Pain under the left shoulder blade in the back, from the back is an alarm signal to the body. What does it mean?

Pain that appears on the left side of the shoulder blade is a fairly common symptom that can occur in men and women and even children. At first glance, such symptoms seem frivolous, but in fact the pain under the left shoulder blade in the back can be a harbinger of a number of dangerous diseases.

There are many reasons for the appearance of such a pain syndrome and they are usually not related to problems in the scapulae at all. The most common causes of pain are inflammatory and pathological processes in other organs and systems.

Pain under the left shoulder blade is a signal of one of the serious diseases

Why does it hurt under the left shoulder blade?

To understand why it hurts under the shoulder blade, we need to recall the anatomical structure of a person. In fact, it is precisely these organs that are most often in pain that are nearby, although it happens that the pain radiates along the nerve fibers far from the source of the disease.

The left shoulder blade is located on the ribs that form the chest. The ribs are connected by ligaments and intercostal muscles, and between each rib are the intercostal vessels and the intercostal nerves. In turn, the intercostal nerves branch off from the spinal cord, which is located in the trunk of the spine, central to the scapula. Together with the ribs, the scapula protects the left heart, left lung, stomach, spleen, pancreas and aorta.

Based on this location, the causes of pain can be divided into two main groups:

  1. Pain associated with disorders of the musculoskeletal system, as well as muscle pain.
  2. Pain associated with pathological changes in the work of internal organs (diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, spleen, respiratory organs).

The cause of scapular pain can be determined based on their nature, intensity and location:

  • Pain radiating to the left shoulder blade. . .The pathological source of such pain may be located far from the site of pain. Most often, this symptom is typical of diseases of the stomach or heart.
  • Painful pain under the left shoulder blade. . . Indicates the presence of a prolonged chronic process. Such painful manifestations may be associated with chronic heart disease (pericarditis, myocarditis), as well as cervical osteochondrosis of the spine.
  • Dull pain under the left shoulder blade. . . It most often occurs against the background of the development of thoracic or cervical osteochondrosis. Usually the painful sensations spread down from the back of the head to the back, arm, under the shoulder blade and are accompanied by nausea, dizziness, numbness (tingling) of the hands.
  • Severe pain under the left shoulder blade. . . Intense pain is not typical of the scapular area, which means that it serves as a signal for a pathological condition that can be life-threatening. In the best case, severe pain may indicate intercostal neuralgia, but more often such sensations indicate the presence of a peptic ulcer and the development of a pre-infarction condition.
  • Acute pain under the left shoulder blade. . . Intercostal neuralgia can cause sharp pain - at the same time, when inhaled, the pain syndrome clearly increases, there is a feeling that "it takes your breath away. "Acute pain can be caused by left-sided pneumonia in the acute phase, while the patient experiences cutting and stabbing symptoms throughout the left side of the chest radiating to the left shoulder blade. Acute pain with exacerbation of pancreatitis may occur less frequently - the pain is with shingles and cramps.
  • The woman is worried about the pain under her left shoulder blade from behind
  • Painting pain under the left shoulder blade. . .May indicate the initial stage of development of cervical osteochondrosis. The pain starts just below the occipital bone and radiates from the left (or right) side of the back.
  • Burning under the blade. . . This symptom may indicate prolonged intercostal neuralgia, angina attacks, myocardial infarction. Sometimes the appearance of a burning sensation under the shoulder blade may indicate the development of vegetative-vascular dystonia. In this case, the pain is accompanied by tachycardia, trembling hands and a strong feeling of fear.
  • Constant pain under the shoulder blade on the left. . . This pain syndrome may indicate the development of left-sided pneumonia. In this case, the pain is accompanied by a dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, shortness of breath.
  • Suture pain under the left shoulder blade. . .Suture pain (so-called lumbago) is most often a sign of osteochondrosis, but can also indicate intercostal neuralgia. The feeling of tingling in the back caused by exertion, deep breathing or coughing may be a sign of pleurisy orpneumonia.
  • Compressive pain. . . Indicates the development of osteochondrosis, may also indicate the initial stage of coronary heart disease and exacerbation of autonomic dystonia.
  • Throbbing pain. . .This is the most common manifestation of the left protrusion of the intervertebral disc in the thoracic or cervical spine. Pulsating pain may indicate an intervertebral disc herniation or initial aortic dissection.
  • Acute pain under the left shoulder blade. . . Indicates dangerous conditions and requires immediate medical attention. The causes of the pain syndrome can be: attacks of angina pectoris, left protrusion of the intervertebral disc, gastric ulcer.

The nature of the pain and its location can vary, but most often the painful sensations under the left shoulder blade are a very dangerous symptom that requires immediate medical attention.

What diseases can cause pain under the left shoulder blade?

The pain syndrome on the left side of the shoulder blade is most often caused by pathologies of the musculoskeletal system, heart, stomach and bronchopulmonary system.

Think about the possible diseases accompanied by pain under the left shoulder blade and the accompanying symptoms.

Diseases The nature of pain Related symptoms
Musculoskeletal system
Shoulder-scapular periatritis The pain appears in the shoulder area and radiates to the shoulder blade. The patient cannot move freely (cannot put his hands behind his head due to pain), there is a crunch in the joints when moving.
Intercostal neuralgia The painful sensation is localized in one of the intercostal spaces and is accompanied by a feeling of numbness. The pain syndrome is exacerbated by bending to the left. In the course of the inflamed area may appear redness, characteristic rashes on the skin.
Diseases of the back muscles (myositis, inflammation, lesions) Back pain occurs abruptly, may be painful. On the left side, the pain occurs when the shoulder blade is injured, when the muscles are stretched.
oncology Painful pain under the left shoulder blade or sharp pain of a permanent nature. In scapular tumors, the posterior thoracic region is deformed.
Trauma Intense pain syndrome, especially in the first few hours immediately after the injury. If the pain intensifies when moving, swelling or swelling occurs, it may be a fracture of the shoulder blade or rib.
Osteochondrosis, spondylosis, thoracic scoliosis, intervertebral hernia Severe pain is manifested either continuously or "lumbago". Unpleasant sensations appear in the spine - the feeling that they have "stuck a stake".
Heart disease
Angina pectoris The pain under the left shoulder blade behind the back occurs during exertion and radiates to the left arm, the left shoulder blade, sometimes to the left jaw. Accompanied by shortness of breath, fear of death.
Myocardial infarction Burning pain under the left shoulder blade on the side of the heart. Heart pain is not relieved with pills. The left arm tingles, there is severe shortness of breath, the sternum begins to "burn".
Pericarditis and myocarditis Painful nature of pain on the left side. Accompanied by chills, more often occurs at night and fever.
Ascending aortic dissection aneurysm The pain syndrome migrates from top to bottom. Initially, the pain appears in the chest, then gradually moves under the left shoulder blade and further into the lower back. A sharp drop in pressure.
Diseases of the bronchopulmonary system
Left-sided pneumonia The pain is moderately intense. Cough with sputum, wheezing in the lungs, fever.
Pleurisy The pain manifests itself when breathing Shortness of breath, wheezing sensation in the lungs.
Gastrointestinal pathologies
Stomach ulcer The pain under the shoulder blade is accompanied by a burning sensation (more often at night). Pain associated with eating.
Perforated ulcer Acute and piercing pain (as piercing). Fever, vomiting.
Acute pancreatitis Shingles pain can sometimes radiate to the side. Flatulence, repeated vomiting, fever.

Other symptoms that accompany the pain syndrome can help identify the disease caused by pain under the left shoulder blade:

  • The pain worsens after eating- peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, gastritis.
  • The pain worsens when sneezing- bone diseases, injuries, pleurisy, neuralgia, joint and muscle pathologies.
  • The pain is manifested by turning the head- osteochondrosis, clavicle injury.
  • Pain on swallowing occurs- diseases of the esophagus, psychosomatic disorders.
  • The pain is accompanied by shortness of breath- pleurisy, cardiac pathology, intercostal neuralgia.
  • In pleurisy, cardiac pathology and intercostal neuralgia, pain under the left shoulder blade may be accompanied by severe shortness of breath
  • Cough occurs with pain- damage to the respiratory system.
  • The appearance of temperature- infectious and inflammatory processes: pericarditis, purulent pleurisy, subdiaphragmatic abscess.
  • The pain is accompanied by tingling in the left arm.- angina pectoris, osteochondrosis, myocardial infarction.
  • Nausea and belching accompany the pain- pathology of the gastrointestinal tract (pancreatitis, ulcer, gastritis).
  • Numbness of the tongue occurs with pain- angina pectoris, osteochondrosis, heart attack.

In pregnant women, pain under the shoulder blade occurs for the same reasons as in other people, but in the expectant mother the risk of developing certain diseases is much higher. The most probable cause of left back pain in a pregnant woman is osteochondrosis (due to the greater load on the spine), pyelonephritis (due to displacement of the kidneys and activation of their activity), strain on the back muscles.

In children, pain under the shoulder blade usually occurs as a result of trauma, with neuralgia (after hypothermia), myositis, pleurisy.

Diagnosis and treatment. Which doctor should I go to?

You should choose a doctor to make an appointment with, depending on the nature of the pain and its manifestations:

  • Emergency doctor- with sharp, intense pain, burning sensation in the chest, shortness of breath, accompanied by pain with severe dizziness, severe weakness or loss of consciousness.
  • neurologist- if the pain is related to effort or movement.
  • Traumatologist- if the pain appeared after an injury.
  • Cardiologist- with a burning sensation behind the sternum, extending under the shoulder blade, in the left hand, in the jaw.
  • Pulmonologist (or therapist)- if the pain sensations intensify when breathing and are accompanied by cough, shortness of breath, fever.
  • Gastroenterologist- if the pain is related to eating and is accompanied by dyspeptic disorders.
  • Surgeon- pain under the shoulder blade is accompanied by deformity of the sternum, with sharp pain accompanied by fever.

If it is difficult to decide on your own to choose a doctor, it is worth contacting a therapist, who based on the results of the examination will make an appointment with a specialist.

Diagnostic measures are prescribed depending on the causes of pain under the left shoulder blade, behind:

  • General examination - taking the anamnesis and interviewing the patient, visual examination (measurement of pulse, blood pressure, temperature, palpation, listening), taking blood and urine tests.
  • X-ray examination, CT and MRI - determines the pathology of the spine and diseases of the musculoskeletal system, as well as diseases of the pulmonary system.
  • Ultrasound of abdominal organs, EGD - gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Ultrasound and ECG - are prescribed for the study of cardiovascular disease.
Long-term pain under the left shoulder blade in a man, requiring a visit to the therapist

The treatment regimen for pain under the left shoulder blade is chosen for each disease specifically - there is no single treatment protocol.

Important!The treatment of pain under the left shoulder blade is primarily the treatment of a disease that provokes pain syndrome.

If the pain is associated with cardiovascular pathologies, cardiac drugs are prescribed, a diet sparing physical and psycho-emotional activity is prescribed.

Gastrointestinal pathologies that cause pain are treated with antacids and a gentle diet.

Diseases of the musculoskeletal system are treated with long-term therapy, including the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, performing special therapeutic exercises.

Surgical treatment is prescribed when conservative therapy is ineffective. Surgery is mandatory for perforated ulcers, severe pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, rupture of the spleen, intervertebral hernia.

If there is pain under the left shoulder blade, it is mandatory to be examined by a doctor to avoid the appearance and development of life-threatening pathologies.