I'm experiencing pain in my left shoulder blade.

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4 Answers

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Do you have risk factors of heart attack: smoking, hypertension, diabetes, obese, family history? If yes, you should go to a cardiologist.

Is it consistent or paroxysmal? Is it related to physical exercise? Will deep breath worsen it? How old are you? Have you ever been diagnosed with digestive ulcer?

A few life-threatening conditions could cause chest pain, including ischemic heart disease, pulmonary embolism, pneumothorax, aortic dissection.

You should go to the hospital to find out.
Does it occur suddenly or is it chronic? If it is acute (occurs suddenly), then it may suggest a heart problem, such as heart attack. Trauma could also cause shoulder pain.

If it is chronic, then conditions, such as tendonitis, rotator cuff tear, and frozen shoulder, would all be likely.

There are several possibilities and the most common cause might be heart attack,rotator cuff tear and frozen shoulder. 

1. Common heart attack signs and symptoms include:

  •  Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back

  •  Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain

  •  Shortness of breath

  • Cold sweat

  •  Fatigue

  •  Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

To improve your heart health, take the following steps:

  •  Avoid smoke. The most important thing you can do to improve your heart's health is to not smoke. Also, avoid being around secondhand smoke. If you need to quit, ask your doctor for help.

  •   Control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If one or both of these is high, your doctor can prescribe changes to your diet and medications.

  • Get regular medical checkups. Some of the major risk factors for heart attack — high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes — cause no symptoms early on.

  • Exercise. Regular exercise helps improve heart muscle function after a heart attack and helps prevent a heart attack. Walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week can improve your health.

  •  Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight strains your heart and can contribute to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

  •  Eat a heart-healthy diet. Saturated fat, trans fats and cholesterol in your diet can narrow arteries to your heart, and too much salt can raise blood pressure.

  •   Manage diabetes. Regular exercise, eating well and losing weight all help to keep blood sugar levels at more-desirable levels. Many people also need medication to manage their diabetes.

  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. That means up to one drink a day for women and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

You can also take some medication to control your disease under the guidance of your doctor.

Medications given to treat a heart attack might include:

  •  Aspirin. The 911 operator might tell you to take aspirin, or emergency medical personnel might give you aspirin immediately. Aspirin reduces blood clotting, thus helping maintain blood flow through a narrowed artery.

  •  Thrombolytics. These drugs, also called clotbusters, help dissolve a blood clot that's blocking blood flow to your heart.

  • Antiplatelet agents. Emergency room doctors may give you other drugs known as platelet aggregation inhibitors to help prevent new clots and keep existing clots from getting larger.

  •   Other blood-thinning medications. You'll likely be given other medications, such as heparin, to make your blood less "sticky" and less likely to form clots. Heparin is given intravenously or by an injection under your skin.

  •   Pain relievers. You might be given a pain reliever, such as morphine.

  •   Nitroglycerin. This medication, used to treat chest pain (angina), can help improve blood flow to the heart by widening (dilating) the blood vessels.

2. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which often worsens when you try to sleep on the involved side.

The pain associated with a rotator cuff injury may:

  • Be described as a dull ache deep in the shoulder

  • Disturb sleep, particularly if you lie on the affected shoulder

  • Make it difficult to comb your hair or reach behind your back

  •  Be accompanied by arm weakness

Conservative treatments — such as rest, ice and physical therapy — sometimes are all that's needed to recover from a rotator cuff injury. If your injury is severe and involves a complete tear of the muscle or tendon, you might need surgery.

3. Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years.

Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly, and in three stages. Each stage can last a number of months.

  •  Freezing stage. Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and your shoulder's range of motion starts to become limited.

  •  Frozen stage. Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.

  •  Thawing stage. The range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

For some people, the pain worsens at night, sometimes disrupting sleep.

Treatment for frozen shoulder involves range-of-motion exercises and, sometimes, corticosteroids and numbing medications injected into the joint capsule. In a small percentage of cases, arthroscopic surgery may be indicated to loosen the joint capsule so that it can move more freely.

I am having pain in the lower right shoulder area just when i breath
Lung Problems
In case the lungs have been affected with some infection, it can cause shoulder blade pain. Lung issues are common among smokers and hence they are vulnerable to this type of problem. People diagnosed with lung collapse do feel this pain during deep breaths. Common respiratory issues that include common cold and seasonal flu and other medical conditions such as pulmonary embolism and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), often attributed to long-term smoking can also cause shoulder pain while breathing.

Pinched Nerve
Shoulder blade pain is often associated with degeneration of the cervical spine (neck). The cervical spine, that originates from the base of the skull, is made up of 7 bones (intervertebral discs), and has 8 cervical nerves that exit from the spinal cord. In case of damage to any of the nerves, also referred to as 'pinched nerve', it can cause shoulder blade pain while breathing. Any injury that displaces intervertebral discs from its normal position puts undue pressure on the cervical nerves. As a result, the nerves get compressed, which may lead to shoulder blade pain that worsens with breathing.

Improper Posture
Sleeping in an inappropriate manner can put a lot of strain on the shoulder muscles and cause pain that exacerbates while breathing. Improper sleeping posture such as lying down sideways can hurt the shoulder and taking a deep breath may worsen the pain. No wonder, sore shoulders common after side sleeping tend to worsen during breathing exercises. Even wrong sitting posture can cause shoulder blade pain that worsens while breathing.

Gallbladder Problems
The gallbladder is a small sac-like organ located just below the liver in the right abdominal area. The gallbladder receives digestive juices from the liver which are then transported to the stomach to promote digestion. So, any issues with the gallbladder such as gallstones or cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) causes radiating pain that travels all the way up to the right shoulder area. These gallbladder problems that also cause shoulder discomfort tends to aggravate while taking deep breaths. Nausea, loss of appetite and abdominal discomfort especially after having a meal are some of the most common symptoms associated with gallbladder problems.

Joint and Bone Problems
Shoulder joints are vulnerable to damage and pain in old age, often due to arthritis. So, elderly feeling shoulder blade pain while breathing may be attributed to arthritis, a condition that is typically marked by deterioration of cartilage, causing inflammation of joints. Osteoporosis of shoulders in which the shoulder bones become brittle and weak can also cause pain while breathing. As the condition progresses, shoulders stoop in the forward direction, giving rise to a hunched posture.

Rib Injury
The term 'ribs' refers to 12 pairs of bones that form a cage-like structure around the chest. When any of these bones are subjected to excess pressure during to an accident, when playing contact sports or excessive coughing, they may get damaged and cause shoulder blade pain that worsens when taking deep breaths.
If the pain goes with the rhythm of your breath, it could be lung related or muscle related.
I have pain on left side, mid back, just under the shoulder blade, for years. I've seen primary a couple of times, still don't know what it is.