Doc… I’ve Got Severe Pain Between My Shoulder Blades – What’s Causing It?

There are many causes of pain in the shoulder blades. Pain between the shoulder blades can occur as a result of mundane problems such as working at the computer too long without a break. Some causes though are serious and must be addressed immediately.

Here are some them:

Gall Bladder Pain

Sporadic pains in the middle of the upper abdomen, or just below the ribs on the right side are felt. The pain may spread to the right shoulder or between the shoulder blades. The pain can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting and sometimes excessive gas. The attack can last from a few minutes to two to three hours before getting better. The frequency and severity of attacks is very variable. Attacks can be triggered by eating fatty foods such as chocolate, cheese or pastry. It can be difficult to distinguish the pain from other diseases, such as: gastric ulcer, back problems, heart pains, pneumonia and kidney stones.

Neck source from arthritis or disc disease

This is a general pain located in the neck area and may be associated with stiffness in the neck muscles. The pain may radiate down to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades. It may also radiate out into the arm, the hand, or up into the head, causing a one-sided or double-sided headache. The muscles in the neck are tense, sore and feel hard to the touch. Acute pain can give rise to abnormal neck posture in which the head is forced to turn to one side; this condition is known as torticollis.

The pain at the base of the skull may be accompanied by a feeling of weakness in the shoulders and arms. There may be a prickly or tingling sensation in the arms and fingers.

Angina Pectoris

Angina pectoris derives from Latin and translates as ‘tight chest’. It feels like a heavy, crushing pain or a constricting feeling in the center of the chest behind the breast bone (sternum) or on the left side of the front of the chest. The pain can radiate out to either one or both arms, more often the left. It can be experienced in the throat, jaw, the stomach and, more rarely, between the shoulder blades.

Angina is often brought on by:

o physical exercise

o psychological stress

o extreme cold

o a heavy meal.

Once these trigger factors stop, the pain generally ends quickly, usually within 2 to 10 minutes.

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer, an abnormal cell growth in the liver presents in two ways:

o Primary cancer means that the cancer started in the liver

o Secondary cancer of the liver occurs when a cancer starts someplace else and spreads to the liver.

The early warning signs of liver cancer:

A hard lump in the abdomen, below the rib cage on the right side.

Discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side.

Pain around the right shoulder blade, or pain between the shoulder blades.

Yellowish skin color (jaundice)

Abdominal swelling causing a feeling of fullness

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer appears as a tumor, or an abnormal growth of cells in the esophagus. The esophagus is the food passageway that connects the throat to the stomach.

Esophageal cancer usually does not cause any symptoms until the cancer has advanced to a stage that is too late for effective treatment. The main symptom is difficulty in swallowing food. There is a frequent sensation of food getting stuck in the throat or chest.

Signs of advanced esophageal cancer include:

Pain when swallowing.

Pain in the throat or back, behind the breastbone or pain between the shoulder blades.

Decreased appetite and weight loss.

Hiccups with the feeling of food getting stuck in the throat or chest.

Vomiting and coughing up blood.

Aortic dissection

When the aorta, the major artery leading from the heart, tears, there can be sudden sharp pain in the spine between the shoulder blades. This is an obvious surgical emergency.