Pain between the shoulder blades, or any pain for that matter, is your body's way of notifying you that something is amiss. You should never ignore it and hope it will "go away by itself".
There are a multitude of possible causes of pain between the shoulder blades. We'll discuss common ones in this article and start with the most serious conditions first:
Although the one of the classic signs of an impending or actual heart attack in males is pain in the shoulders, females frequently report pain between the shoulder blades instead.
If you are experiencing pain between the shoulder blades, combined with any of these symptoms, call your Doctor or 911 immediately! Your life may be in danger.
- Squeezing chest pain or pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in chest
- Recurring chest discomfort
- Pain spreading to shoulders, neck or arms
- Indigestion or gas-like pain
- Dizziness, nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weakness, fatigue
- Discomfort/pain between shoulder blades
- Sense of impending doom
Gallbladder Disease / Gallstones
Although Gallbladder pain is commonly felt the right upper abdomen. It can also manifest itself as pain between shoulder blades or under the right shoulder blade.
Usually sudden and severe, the pain can last from 15 minutes to several hours. In severe instances, the pain may be accompanied by vomiting or sweating. Once the attack passes, it may not reoccur for a period of days, weeks, months, or even years. Whether it appears as pain between the shoulder blades, or in any of the more common areas, it is most likely to start after a meal that is high in fat.
SLIDESHOW: Work-Related Factors Effecting Shoulder Pain
The main treatment of gallbladder disease is to remove the gallbladder with a procedure called a laparoscopy cholecystectomy. This is the most popular way to remove the gallbladder because there is less post surgery pain, and it results in a shorter hospital stay.
Liver cancer, an abnormal cell growth in the liver, comes in two types:
Primary cancer means that the cancer started in the liver. Or the liver occurs when the cancer starts in the liver.
Secondary cancer of the liver occurs when a cancer starts someplace else and spreads to the liver.
These early warning signs of Liver Cancer:
- A hard lump in the belly, below the rib cage on the right side.
- Discomfort in the upper belly 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 appears as tumors, 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 display any symptoms until the cancer has advanced to a stage that is too late for a cure. 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 your throat or chest.
- Vomiting and coughing up blood.
Less Scary Stuff
Of course, pain between the shoulder blade could just be the result of a muscle strain from too much time hunched over the computer's keyboard, stress, the way that you are sleeping at night, or other muscle injury caused by sports, exercise, normal aches and pains, or even a bra being worn to tightly.
If you are experiencing pain between the shoulder blades, don't lookup the worst case scenario and jump to conclusions. Look for additional supporting symptoms as well. Read: How To Treat Shoulder Pain As Well As Neck and Back Pain.
No matter what symptoms you have, consult your Doctor if you have even the slightest concern that something may be wrong.
Jessica Horowitz is a writer on health topics at Medical Supplies Services.
Jessica Horowitz Copyright 2004
This page is updated on May 11, 2013.