disease is not pronounced, and therefore the pain occurs at regular intervals - if a person overworked the back or stood or sat in a position for a long time.

Early scoliosis cannot be determined visually, therefore, if pain occurs in the shoulder blade region, it is in the patient's interest to consult a physician. He will prescribe an X-ray - direct and lateral.

With the further development of scoliosis, it can be detected independently: "zigzag" of the spine is clearly pronounced. Running scoliosis is also determined by the relative position of the shoulders - one of them will be lower than the other.

Wearing a corset to get rid of scoliosis

Treatment of scoliosis is a lengthy affair even at its high intensity. Massage, special exercises and wearing a corset will help get rid of the curvature of the spine.

Intervertebral hernia

The intervertebral disc consists of:

  1. Gelatinous core;
  2. Fiber ring, consisting of fibers;
  3. The two thin layers of cartilage that cover the discs above and below.

The nucleus is located inside the ring, and the cartilage tissue that closes the structure simultaneously serves as a conductor of nutrition from the vessel of the vertebral body to the disc.

Pathological changes in the vertebrae lead to disruption of metabolic processes in the intervertebral discs. Their thickness decreases, the fibrous ring cracks under the influence of loads, opening the way to the outside of the gelatinous mass of the core. This process is accompanied by severe pain. It is concentrated at some point, but sometimes there is a return to the lung and heart regions.

An intervertebral hernia in the thoracic region is extremely rare, therefore, when pain occurs in the shoulder blade region, the patient is first checked for other diseases.

An intervertebral hernia is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy and special exercises. In severe conditions, only surgery can help.

A neglected pathology causes damage to the pelvic organs and paralysis of the legs.

Tuberculosis of the spine

Tuberculosis microbacteria can affect any part of the spine, but 60% of cases occur in the thoracic region. Most often, men suffer from this disease. Basically, a few vortices are involved in the process, but there are cases where tuberculosis spreads to three or more.

Symptoms of the disease can vary depending on the number of vertebrae affected. But there is a constant symptom - it is pain. If it is felt between the shoulder blades, it indicates a lesion of the cervical vertebra.

It also hurts with tuberculosis in the thoracic region, but in that case the pain will radiate (give) to the chest, groin or abdomen. Patients complain of burning, twisting, "drilling" in the back.

Tuberculosis of the spine is difficult to diagnose, severe pain already appears at the stage of the appearance of various complications. If you have the slightest suspicion of this disease, go to a specialist for examination immediately.

Surge and hypothermia

If the back is overloaded, painful sensations can also occur in the shoulder blade area. In itself, this phenomenon is not considered a disease, but constant congestion can cause osteochondrosis, spinal curvature and the formation of intervertebral hernia.

Seamstresses, drivers, surgeons, people doing sedentary work, etc. complain of back pain. If hypothermia (traction, a functioning air conditioner) is added to the overvoltage, then you can get back pain - severe pain concentrated under the shoulder blades or in the spine.

This problem is treated with warming ointments, anti-inflammatory drugs and massage.


Influenza, SARS, severe hypothermia can lead to myositis - inflammation of muscle tissue. Most often, this disease affects the muscles in the shoulder blade region. This condition does not threaten the body with anything terrible, but sore pains create discomfort.

Shoulder pain due to muscle inflammation

Painkillers and warming ointments relieve suffering.

Pain in the shoulder blades

Pain occurs for several reasons:

  • Fracture or injury due to a fall. The shoulder joint swells, it hurts to move the limb;
  • Osteomyelitis (inflammation of bone tissue): accompanied by fever, fever due to poisoning of the whole organism;
  • Pterygoid scapula: this effect is caused by damage to the anterior serratus (located on the side of the chest), paralysis of the rhomboid, trapezius muscles or their traumatic rupture (what circus acrobats and gymnasts, professional athletes suffer from).

If the synovial sac is inflamed, the shoulder blade begins to crack.In addition to this inconvenience, the patient is concerned about weight and click in the shoulder joint.


Since pain in the scapular area of the back signals one of the many diseases, the examination is performed according to different methods:

  • X-ray of thorax;
  • Laboratory research;
  • ultrasound;
  • Magnetic resistance or computed tomography;
  • ECG.

All examinations are prescribed by the surgeon - if your back hurts, go to him first. But in the future, based on the results of research, he will need advice:

  1. Orthopedist;
  2. Gastroenterologist;
  3. Neurologist;
  4. Pulmonologist.
Consultation with a physician for the purpose of diagnosing pain in the shoulder blades

If for any reason the doctor was not aware of the accompanying symptoms, you should take the initiative.


Self-medication for pain in the shoulder blade area is categorically contraindicated. The maximum that the patient can afford is to take painkillers and painkillers. Reception should be simple and only if it is necessary to stop the pain syndrome before visiting the doctor.

Treatment is prescribed by a doctor: usually, to relieve the condition, it is enough to take analgesics, chondroprotectors, anti-inflammatory drugs. In addition, the doctor paints a treatment regimen designed to eliminate the root causes of pain in the shoulder blade region.