Shoulder Blade Pain: Know 5 Factors That Can Cause Pain And Its Categories

Shoulder blade pain can be a result of serious injury. Know about these causes and affecting factors.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Aug 16, 2021Updated at: Aug 16, 2021
Shoulder Blade Pain: Know 5 Factors That Can Cause Pain And Its Categories

Pain is a very common problem which is faced by majority of people in today’s generation. Most adults in today’s generation feel tension and pain in their shoulder region. This is because of the lack of proper exercise and movement in their muscles as they are mostly sitting. It happens because of poor sleeping posture, lack of movement and tiredness in the body. Shoulder blade pain is a type of shoulder pain that can be very common as well as have serious complications depending on the underlining issue. Determining the cause of shoulder blade pain is necessary to know possible condition which has occurred and seriousness of the issue. Today we will know about different causes that lead to shoulder blade pain.

Shoulder Blade Pain

Dr. R.K Sharma, Senior consultant from Orthopaedic department, Ivory Hospital, Greater Noida explains this problem. He says shoulder blades are triangular bones that are present at the back of your shoulders, known as scapulae. Each shoulder is connected with upper arm bone of our body. This collar bone is also connected to group of muscles which are attached to it. All of it is together responsible for moving the shoulder joint. Any injury in this particular area causes pain which is said to be as shoulder blade pain. Since shoulder joint has a range of motion, hence it becomes more vulnerable and easy to get affected or injured. Shoulder blade injury can sometimes become serious and result to shoulder displacement etc.


What Causes Shoulder Blade Pain?

There could be many potential causes which can lead to shoulder blade pain. Due to wide range of motion of this area, it can be affected because of various issues. Some common cause of shoulder blade pain are-

1.Strain from lifting heavy object, weightlifting, etc.

2.Trauma from an accident, fall or hit

3.Sleeping in a odd position or strain while sleeping

Apart from these general conditions shoulder blade pain can also be due to serious health issues in another part of the body. This causes pain in shoulder blades and can result in health complications. Some potential issues related to this condition are-

  • Slipped disc in back
  • Heart attack
  • Lung disease
  • Gallbladder diseases
  • Lung cancer
  • Health issues with back 
  • Peptic ulcers

These health problems may or may not occur during shoulder blade pain. However if you feel pain because of any of these conditions, it is best to consult an expert as soon as possible. Gallbladder disease happens in majority of conditions which results to pain in right shoulder blade. 


Categories of Shoulder Blade Pain

Depending on the cause, shoulder blade pain is differentiated according to categories it is divided into-

1. Bone and Joint Issues

It is possible for a person to have a fracture or some kind of dislocation in the shoulder joint. Bone and joint issues are more likely to happen in the condition when there is an accident or fall which impacts the shoulder directly. This can gradually affect a person’s health with time and cause osteoporosis, arthritis, scoliosis and other bone conditions. Spondylitis is very common after this problem especially for people in the age between 20-40 years. 

2. Musculoskeletal Issues

This is also very likely possible as any impact or injury that affects the shoulder has to go through muscles in that area. Overuse, strain, odd sleeping position or any of the similar problems can result to musculoskeletal issues. These are often related to pain in muscle groups or shoulder surrounding like arm muscles.

Also Read- 7 Shoulder Exercises To Relieve Pain And Discomfort

3. Cardiac Causes

If the shoulder blade pain is because of any cardiac issue then it has to be serious. It can be because of heart ache and heart related problems. In the case of cardiac issue, people face pain in their left shoulder blade which is mostly a sign of heart attack. If this happens, take the person to hospital immediately.

4. Abdomen related causes

This may feel disconnected but actually some abdominal conditions result in shoulder blade pain. Issues with abdomen that can cause this pain are-

  • Surgical pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatitis


5. Pain in one side of neck

It is common to have pain in your neck if you are suffering from shoulder blade pain. This is because the nerve and muscles are affected of that particular side. Isolated pain in left or right side of neck is because of 3 major issues.

Bad posture- It happens when you sit or sleep in a poor posturewhich affects your shoulder blade and neck muscles. This is because of uneven spread of weight on one part or side of body. 

Also Read- Pain In Hands Or Feet Can Be Symptoms Of Peripheral Neuropathy. Know Causes, Complications and Prevention Tips

Poor Sleeping position- Sleeping in an awkward or wrong position can cause neck pain. It is more likely to happen to people who tend to sleep on their stomach. Too many pillows or very high pillow also causes this problem.

Whiplash- This is the pain that a person gets when the neck sprains are a result of ligament or muscle damage. Whiplash occurs mostly at the time of accident from a vehicle or affected by vigorous sports activity. 

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