Pain that appears on the left under the shoulder blade is a fairly common symptom that can occur in men and women, and even in children. At first glance, such symptoms seem frivolous, but in reality the pain under the left shoulder blade from the back can be a harbinger of a number of dangerous diseases.
There are many reasons for the occurrence of such a pain syndrome, and they are usually not associated with problems in the shoulder blades themselves at all. Most often, the cause of pain is inflammatory and pathological processes in other organs and systems.
Why does it hurt under the left shoulder blade?
To understand why it hurts under the shoulder blade, one must remember the anatomical structure of a person. Indeed, very often it is precisely those organs that are nearby that hurt, even if it happens that the pains radiate along the nerve fibers away from the center of the disease.
The left shoulder blade is located on the ribs that form the chest. The ribs are connected by intercostal ligaments and muscles, and between each rib are intercostal vessels and intercostal nerves. In turn, the intercostal nerves branch off from the spinal cord, which is located in the trunk of the spine, in the center of the shoulder blade. Together with the ribs, the shoulder blade protects the left heart, left lung, stomach, spleen, pancreas and aorta.
Based on this position, the causes of pain can be divided into two main groups:
- Pain associated with disorders of the musculoskeletal system, as well as muscle pain.
- Pain associated with pathological changes in the work of internal organs (diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, spleen, respiratory organs).
The cause of shoulder blade pain can be determined based on their nature, intensity and localization:
- Pain radiating to the left shoulder blade. . .The pathological source of such pain may be located far from the site of the pain. Most often, this symptom is typical for diseases of the stomach or heart.
- Aching pain under the left shoulder blade. . . Indicates the presence of a prolonged chronic process. Such painful manifestations can be associated with chronic heart disease (pericarditis, myocarditis), as well as with cervical osteochondrosis of the spine.
- Dull pain under the left shoulder blade. . . Most often it occurs against the background of the development of thoracic or cervical osteochondrosis. Usually the painful sensations spread from the back of the head along 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 shoulder area, which means that it serves as a signal of a pathological condition that can be life threatening. At best, severe pain can indicate intercostal neuralgia, but more often such sensations indicate the presence of a peptic ulcer and the development of a pre-infarct state.
- Sharp pain under the left shoulder blade. . . Intercostal neuralgia can cause sharp pains - at the same time, when inhaling, the pain syndrome clearly increases, there is a feeling that "it is taking your breath away". The acute pain may be caused by acute left-sided pneumonia, while the patient experiences cutting and stabbing symptoms throughout the left side of the chest, radiating to the left shoulder blade. Less often, pains of an acute nature can occur with an exacerbation of pancreatitis: the pains are of a shingles and cramping character.
- Drawing pain under the left shoulder blade. . .It can indicate the initial stage of development of cervical osteochondrosis. The pain begins just below the occipital bone and radiates to the left (or right) side of the back.
- Burning under the shoulder blade. . . This symptom may indicate prolonged intercostal neuralgia, attacks of angina, 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 pains are accompanied by tachycardia, hand tremors 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, low fever, a feeling of lack of air, shortness of breath.
- Pain in the seam under the left shoulder blade. . .Suturing pains (so-called "low back pain") are most often a sign of osteochondrosis, but can also indicate intercostal neuralgia. A tingling sensation in the back caused by exertion, deep inhalation, or coughing can be a sign of pleurisy or pneumonia.
- Pressing pain. . . It indicates the development of osteochondrosis, it can also indicate the initial stage of coronary heart disease and the exacerbation of vegetative-vascular dystonia.
- Throbbing pain. . .Most often, the protrusion of the left side of the intervertebral disc in the thoracic or cervical spine is manifested in this way. Throbbing pains may indicate an intervertebral disc herniation or an incipient aortic dissection.
- Sharp 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, stomach ulcer.
The nature of the pain and its location may vary, but very often painful sensations under the left shoulder blade are a very dangerous symptom that requires immediate medical intervention.
What diseases can cause pain under the left shoulder blade?
Pain syndrome on the left under the shoulder blade is most often caused by pathologies of the musculoskeletal system, heart, stomach and bronchopulmonary system.
Consider the possible diseases, accompanied by pain under the left shoulder blade, and the associated symptoms.
|Illnesses||The nature of the pain||Associated symptoms|
|Shoulder-scapular periatritis||Pain appears in the shoulder area and radiates to the shoulder blade.||The patient cannot move freely (he cannot put his hands behind his head due to pain), there is a creak in the joints during movement.|
|Intercostal neuralgia||The painful sensation is localized in one of the intercostal spaces and is accompanied by a feeling of numbness. The pain syndrome intensifies when bending to the left.||In the course of the inflamed area, redness may appear, characteristic rashes on the skin may occur.|
|Diseases of the back muscles (myositis, inflammation, injury)||Back pain occurs abruptly, it can be painful in nature.||On the left side, pain appears when the shoulder blade is injured, when the muscles are stretched.|
|Oncology||Aching pain under the left shoulder blade or sharp pains of a constant nature.||With scapula tumors, the thoracic part behind is deformed.|
|Trauma||Intense pain syndrome, especially in the first few hours immediately after the injury.||If the pain increases with movement, swelling or swelling occurs, it could be a fracture of the shoulder blade or rib.|
|Osteochondrosis, spondylosis, thoracic scoliosis, intervertebral hernia||Severe pain occurs on an ongoing basis or "low back pain".||Unpleasant sensations appear in the spine - the feeling of having "pushed into a stake".|
|angina pectoris||Pain under the left shoulder blade from the back occurs during exertion and radiates to the left arm, left shoulder blade, sometimes to the left jaw.||It is accompanied by shortness of breath, fear of death.|
|Heart attack||Burning pain under the left shoulder blade on the side of the heart.||Heart pain is not relieved with pills. The left hand becomes numb, there is severe shortness of breath, the sternum begins to "burn".|
|Pericarditis and myocarditis||Aching character of pain on the left side.||It is accompanied by chills, which appear more often at night and a rise in temperature.|
|Dissecting aneurysm of the ascending aorta||The pain syndrome migrates from top to bottom. Initially, the pain occurs 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 pneumonia||The pain is moderately intense.||Cough with phlegm, wheezing in the lungs, fever.|
|Pleurisy||Pain occurs when breathing||Shortness of breath, wheezing sensation in the lungs.|
|Stomach ulcer||Pain under the shoulder blade is accompanied by a burning sensation (more often at night).||Pain associated with eating.|
|Perforated ulcer||Sharp, stabbing pain (like a stab).||Fever, vomiting.|
|Acute pancreatitis||Shingles pains, can sometimes radiate sideways.||Flatulence, repeated vomiting, fever.|
Other symptoms accompanying the pain syndrome can help determine the disease caused by the pain on the left under the shoulder blade:
- Pain gets worse after eating- peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, gastritis.
- The pain gets worse when you sneeze- bone diseases, trauma, pleurisy, neuralgia, joint and muscle pathologies.
- Pain occurs when you turn your head- osteochondrosis, injury to the clavicle.
- Pain occurs when swallowing- diseases of the esophagus, psychosomatic disorders.
- The pain is accompanied by shortness of breath- pleurisy, heart disease, intercostal neuralgia.
- With pain, a cough appears- damage to the respiratory system.
- The appearance of the temperature- infectious and inflammatory processes: pericarditis, purulent pleurisy, subphrenic abscess.
- The pains are accompanied by numbness in the left arm.- angina pectoris, osteochondrosis, myocardial infarction.
- Nausea and belching accompany the pain- pathology of the gastrointestinal tract (pancreatitis, ulcer, gastritis).
- With pain, numbness occurs in the tongue- 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 some diseases is much higher. The most likely cause of left back pain in a pregnant woman is osteochondrosis (due to the increased load on the spine), pyelonephritis (due to the displacement of the kidneys and activation of their activity), overload of the muscles of the back.
In children, pain under the shoulder blade usually occurs due to 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 and 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 associated with 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 increase with breathing and are accompanied by cough, shortness of breath, fever.
- Gastroenterologist- if the pain is associated with meals and is accompanied by dyspeptic disorders.
- Surgeon- pain under the shoulder blade is accompanied by deformation of the sternum, with sharp pains accompanied by high fever.
If it is difficult to decide for yourself on the choice of a doctor, it is worth contacting a therapist, who, based on the results of the examination, will appoint an appointment with a narrow specialist.
Diagnostic measures are prescribed depending on the reasons that caused the pain under the left shoulder blade, behind:
- General examination - taking anamnesis and interviewing the patient, visual examination (measurement of pulse, blood pressure, temperature, palpation, listening), blood and urine tests.
- X-ray, CT and MRI examination - determines the pathology of the spine and diseases of the musculoskeletal system, as well as diseases of the pulmonary system.
- Ultrasound of the abdominal organs, EGD - gastrointestinal diseases.
- Ultrasound and ECG - prescribed for the examination of cardiovascular diseases.
The treatment regimen for pain under the left shoulder blade is selected specifically for each disease - there is no single treatment protocol.
Important!Treatment of pain under the left shoulder blade is primarily the treatment of a disease that causes pain syndrome.
If pain is associated with cardiovascular pathologies, cardiac medications are prescribed, a diet is prescribed that saves physical and psycho-emotional activity.
Gastrointestinal pathologies that cause pain are treated with antacids and a gentle diet.
Diseases of the musculoskeletal system are treated with the help of long-term therapy, including the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, the performance of special therapeutic exercises.
Surgical treatment is prescribed when conservative therapy is ineffective. Surgical intervention is mandatory for a perforated ulcer, severe pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, rupture of the spleen, intervertebral hernia.
If pain appears under the left shoulder blade, it is imperative to be examined by a doctor to avoid the onset and development of life-threatening pathologies.