Often people of different ages go to the hospital with complaints of back pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades. Why does the back hurt in the area of ​​the shoulder blades? This unpleasant phenomenon does not necessarily indicate the development of pathologies of the spine. In many cases, this indicates the presence of problems with the heart, blood vessels, and organs of the respiratory system. It is possible to determine the etiology of painful sensations, knowing the features of their nature and the symptoms of a possible disease.


Pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades can be aching, stabbing or pulling, be acute or chronic. Often, one-time pain is the result of a long stay in one position, smoking, and an uncomfortable posture during sleep. But if pain does not disappear for a long time, then this may be a sign of pathologies of internal organs.


Most often, severe back pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades is caused by the following pathologies of the spine:

  • Osteochondrosis. The pain syndrome in this case is localized on the one hand, arises after physical exertion or as a result of being in a certain position, can radiate to the arm, leg, shoulder blade. In addition to pain, dizziness, impaired sensitivity, numbness of the limbs are observed. Sometimes there may be complaints of difficulty breathing, blurred vision, tinnitus.
  • Intervertebral hernia of the thoracic region. This is a rare and dangerous phenomenon, which is accompanied by aching pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades. The pain is localized on one side and can radiate to the chest, which causes the sensation of heart pain. The pain syndrome is chronic, it becomes stronger with coughing, sudden movements, and physical activity. Lack of therapy leads to paresis of the lower extremities.
  • Intercostal neuralgia. It is characterized by inflammation of the intercostal nerves, which is manifested by severe pain, aggravated by bending, turning. Pain is usually located on one side of the sternum between the ribs, but can also be observed between the shoulder blades.
  • Spondylolisthesis. Due to damage to the cartilage tissue, the vertebrae are displaced, which is accompanied by chronic painful sensations together with loss of mobility, paresthesia, and numbness of the affected area.
  • Curvature of the thoracic spine. If scoliosis or kyphosis of the thoracic spine develops, then severe pain occurs in the area of ​​the shoulder blades, the symmetry of the shoulders, pelvis is disturbed, and there is also severe fatigue in the back.
  • Radiculitis. A sharp pain between the shoulder blades, aggravated by coughing, may be a sign of inflammation of the roots of the spinal nerves of the thoracic region. The patient complains of swelling, fatigue, numbness, paresthesia and hyperthermia.
  • Spine injury. Any injury to the thoracic spine results in pain near the scapula. Perhaps a violation of the sensitivity of the affected area, paralysis.

Back pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades can also be a sign of trauma, osteomyelitis, or a congenital malformation of the scapula. Such phenomena are rare, but still one should not exclude the presence of such a pathology.


Back pain in the scapular region can also indicate the development of the following pathological processes:

  • Cardiac pathology. There is a sharp severe pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades and sternum from the side of the heart, which can radiate to the left arm. There are surges in blood pressure, tachycardia, arrhythmia, increased sweating, shortness of breath and sudden fear of death.
  • Dysfunction of the gallbladder. The pain is aching in nature, is localized in the area of ​​the right scapula, arises from overeating. It is accompanied by attacks of nausea and vomiting, hepatic colic, and fever.
  • Peptic ulcer disease. The pain is localized near the left scapula, is of a sharp acute character, provoking in rare cases loss of consciousness. The patient has dyspeptic disorders that occur after eating.
  • Perforation of gastric ulcer. If a through hole forms in the wall of the stomach, then there is a sudden sharp pain in the abdomen, radiating to the area of ​​the scapula. In addition to it, breathing disorder, pallor, cold sweat, and shock are observed.
  • Tuberculosis. With an infectious lesion of the spine, aching chronic pain syndrome occurs in the area of ​​the shoulder blades, accompanied by a strong deterioration in the condition, rapid weight loss.
  • Kidney disease. Painful sensations arise in the lumbar region, but may radiate to the shoulder blades. There are renal colic, nausea and vomiting, urinary disorders, hyperthermia.
  • Respiratory system pathologies. Painful sensations are localized near the right shoulder blade, accompanied by hyperthermia, cough, hyperhidrosis.
  • Oncological process. A rare cause of pain near the shoulder blades, in which the patient complains of acute pain in the shoulder blades, weakness, chronic migraines. With a long course of pathology, a violation of the anatomical structure of the scapula begins.

If back pain occurs in the area of ​​the shoulder blades, then this may also be the result of neurological diseases. Usually, people who have experienced psycho-emotional experiences, severe stress, face such a phenomenon. In addition to pain, there is discomfort in the sternum, a feeling of fear, panic, and respiratory failure.


If pain occurs in the area of ​​the shoulder blades, you should immediately visit a doctor for a thorough diagnosis and selection of adequate treatment.

With severe pain syndrome, you can eliminate it yourself with the help of an analgesic (1-2 tablets of Paracetamol), NSAIDs (injection of Diclofenac or 2-3 tablets of Ibuprofen) or an antispasmodic (2 tablets of No-Shpa or Drotaverin).


After the doctor has listened to and examined the patient, differential diagnosis is carried out, the following diagnostic methods are prescribed:

  • Laboratory research. They allow you to detect the inflammatory process, various deviations in the chemical composition of blood, urine.
  • Radiography. Shows various changes in the structure of the spine, allows you to identify intervertebral hernias, tuberculosis, lung pathology.
  • Ultrasound. Allows you to identify pathologies of internal organs.
  • CT, MRI. Promotes a detailed study of the spine, tissues and adjacent structures.

If there is a suspicion of heart disease, an electrocardiogram is prescribed. Sometimes it is recommended to undergo additional examinations.


It is possible to completely get rid of back pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades only by treating the underlying problem. Taking into account what caused the pain syndrome, therapy may look like this:

  • Spine diseases. Prescribed drug therapy aimed at eliminating inflammation, pain, spasms and swelling (analgesics, NSAIDs, antispasmodics), as well as remedies to restore damaged cartilage (chondroprotectors). Be sure to do exercise therapy, follow a diet, visit physiotherapy.
  • Cardiac pathology. Eliminated by taking beta-blockers, calcium antagonists, statins and other heart medications. You can quickly stop pain with nitroglycerin. It is very important to lead a healthy lifestyle.
  • Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Eliminated by adherence to drug therapy (antacids, prokinetics, antispasmodics, NSAIDs, enzymes, and so on), bowel cleansing, dietary nutrition.
  • Kidney pathology. Antibacterial therapy, folk remedies, various physiotherapy procedures (UHF, electrophoresis) are prescribed. It is necessary to follow the diet, drinking regimen.
  • Diseases of the respiratory system. Usually a number of medications are prescribed (bronchodilators, antibiotics, expectorants, antitussives), inhalations, physiotherapy.

Many diseases manifested by pain near the shoulder blades are eliminated by surgery. Treatment is selected by the doctor on an individual basis.

Categories: Back pain


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