Pain in Shoulder Blade and Neck

pain in shoulder blade and neck is often a symptom of an underlying medical condition and should be evaluated by a doctor. It is important to identify the cause of the pain to prevent it from becoming worse or to help you seek long term relief.

Most commonly, the pain is a result of a muscle that has become tight or a knot. This can occur with overuse or from sleep in an uncomfortable position. It can also occur with sudden activity or a change in your exercise program. It is important to roll on a foam roller or massage ball under your shoulder blade to find the tender spot and to slowly apply pressure in a circular motion until you feel the knot loosen. Repeat this two to three times a day.

Other causes of shoulder blade pain may include a bone problem like a fractured rib or an injured rotator cuff. These problems can be treated with rest, ice and/or anti-inflammatory medications.

Injuries to the lungs, heart and abdomen may also cause referred pain to the shoulder blade area. Problems such as peptic ulcer disease, gallstones, liver disease and acid reflux can radiate pain to the left or right shoulder blade area. Heart related issues can also cause referred pain such as a heart attack or an aortic dissection.

Diagnosing shoulder blade pain can involve a physical exam, review of your symptoms and family history as well as x-rays and imaging studies. Treatment can vary by the underlying condition and might include medication, home care, therapy, electrical nerve stimulation or in rare cases surgery or chemotherapy.