When Should I Worry About Right Shoulder Blade Pain?

Medically Reviewed on 12/7/2022
Right Shoulder Blade Pain
Pain between the shoulder blades could indicate cardiac problems and require immediate medical attention.

A person may occasionally experience shoulder blade pain without any evident cause. However, it could be a result of poor sleeping habits or poor posture while using a computer. Moreover, it could be caused by problems with the muscles or bones in the area.

A few of the additional conditions that can cause shoulder blade pain include:

Shoulder blade pain along with shortness of breath or tightness in the chest could be a sign of a heart attack. If you experience these symptoms together go to the emergency room right away or call 911.

What causes shoulder blade pain?

Trauma or localized inflammation may cause pain in the shoulder blades, or it may be a transferred pain from the chest or abdomen. It may be a symptom of something as simple as mild muscle strain or a sign of something as serious as a lung condition or cancer.

The following are a few causes of shoulder blade pain:

Musculoskeletal strain

Muscle strain is the most typical reason for shoulder blade pain. It typically happens because of the short-term, excessive use of your arms and upper torso. The scapula pain may coexist with aches in other muscle groups, including the back and shoulder. However, it might merely impact your shoulder blade.

Muscle strain is more probable if you've:

  • Begun a new exercise regimen.
  • Completed a lift to which you are not accustomed.
  • Slept in a brand-new or unique bed.

Chronic illnesses may be connected to pain that lasts longer. These include myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia. Shoulder blade pain can also be brought on by rotator cuff tears or snapping scapula syndrome. There is popping and cracking (crepitus) along the inner side of the shoulder blade in snapping scapula syndrome. Many people with this illness experience shoulder pain and instability. 

Heart problems

Occasionally, pain between the shoulder blades could indicate cardiac problems, which include:

Aortic dissection and heart attacks are also medical emergencies. Pericarditis may result in a cardiac emergency. If you have unexplained shoulder blade or chest discomfort, you should immediately seek emergency medical attention to avoid a serious cardiac crisis.

Lung conditions

Pain in the shoulder or shoulder blade is a common symptom of lung cancer (such as mesothelioma). A Pancoast tumor is a specific kind of lung tumor that develops above the lungs. Usually, it causes pain in the shoulders, arms, and shoulder blades.

Other lung conditions that might hurt the scapula include:

These potentially catastrophic conditions make it even more important to get your shoulder blade discomfort checked out right away.

Abdominal and pelvic issues

May cause shoulder blade pain and it occurs more frequently than you may think. The diaphragm refers to the muscles that divide your chest cavity from your abdomen. Your shoulder or shoulder blade may experience referred pain if the nerves around the base of your diaphragm become inflamed. While having abdominal surgery, these nerves may get inflamed. This occurs when gas is injected into the abdominal cavity to improve the surgeon's vision. 

Right shoulder blade pain can result from a few abdominal and pelvic disorders, such as:

Shoulder blade pain on the left side is more frequently brought on by pancreatitis (pancreatic inflammation).


Tumors involving the chest may show symptoms such as shoulder blade pain. These include:

Shoulder blades can become the site of bone metastases or cancer that has migrated to the bones from other parts of the body. For instance, reports of such metastases from malignancies of the gastrointestinal system, lung, prostate, liver, breast, and kidney have been documented.

Chest wall

Is made up of muscles, bones, fat, skin, and other tissues that surround your important organs. Shoulder blade pain could be caused by shingles in the chest wall. Shingle is a viral infection caused by the chickenpox virus (varicella zoster), which causes a stinging or burning ache. Body aches are one of the first signs of shingles. After a few days, a rash develops.


Medically speaking, the term "myalgia" refers to what type of pain? See Answer

What is the treatment of shoulder blade pain?

The course of treatment depends on the underlying cause of shoulder blade pain.

A treatment option called RICE might be beneficial if your shoulder blade pain is connected to a muscle strain. RICE stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression caused by splint or elastic bandage
  • Elevation (keeping the shoulder blade above the heart)

Home remedies

Scapular dyskinesis symptoms occasionally respond to simple home remedies, such as:

  • Regaining proper posture: Try to stand and sit appropriately while you go about your daily activities. Pulling your shoulder blades back together and bending your elbows so they look like you're going to tuck them into your back pockets will help you achieve this.
  • Balancing your workout schedule: If you regularly exercise, be sure to balance your upper body strength workouts. You should perform one set of "flies" and two sets of "rows" for every set of "presses." Stretching exercises for your front shoulder muscles and shoulder joint rotation should also be a part of your regimen.
  • Heat treatment: Using a heating pad or a hot bath can also help loosen up stiff shoulder muscles.

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if your symptoms don't go away. In addition to offering treatment choices, they can assist in identifying the precise reason for your dyskinesis.

Other treatment options

  • Nonsurgical: Scapular dyskinesis symptoms will nearly always get better with nonsurgical treatment, which could consist of
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help reduce pain and swelling.
    • Physical therapy: Your doctor or physical therapist will suggest an exercise program that specifically targets the causes of your dyskinesis. Physical therapy's typical objectives include:
      • Strengthening and stabilizing the scapular muscles
      • Stretching the stiff muscles that are preventing full scapular motion
  • Surgical treatment: Surgery is typically unnecessary for people with general dyskinesis, which is brought on by muscle tension or weakness. However, if your shoulder joint injury is the root of your dyskinesis, your doctor may conduct surgery to restore the damaged tissues, followed by rehabilitation to restore the scapula's normal motion.
Medically Reviewed on 12/7/2022
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