Pain in Back Under Shoulder Blade

If you have pain in your back under your shoulder blade (called scapula), it may feel like a tight knot or tender to the touch. It is usually due to overused muscles or a muscle strain, and it gets better with rest, exercise and treatment. Pain under the shoulder blade can also be a sign of a serious problem, such as a heart attack or blood clot. If you have persistent pain in this area, see a doctor for evaluation and treatment.

A strained muscle is the most common cause of pain in the back under your shoulder blade. Overuse or repetitive activities, such as throwing a ball or lifting weights can strain these muscles. Poor posture can also cause this type of pain, as slouching puts pressure on the muscles in the upper back. A mild strain usually heals within a few weeks with ice, rest and over-the-counter pain medications.

Pain under the shoulder blade can sometimes be aggravated when you take a deep breath because the spine and rib cage are connected in this area. This can be a sign of a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lung.

Pain under the shoulder blade can often be relieved by massage or by using heat or cold therapy. Cold therapy, such as ice wrapped in cloth, can calm spasms and reduce swelling. Heat, such as a hot water bottle or sitting in a whirlpool bath can loosen muscles and relax tension. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen (Tylenol), can help reduce inflammation and ease the pain in back under shoulder blade

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