The shoulder blade is located on the top of your back called the scapulae, which becomes prominent as you pull your elbows close to your torso or extend your elbow towards your back, the triangular-shaped bony prominence called shoulder blade.
Its basic function is to support the shoulder girdle and assist in the movement of the arms. It is especially important because a mild pain in this area can indicate a minor illness such as inflammation of the scapula itself or major illnesses such as lung cancer.
The left scapula is prone to some diseases, while others affect the right side. The left shoulder blade can be hurt by the gallstones, while the right side is usually affected by more common heart or lung conditions.
The pain in this region is also important as it is usually referred pain from a serious underlying condition.
The Most Common Causes are as Follows
Muscle Tension: It is the most common direct cause of shoulder blade pain. Usually the result of exercising excessively or doing too much of a particular workout or trying something new in the gym that your body is not used to.
The second most common cause is sleeping in a wrong position or in a new position, which usually causes the rotator cuff muscles to tear and it feels like a normal muscle pull, but it engages the movement of the arm and shoulder.
Cervical spondylosis: Commonly known as disc slip, especially in the neck (cervical) area, can compress the brachial plexus (nerve supply from the arm and shoulder) and result in severe pain.
Cardiac disorders: Aortic aneurysm (rupture of the aorta) causes severe cutting between the blades. While myocardial infarction (heart attack) and pericarditis (inflammation of the covering of the heart) cause severe left-sided pain.
Shingles (Zoster): The opposite of last-life recurrence of chickenpox, caused by the same virus. Manifested as severe dermatomal pain (in a particular strip), usually occurs after a few days of rash in the same region.
Metastatic tumors: Some tumors that find their way to different parts of the body can be a reason to cause pain in the shoulder blade, but this is very rare.
- Breast cancer.
- Esophageal cancer.
- Colon cancer.
- Lung cancer.
These are some of the most common primary tumors that usually spread to the scapula.
- Pancoast tumor: A tumor is located on the upper pole of the lungs and usually causes fatal pain in the shoulder blades.
- Arthritis: Arthritis of the shoulder, scapula, or referred pain from cervical (neck) arthritis are the common causes.
- Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones, usually the shoulder, shoulder blades, or neck, can manifest as pain in the shoulder blades. Osteoporosis is more common in older women due to the lack of estrogen that plays a key role in calcium regulation.
- Abdominal Disorders: Any GIT disease can manifest as shoulder blade pain namely gallstones, stomach ulcers, and liver disease. Pancreatitis usually causes left-sided pain.
These were some of the causes of shoulder blade pain, while there may be others. If you experience shoulder blade pain, you should see a doctor rule out the cause.