The shoulder blades in medicine known as (the scapulae). Shoulder blades are triangular shaped bones located on your upper back; they especially become visible when you extend your elbows towards your back. Shoulder blade pain is a nonspecific symptom and can be caused by many conditions something as simple as bad position while sleeping, or something as serious as lung cancer.
Shoulder blade pain can be caused by a condition in the area of the pain or can be a referred pain from another area of the body.
The first question to ask is on which side the shoulder blade is affected, as some causes are more likely to affect one shoulder blade than another. The second important question is whether the pain is localized or does it radiate somewhere else? The next question is about accompanying symptoms.
Your doctor is going to use the answers from these question to diagnose the condition causing your shoulder blade pain.
Conditions that cause shoulder blade pain and are localized at the same location of the pain are:
o Rotator cuff tendonitis: This is a fancy way to say "inflammation of shoulder muscles attachments". Symptoms include severe pain and difficulties in specific movements of the shoulder.
o Bursitis: Inflammation of the soft tissues of the shoulder. This condition starts by difficulties in moving your arm, and pain during sleep. Untreated cases may transform into chronic bursitis.
o Acromioclavicular joint pain: One of the joints in the shoulder. Problems with this joint may indicate cervical nerve root irritation.
o Adhesive capsulitis: Also known as the frozen shoulder. This condition present with stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. It is caused by inflammation of the shoulder/upper arm joint. Patients present with intense pain when moving the affected arm. This condition is most common in women 40 to 60 years old.
o Rheumatoid arthritis.
o Incorrect posture.
Conditions that cause shoulder blade pain and are localized at different location of the pain are:
o Abdominal abnormalities: Shoulder blade pain can also be a sign of problems in the liver, gallbladder, spleen or stomach. For example Inflammation of gallbladder most often caused by gall stones may cause right shoulder and shoulder blade pain.
o Lung Issues: Patients with lung conditions such as pneumonia may experience pain in shoulder blade during respiration. Sometimes lung cancer may cause this symptom that's why you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
o Heart issues: Sudden pain in the left shoulder blade that persists for 30 minutes may also indicate a heart attack especially if it is associated with left arm pain and/or chest pain.
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