Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Authored by Debra Cornelius in Diseases 
Published on 10-12-2009

Pain between the shoulder blades can occur for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the cause, pain anywhere in your body is a signal that something needs your attention. Pain between the shoulder blades that reoccurs or comes on suddenly without warning needs to be taken seriously.The worst thing to do with any ongoing pain you may have is to simply ignore it. The three most likely causes for pain centered between the shoulder blades are muscle strain, gallbladder disease and heart attack.

Muscle Strain

Muscle strain is the most common cause of pain between the shoulder blades. Poor posture, strenuous exercise, long hours of desk work being hunched over the keyboard all can lead to strained or weakened back muscles. In time weakened muscles will cause pain to center between the shoulder blades.

To correct this type of muscle strain it is important to be aware of good posture. Always sit upright in your chair when working at the computer rather than slumping forward in your seat. Change position frequently and ask your doctor, chiropractor or a physical therapist for exercises you can perform that will strengthen your back muscles.

Gall Bladder Disease

Gallbladder disease is another common cause of pain between the shoulder blades. Gall bladder disease causes the gall bladder to spasm and form gallstones. This pain is often sudden and severe. Pain between the shoulder blades caused by gallbladder disease can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Gallbladder pain that starts between the shoulder blades often radiates around the abdomen and centers on the right just under the ribcage.

Delaying treatment can lead to life threatening complications. If you experience repeated pain between the shoulder blades that seems to be brought about by fatty foods, or after a heavy meal this could indicate gallbladder disease. See your doctor for a complete examination and course of treatment.

Heart Attack

Most individuals think of pain in the chest or shoulder that radiates down one or both arms as the main symptom of a heart attack. Radiating arm pains or a crushing pain in the chest are usually reported by men suffering a heart attack. Women who have a heart attack are often reported to have severe pain located between their shoulder blades. Without understanding that a heart attack can often cause pain between the shoulder blades, many women delay or fail to seek early diagnosis and treatment for heart related troubles.

Other symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden unexplained weakness
  • Tightness or pressure in the chest

If you experience any of these additional symptoms while having pain between your shoulder blades, seek treatment at the nearest emergency room as soon as possible. Many individuals die needlessly every year because the hesitate going to the emergency room fearing it will be a false alarm if they are diagnosed with gas or simple indigestion. It is always better to err on the side of caution and any history of heart disease is an added indicator not to take chances.

Pain between the shoulder blades can be a temporary simple problem such as over-used muscles. But, any recurring pain is a sign that something is needing closer inspection. Don’t hesitate to see your doctor to discuss any pain issues you may be having. It could really be a matter of life or death. Don’t take chances. The life you save could be your own.



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