Shoulder Blade Pain

Feeling pain in your shoulder blade can be problematic. It is a part of our body that we constantly use and rely on heavily, so it is natural to stress when something feels off. However, shoulder blade pain is relatively common and can stem from several causes. Let us look over the shoulder blade, what could be causing your pain, and some treatments you can try.

Understanding the Shoulder Blade

Your shoulder blade, or scapula, is a triangular-shaped bone that sits on the upper back. It connects to the shoulder joint’s humerus (upper arm bone) and helps create a smooth gliding surface for the arm to move. It is also involved in many muscle movements, including elevating and rotating the arm.

What Could be Causing Shoulder Blade Pain? 

There are many possible causes of shoulder pain, which can vary depending on when the pain happens. Here are some of the most common reasons:

Muscle Strain

Repetitive motions, poor posture, and carrying heavy objects can lead to muscle strain, the most common cause of shoulder blade pain.


Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other forms of arthritis can affect the shoulder joint and cause pain in the shoulder blade.


A fall or other impact can cause a fracture in the shoulder blade.

Muscle Tears

Tears in the muscles or tendons around the shoulder blade can occur with overuse or sudden trauma.


Osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle, can lead to fractures in the shoulder blade.

Compressed Nerves

Compression of the nerves in the shoulder can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the shoulder blade.

Frozen Shoulder

Also called adhesive capsulitis, a frozen shoulder is a condition in which the connective tissue around the shoulder joint becomes stiff and inflamed. It can be excruciating and may make it difficult to move the arm.

Heart Problems

Shoulder blade pain can sometimes be a symptom of a heart attack. This is more likely if the pain is accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, or chest pain. If you think you may be having a heart attack, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.


Shoulder blade pain can be a symptom of breast, lung, or other types of cancer, usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as fatigue, weight loss, and difficulty breathing.

Doctor evaluating shoulder blade pain

Treatments for Different Causes of Pain 

The treatment for shoulder blade pain will depend on the underlying cause. Here are some common remedies to ease your shoulder or upper back.


Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) are often recommended as a first-line treatment for shoulder blade pain. To do this properly, you should:

  • Rest: Take a break from any activities that are causing or aggravating your pain.
  • Ice: Apply ice to the painful area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
  • Compression: Use an elastic bandage or compression sleeve to help reduce swelling.
  • Elevation: Raise your arm above your heart to help reduce swelling.

Physical Therapy

Stretches and exercises can help to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder and reduce pain. Physical therapy may also be helpful for people with arthritis or frozen shoulder.


Surgery may be necessary for people with fractures, severe arthritis, or tears in the muscles or tendons. This is for severe pain in extreme cases that do not respond to other treatments.

Heart problems and cancer need to be followed up with doctors specializing in those areas.

Let’s see how we can help

Should blade pain and any other upper back pain can be extremely debilitating, and at Premier Podiatry and Orthopedics, we’re here to help. At our clinic, we offer treatments that can help relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. 

To learn more about how we can help, call us today at (916)-961-3434 or text (279) 800-4542. You can also contact us online.

We look forward to helping you feel your best!

Looking to schedule an appointment with a physician?

Just click the button below to begin requesting your appointment today!

Carmichael Office

6620 Coyle Avenue,
Suite 202
Carmichael, CA 95608

Roseville Office

576 N Sunrise Avenue,
Suite 230
Roseville, CA 95661

Folsom Office

1580 Creekside Drive,
Suite 100 & 110
Folsom, CA 95630

Phone: 916-961-3434

Text: 279-800-4542

Fax: 916-961-0540

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm

Developed by VMD Services.

© Premier Podiatry & Orthopedics. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy