Causes and treatment options for pain under the left shoulder blade

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

In addition to the risk of complications, the pain syndrome is accompanied by discomfort localized in the region of the left shoulder blade. All this significantly worsens the quality of a person’s life, interferes with the performance of everyday tasks, hinders movement, some pathologies even disturb sleep, since pain is constantly present.

pain under the left shoulder blade from the back

General anatomical information

If a person complains of pain between the scapula and the spine on the left, such a clinical sign may indicate completely different pathologies. Such diversity can be explained by the anatomical structure of the body and specifically this part of the back.

Examining the back in the area of the left shoulder blade, one can come to the simple conclusion that the shoulder blade is closely associated with the ribs, which also make up the chest. The back and chest are shrouded in muscle fibers, and in the center of the back is the spine, from which all the nerve branches that are responsible for the innervation of these areas of the body depart.

In the region of the thoracic spine and chest, on the left side, there is a lung and a heart, that is, if the patient is not able to breathe normally, the breath is accompanied by painful sensations or the pain is isolated, the cause may be in these organs.

In other words, 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 under discussion.

Classification of discomfort

For a complete treatment of pain over the left shoulder blade from behind from the back, it is necessary to establish the true cause of their origin. In this, the doctor helps to determine the nature and classification of painful 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 manifestations and a high degree of intensity. Acute pain under the left shoulder blade causes maximum problems, often it is so strong that it is extremely difficult or almost impossible to endure it. 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 in anticipation of a new attack of pain, which can appear at any moment.
  • Sharp pain - usually it is characterized as cutting or stabbing. All these subtypes of painful sensations are a kind of acute pain, they have a similar classification. This means that a sharp pain is also always sudden, very intense and inconsistent. Feels like it is compared with a needle stuck under the skin.
  • Dull - the second most common type of discomfort, fundamentally different from acute. Such pain between the scapula and the spine arises gradually and does not disappear anywhere, it is felt constantly. Its intensity is several times lower, it is tolerable, but it also causes a lot of problems, because it is felt regardless of the position of the body and actions, it even interferes with sleep. Dull pains intensify with careless movements, intense loads. In addition, they have a longer course and are worse treated with drugs.
  • Aching and pulling are varieties of dull pain, which also coincide in classification, but are described differently by patients. Localized on the left side below the scapula, they tend to spread to nearby departments. In such cases, the hand pulls, the spine aches, or irradiation occurs in the cervical or lumbar back, it all depends on the pathological process that causes them.
  • Shingles - painful feelings of this nature are felt not only in the area of the scapula. They are called shingles, since pain in this case can be simultaneously present in different places, in the side, chest, encircling the entire thoracic region. In addition to diseases of the musculoskeletal system, pathologies of the heart, as well as other organs and systems, often become the cause of girdle pain.
  • Numbness, numbness of the back - such a sign belongs precisely to the category of unpleasant sensations that accompany the pain syndrome. Numbness and tingling of the skin very often indicates neurological problems. For example, it can be an infringement of the nerve of osteochondrosis of the cervical or thoracic spine, such symptoms are present in the clinical picture of a number of other pathologies.

Correct recognition and description of discomfort to the doctor simplifies the process of making a diagnosis, which makes it possible to begin treatment as soon as possible.

Why does it hurt under the left shoulder blade

As mentioned earlier, the back in the area of the shoulder blades on the left can hurt for a huge number of reasons, and in each case the nature of the pain is somewhat different. In total, two main and very extensive root causes can be distinguished, combining many special cases:

  • Pain in the region of the left shoulder blade is felt due to the so-called non-specific factors. In such cases, pain is often the result of prolonged stress on the muscles of the back, lifting weights, or due to hypothermia.
  • Pathological pains on the left under the scapula appear with the development of any disease in the body. They top the list of diseases of the musculoskeletal system, but diseases of the organs can also provoke pain in the region of the scapula. This does not necessarily mean the heart or lungs, the pathology of the abdominal organs also cannot be written off. Pathological painful sensations can also include mechanical damage, due to which acute or dull pain is localized in the place where the person received a bruise, sprain fracture. This may be the lower back, thoracic or cervical spine, or specific places like the scapula.

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


The most common cause of pain in the scapula is osteochondrosis. A characteristic feature of the disease is degenerative-dystrophic processes in the intervertebral discs, in which they become thinner and wear down. 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 spinal column. The pain syndrome is characterized by dull and pulling pains, the intensity of which decreases after resting in a horizontal position. At the same time, they are also given to one of the upper limbs, human movements are shackled. It becomes difficult to put your hands behind your head, etc.

angina pectoris

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

The development of angina pectoris is accompanied by girdle pains, they radiate towards the back, 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 hypothermia and other factors that increase the load on the heart.

myocardial infarction

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

The pain syndrome appears already at 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, namely the lungs, often cause pain in the back from the back. Such clinical signs can be indicated by the development of pleurisy or inflammation of the lung tissues, that is, pneumonia.

In such cases, discomfort in the chest and back accompany every attempt to yawn, take a deep breath, and also intensify during bouts of coughing, hiccupping, sneezing. In addition to pain, the characteristic signs of lung disease are severe shortness of breath during exertion or its presence even at rest. It is also important to understand that the pains are localized precisely from the side of the affected lung, that is, discomfort on the left indicates the focus of inflammation.


Those same previously mentioned mechanical damage, joint injuries, etc. , are always accompanied by pain. Injuries include blows, bruises, muscle strains in the scapular region, as well as fractures. In other words, everything that to some extent can lead to internal damage, nerve infringement, etc.

The advantage in such cases is the fact that after an injury, pain is expected, that is, it can be easily associated with a recent blow or fall, immediately starting treatment. Problems appear if the injury is severe, because in such situations the damage can be much deeper and more dangerous, an urgent consultation with a doctor is required.

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

stomach ulcer

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

Pain syndrome, acute, growing, in most cases associated with meals, especially felt when the diet is not followed, eating fried, fatty, smoked, sour foods. With a stomach ulcer, pain is also localized in the abdominal cavity and can radiate to the sternum, in addition, there are belching, increased heartburn, and nausea.

Intercostal neuralgia

A disease in which one of the nerve processes is infringed or inflamed in the intercostal space in the chest area is called intercostal neuralgia. The pathological process is always accompanied by sharp stabbing pains that encircle the thoracic region of the body, 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 increases with deep breaths, coughing, sneezing, intense exercise, careless or sudden movements, even the head can respond with bouts 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 sensations and pain decreases when the patient is at rest.

Psychosomatic diseases

Psychosomatics is very closely related to the state of our body as a whole. For this reason, any nervous strain, systematic exposure to stress, excessive psychological stress cause such a symptom as pain under the left shoulder blade or in some other place.

The main problem is the diagnosis, because initially most specialists will look for the cause of discomfort in various diseases.


In order to treat pain syndrome with localization in the back, and not to simply eliminate it with painkillers, a full-fledged 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 the back, the following examinations are performed:

  • 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 did not give results or the doctor suspected the underlying cause of the pain of another origin during the initial examination, the lungs, heart, or organs of the gastrointestinal tract are checked, respectively.


Back pain in the area of the shoulder blades requires adequate treatment by a doctor. Such symptoms cannot be ignored, or, as mentioned earlier, to relieve unpleasant manifestations with painkillers, because this does not solve the main problem.

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

  • In pathologies 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 deal with neurological symptoms and improve metabolic processes in the body.
  • With heart disease, in different situations, drugs are required to restore a normal heart rhythm, combat high or low blood pressure. Severe pain in the region of the heart is stopped by injections of nitroglycerin.
  • With intercostal neuralgia, the basis of treatment is anti-inflammatory drugs. Muscle relaxants are prescribed for pain relief, as well as lidocaine and novocaine blockades.
  • If the cause of the irradiation of painful sensations was gastric ulcer, antibiotic therapy is used. If the expected effect was not achieved in this way, macrolides, tetracycline or synthetic penicillins are introduced.

It is possible to list possible methods of treatment for a long time, because in such cases it all depends on the nature 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 each 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 them. To do this, there are simple preventive measures that prevent the development of most pathologies:

  • Lead a mobile and healthy lifestyle, engage in non-traumatic sports.
  • When sedentary work, constraining movement, take breaks for a walk or warm-up. It is also important to keep your back straight if you have to sit for a long time.
  • Sleep on a moderately hard flat surface, for this it is better to buy an orthopedic mattress.
  • Eat right, give up fast food, eating fatty foods in large quantities, switch to a fractional food system.
  • Give up bad habits, especially large amounts of alcohol, as well as smoking.
  • Avoid physical overexertion and heavy lifting. If you still have to lift something heavy, do it with a straight back.

By following these simple preventive measures, you can never encounter pain in the left shoulder blade. But even if this happens, do not delay and do not self-medicate, consult a doctor.