Causes and treatment options for pain under the left shoulder blade

Pain is always the most unpleasant symptom that makes a person awake. Pain under the left shoulder blade from behind is a clinical sign of a significant number of pathological processes, most of which pose a real threat to human health and life.

In addition to the risk of complications, pain syndrome is accompanied by discomfort localized in the area of \u200b\u200bthe left shoulder blade. All this significantly worsens the quality of life of a person, interferes with the performance of everyday tasks, impedes movement, some pathologies even interfere with sleep, since pain is constantly present.

Pain under left shoulder blade from behind

General anatomical information

If a person complains of pain between the shoulder blade and the left spine, then such a clinical sign can indicate completely different pathologies. This diversity can be explained by the anatomical structure of the body and this part of the back in particular.

Looking at the back in the area of the left shoulder blade, one can easily conclude that the shoulder blade is closely connected to the ribs, which also make up the chest. The back and chest are enveloped by muscle fibers, and in the middle of the back is the spine, from which all the nerve branches responsible for innervating these areas of the body originate.

In the region of the thoracic spine and chest, there are lungs and a heart on the left side, that is, if the patient cannot breathe normally, the breath is accompanied by painful sensations, or the pain is isolated The cause may lie in these organs.

In other words, a pain syndrome with localization under the left shoulder blade does not always indicate diseases of the musculoskeletal system, we can talk about pathologies of organs in which pain radiates to the area in question.

Classification of Complaints

For a full treatment of pain above the left shoulder blade from behind, it is necessary to establish the true cause of its origin. In this, the doctor will help to determine the nature and classification of pain sensations. For this reason, it is worth considering what unpleasant sensations are:

  • Acute is one of the main types of painful sensations, characterized by the suddenness of the manifestations and a high level of intensity. Acute pain under the left shoulder blade causes maximum problems, often it is so severe that it is extremely difficult or almost impossible to bear. And also acute pain syndrome, in addition to suddenness, is characterized by episodic manifestations, that is, it is unstable. In such cases. A person becomes irritable, as he is constantly waiting for a new attack of pain, which can appear at any moment.
  • Sharp pain - usually described as cutting or stabbing. All these subtypes of painful sensations are a type of acute pain, they have a similar classification. This means that a sharp pain is always sudden, very intense and inconsistent. Feels like it's compared to a needle stuck under the skin.
  • Dull - the second most common type of ailments, fundamentally different from acute ones. Such pain between the shoulder blade and the spine appears gradually and does not go anywhere, it is felt constantly. Its intensity is several times less, it is tolerable, but it also causes a lot of problems, since it is perceived regardless of posture and actions, and even disturbs sleep. Dull pain intensifies with careless movements and intense loads. In addition, they have a longer course and are treated poorly with medication.
  • Pain and pulling are types of dull pain that also overlap in the classification, but are described differently by the patients. They are localized on the left side below the shoulder blade and tend to spread to nearby departments. In such cases, when the hand pulls, the spine hurts, or radiation occurs in the cervical or lumbar spine, everything depends on the pathological process that causes it.
  • Shingles - painful feelings of this kind are felt not only in the area of \u200b\u200bthe shoulder blade. They are called shingles, because in this case pain can be present in different places at once, in the side, in the chest, surrounding the entire chest area. In addition to diseases of the musculoskeletal system, pathologies of the heart, as well as other organs and systems, often become the cause of belt pain.
  • Numbness, numbness of the back - such a sign belongs precisely to the category of unpleasant sensations accompanying pain syndrome. Numbness and tingling of the skin very often indicate neurological problems. For example, it can be a violation of the osteochondrosis nerve of the cervical or thoracic spine, such symptoms are present in the clinical picture of a number of other pathologies.

The correct recognition and description of the symptoms for the doctor simplifies the diagnosis and thus enables treatment to begin as quickly as possible.

Why does it hurt under the left shoulder blade?

As mentioned earlier, the back in the left shoulder blade area can hurt for a variety of reasons, each with a slightly different nature of the pain. Overall, two essential and very extensive root causes can be distinguished, which combine many special cases:

  • Pain in the area of \u200b\u200bthe left shoulder blade is felt due to the so-called nonspecific factors. In such cases, the pain is often the result of sustained strain on the back muscles, lifting weights, or exposure to hypothermia.
  • Pathological pain under the shoulder blade on the left occurs with the development of any disease in the body. They head the list of diseases of the musculoskeletal system, but diseases of the organs can also cause pain in the shoulder blade area. This does not necessarily mean the heart or lungs, nor can the pathology of the abdominal organs be written off. Pathological pain sensations can also include mechanical damage, due to which acute or dull pain is localized in the place where the person suffered a bruise or sprain. This can be the lower back, thoracic or cervical spine, or specific areas like the shoulder blade.

However, knowing the causes in such a generalized form is not enough, so it is worth considering the most common factors for the occurrence of back pain separately.


The most common cause of shoulder blade pain is osteochondrosis. The disease is characterized by degenerative-dystrophic processes in the intervertebral discs, during which they become thinner and wear out. As a result, the distance between the vertebrae decreases, the nerves are pinched, followed by the development of pain and inflammation.

There is pain under the right shoulder blade, mainly with osteochondrosis of the cervical or thoracic part of the spine. Pain syndrome is characterized by dull and pulling pains, the intensity of which decreases after rest in a horizontal position. At the same time, they are also given to one of the upper limbs, human movements are restrained. It becomes difficult to put your hands behind your head, etc.

angina pectoris

If we talk about heart disease, one of the reasons is angina. This pathology is accompanied by acute stabbing pains in the area of the heart, caused by insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle.

The development of angina pectoris is accompanied by girdle pains, they radiate backwards, while often unpleasant and stabbing sensations are felt precisely in the area of the left shoulder blade or closer to the spine. Attacks of pain provoke intense physical activity, the use of alcohol supercooling and other factors that increase the load on the heart.

Heart attack

Another dangerous cardiac pathology, accompanied by acute and intense pain in both the chest and back, closer to the left shoulder blade. A myocardial infarction is nothing more than a sudden interruption of blood flow to individual heart muscles or organ tissues.

Pain syndrome occurs already in the pre-infarction stage, it is constant, resistant to various types of painkillers, even nitroglycerin does not help well. Such painful sensations and an increased load on the heart valve are accompanied by shortness of breath, arrhythmia, dizziness, excessive sweating, and in some cases, nausea.

pneumonia and pleurisy

As mentioned earlier, diseases of the respiratory system, especially the lungs, often cause back pain from behind. Such clinical signs can be indicated by the development of pleurisy or inflammation of the lung tissues, that is, pneumonia.

In such cases, chest and back discomfort accompany any attempt to yawn, take deep breaths, and also worsen with fits of coughing, hiccups, and sneezing. In addition to pain, the characteristic signs of a lung disease are severe shortness of breath during exertion or at rest. It is also important to understand that the pain is localized precisely from the side of the affected lung, that is, discomfort on the left side indicates the focus of inflammation.


The same previously mentioned mechanical damage, joint injuries, etc. are always accompanied by pain. Injuries include hits, bruises, muscle strains in the scapula region, and fractures. So anything that can cause internal damage, nerve injury, etc. to some degree.

The advantage in such cases is the fact that pain is to be expected after an injury, ie it can easily be associated with a recent blow or fall, so treatment can be started immediately. Problems arise when the injury is serious, since in such situations the damage can be much deeper and more dangerous, urgent consultation with a doctor is required.

It is also important to remember that an injury can occur in a nearby area, while the pain radiates to the shoulder blade, the patient cannot move his arm, turn around, bend down.

gastric ulcer

Pathological processes from the organs of the gastrointestinal tract are often accompanied by radiating or migrating pain. One of the most unpleasant pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract of such a plan is peptic ulcer.

Pain syndrome, acute, increasing, in most cases associated with meals, especially felt when not following the diet, eating fried, fatty, smoked, acidic foods. In the case of a stomach ulcer, the pain is also localized in the abdominal cavity and can radiate to the breastbone, accompanied by belching, increased heartburn and nausea.

intercostal neuralgia

A condition in which one of the nerve processes in the intercostal space in the chest area is injured or inflamed is called intercostal neuralgia. The pathological process is always accompanied by sharp lancinating pains surrounding the thoracic region of the body and radiating to the back.

In such cases, unpleasant sensations are constant, do not weaken depending on the position of the body, they torment even in a dream. The pain syndrome intensifies with deep breaths, coughing, sneezing, intense physical exertion, careless or sudden movements, even the head can react with attacks of pain.


Another cardiological disease in which an inflammatory process develops in the serous membrane of the heart. The main cause of pain in this case are attacks of tachycardia, the intensity of burning and pain decreases when the patient is at rest.

psychosomatic diseases

Psychosomatics is very closely linked to the condition of our entire body. Because of this, any nervous strain, systematic exposure to stress, excessive mental stress causes such a symptom as pain under the left shoulder blade or in another place.

The main problem is the diagnosis, because first of all most specialists look for the cause of the complaints in various diseases.


In order to treat the pain syndrome with localization in the back, and not just get rid of it with painkillers, a comprehensive diagnosis is required. Treatment, which is preceded by an accurate diagnosis, is possible only after a series of diagnostic measures.

To identify the cause of pain under the left shoulder blade from behind, the following examinations are carried out:

  • X-ray of the cervical and thoracic spine.
  • CT scan.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging.
MRI diagnostics for pain under the left shoulder blade

If these diagnostic methods do not lead to any results or the doctor suspects during the initial examination that the pain has another cause, the lungs, heart or organs of the gastrointestinal tract are examined.


Back pain in the shoulder blade area requires adequate treatment by a doctor. Such symptoms cannot be ignored or, as already mentioned, relieve unpleasant manifestations with painkillers, since this will not solve the main problem.

Symptoms and treatment in such cases are closely related, and the methods of control depend on the diagnostic data obtained. This means that the treatment methods differ depending on the disease diagnosed:

  • For diseases of the musculoskeletal system, drugs of the NVPS group are prescribed, which have a pronounced analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effect. In such cases, B vitamins are also often prescribed, which effectively combat neurological symptoms and improve metabolic processes in the body.
  • In heart disease, drugs are needed in various situations to restore a normal heart rhythm and to control high or low blood pressure. Severe pain in the heart area is stopped with injections of nitroglycerin.
  • With intercostal neuralgia, anti-inflammatory drugs are the basis of treatment. For pain relief, muscle relaxants are prescribed, as well as lidocaine and novocaine blockades.
  • If the cause of the irradiation of painful sensations was a stomach ulcer, then antibiotic therapy is used. If the expected effect was not achieved in this way, then macrolides, tetracyclines or synthetic penicillins are introduced.

It is possible to list possible methods of treatment for a long time, because in such cases everything depends on the type and stage of development of a particular disease. For these reasons, only the doctor who has the results of the diagnosis takes care of the treatment. In addition, in any case, painkillers must be included in the treatment regimen, because before the desired effect is achieved, pain must be eliminated.


Be that as it may, it is better not to treat back pain, but to protect yourself from it. To do this, there are simple preventive measures that prevent the development of most pathologies:

  • Lead a mobile and healthy lifestyle, engage in atraumatic sports.
  • If you work sedentary, limit movement, take breaks for a walk or to warm up. Even when sitting for a long time, it is important to keep your back straight.
  • Sleep on a moderately hard flat surface, for this it is better to buy an orthopedic mattress.
  • Eat right, give up fast food, eat fatty foods in large quantities, switch to a fractional nutritional system.
  • Give up bad habits, especially large amounts of alcohol, as well as smoking.
  • Avoid physical exertion and heavy lifting. If you have to lift something heavy, do it with a straight back.

By following these simple preventative measures, you can never experience left shoulder blade pain. But even if this happens, do not hesitate and do not self-medicate, but consult a doctor.