Questions Your Doctor May Ask
While some questions may be unique to your health history and situation, in most cases be prepared to answer:
- Which;shoulder blade is;painful? Your right shoulder blade, your left shoulder blade, or both?
- How long have you been having the pain?
- Did the pain come on gradually or suddenly?
- Have you changed your exercise routine lately?
- Do you participate in activities that often cause pain in the shoulder or shoulder blade? For example, tennis, golf, swimming, basketball, badminton, racquetball?
- Is the pain on the same side of your body you sleep on?
- How would you describe your pain? For example, is it sharp or dull, superficial or deep, burning or achy, stabbing, or steady?
- What makes the pain worse? For example, do certain movements, a deep breath, or eating make the pain worse?
- What makes the pain better?
- What other symptoms have you been having? For example,;shortness of breath, pain in other regions of your body,;coughing,;chest pain, hoarseness, unexplained weight loss, or abdominal pain.
- Do you, or have you ever smoked?
Visit A Health Care Provider
If the above treatments dont effectively reduce the pain under your shoulder blade, visit a physiatrist, chiropractor, or physical therapist. These health care providers will evaluate you for the source of the pain and can individually tailor plans that will help strengthen and stretch your upper back, neck, and core muscles. They might also provide manual manipulation, using hand maneuvers to loosen stiff muscles or misaligned joints.
You may need to take a trial and error approach with these tips. Try a combination of these treatment ideas to see what reduces the pain under your shoulder blade.
Signs And Symptoms Of Shoulder Pain
There may be many causes of shoulder pain. They all have their own unique set of symptoms.;
People with shoulder pain can experience pain deep in the shoulder joint, in the back or the front of the shoulder and the upper part of the arm. Sometimes the pain in the shoulder can be described as a catching pain. The location and type of pain is likely to relate to the structure causing the pain.
In some conditions there may be reduced movement, and moving the shoulder may cause you to feel pain. A feeling of weakness of the shoulder/upper arm is also common.;
Depending on the condition, there may be a sensation of the joint slipping out and back in to the joint socket, or the shoulder can become completely dislodged . Some people may experience sensations of pins and needles and burning pain. This is more likely to be associated with nerves from the neck than the shoulder joint itself.
Lack of movement after a shoulder dislocation is usually due to pain. Complete rotator cuff tears and injury to the axillary nerve both cause weakness in moving the arm away from the body. These problems require close clinical examination.
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What Are The Causes Of Pain Under The Right Shoulder Blade
When suffering from pain under your right shoulder blade, your doctor may make the determination that you are having a gallstone attack. When a gallstone lodges in a duct, this results in a blockage. The symptoms of a lodged gallstone include pain between your shoulder blades; pain in your right shoulder; intense pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen and equally intense pain right below your breast bone or sternum in the center of your abdomen, according to the Mayo Clinic 1.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Right Shoulder Blade Pain
Right shoulder blade pain is a typical occurrence but self-diagnosis is troublesome. Serious and potentially harmful disease can cause right shoulder blade pain and just a doctor can effectively eliminate more serious causes.
Pain is the bodys messenger signaling a potential issue that deserves our attention. Pain in particular areas of the body is more substantial and avoiding any delay in looking for healthcare is necessary. Right shoulder blade pain can be caused by a series of processes varying from the non-worrisome benign to life threatening.
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Why Do I Have Shoulder Pain At Night Only
While this nighttime shoulder pain cannot always be explained, a lot of the pain comes down to:
- Being still at night
- Unrelieved tension and stress from the day
- The sleeping position you choose
- Your mattress
During the day, the shoulder is being actively used while you are in a vertical position. The tendons engage and are pulled downward by gravity, which allows space to be made in the muscle groups in the shoulder. This additional space allows for an increase in blood flow and oxygen that alleviates the stiffness and pain that would be present otherwise.
When you lay down to rest or sleep at night, you are generally in a horizontal position. This removes the effect of gravity and allows the shoulder muscles to relax. The lack of movement and the relaxation of the muscles allows the fluids in your joints to settle and decreases the flow of blood, allowing the joint to become inflamed. People also tend to lie on their shoulder while sleeping, which can compress the joint even further, and thereby worsening the inflammation.
When The Shoulder Is The Suspect
Shoulder pain is most often caused by an injury to the rotator cuff, a group of tendons and muscles that stabilize the joint. The rotator cuff develops wear and tear with age, and can be easily injured. When this happens, we compensate by using different muscles to pick things up or reach for them. This may cause both shoulder and neck pain, says Dr. Ricchetti. You may have a rotator cuff injury or other shoulder problem if pain:
- Develops in the shoulder itself or on the outside of your upper arm.
- Is dull and aching.
- Improves when you rest your arm.
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What Exercises Should I Do
The following exercises may help you. Ask your doctor if you should do other exercises, too. You can also try these rotator cuff exercises.
Range of motion
Stand up and lean over so youre facing the floor. Let your sore arm dangle straight down. Draw circles in the air with your sore arm. Start with small circles, and then draw bigger ones. Repeat these exercises 5 to 10 times during the day. If you have pain, stop. You can try again later.
Having good shoulder posture can help prevent shoulder pain. Many people with shoulder pain often lift up or hunch their shoulder forward. Work on improving your posture if you find yourself slumping or hunching. Throughout the day, focus on bringing your shoulder or shoulder blade down and holding there. Another exercise is to stand against the wall with the back of your head, shoulders, legs, and heels touching the wall. Notice if your painful shoulder blade doesnt touch the wall completely. Keep trying that position throughout the day.
Upper extremity strengthening
As your pain goes away, try adding a general upper body weight-lifting program using weight machines or free weights. Lie on your right side with your left arm at your side. With a weight in your left hand and your forearm across your tummy, raise your forearm.
Keep your elbow near your side.
Try Out Cold Or Heat Therapy
Ice is a quick way to relieve pain. Wrap the ice or cooling device in a wet cloth before applying it to your skin. Apply the cold device for 15-20 minutes. Leave about 45 minutes between applications. Ice or cold reduces blood flow to the affected area. By doing so, inflammation and swelling may be reduced. As a result, you feel less pain.
Some individuals prefer heat over cold. Go with what feels best for you, or alternate between them. Heat, in particular, may offer relief, if your muscles feel tense. Heat promotes blood flow in the applied area and also causes the local muscles to relax.
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Causes And Treatments For Pain Under Right Shoulder Blade
Often we ignore simple muscle and joint pains. We think these are just signs of exhaustion and a little rest will be enough to get rid of them. But ignoring these can be very dangerous.
Most of us have experienced shoulder pain, but we push it to the back of our minds, not paying any attention to it. Unfortunately, what most of us dont know is that the causes of shoulder pain can be pretty severe. Most of the times, pain under shoulder blade is not critical.
But we should always check it out in order to be safe. When we speak about pain under the shoulders, we are mostly talking about the scapulae. These are the triangular-shaped bones which are responsible for the movements of our shoulders.
What Is Causing My Leg Pain
Due to the complexity of the joints and the vast number of possible causes, it is important that you see someone who is trained in these areas. Typically, your healthcare provider will use a combination of a physical examination and advanced imaging to get to the root cause of your problems. This is done by finding the location of the pain, aggravating or alleviating factors, type of pain sensation, and other symptoms such as swelling, skin changes, and bruising as other tools to assist in the diagnosis.
Can a Chiropractor Help?
As with any condition, you want to start with treating the most common and typical cause of the pain and symptoms first. Misalignment of the vertebrae in the neck and lower back has been found responsible for the vast majority of reported arm and leg pain. When bones or discs are out of position and are unable to move properly, it can cause irritation to the surrounding tissues and nerves.
Many patients are surprised to see how extensively their nerves are spread throughout the body, from the spine all the way to the fingertips and toes. As a result, injuries to the vertebrae in the spine can create the sensation of pain anywhere along arms and legs. Through a careful pattern of treatment, patients at Access Health Centers have experienced high levels of success through chiropractic treatment. If you or a loved one is experiencing arm or leg pain contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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Musculoskeletal And Traumatic Causes
Pain in the collarbone is also commonly caused by muscular injury to your shoulder. Your shoulder contains a number of muscles and tendons that can be strained or torn from overuse or trauma. It is often difficult to describe this pain other than “shoulder pain“.
- Fracture: Fall or direct blows to the collarbone can break the bone.
- Dislocation: Falls or direct blows to the shoulder can dislocate the shoulder joints and is especially painful.
- Muscle strain: Overuse of the arm and shoulder muscles can cause painful tears and strains.
Concerns Your Doctor May Ask
While some concerns may be distinct to your health history and scenario, most of the times be prepared to address:
- Which shoulder blade is painful? Your right shoulder blade, your left shoulder blade, or both?
- For how long have you been having the pain?
- Did the pain come on slowly or unexpectedly?
- Have you altered your workout regular lately?
- Do you participate in activities that typically trigger pain in the shoulder or shoulder blade? For example, tennis, golf, swimming, basketball, badminton, racquetball?
- Is the pain on the same side of your body you sleep on?
- How would you explain your pain? For instance, is it sharp or dull, shallow or deep, burning or throbbing, stabbing or stable?
- What makes the pain even worse? For instance, do particular movements, a deep breath, or eating make the pain even worse?
- What makes the pain better?
- What other symptoms have you been having? For example, shortness of breath, pain in other regions of your body, coughing, chest pain, hoarseness, unexplained weight loss, or stomach pain.
- Do you, or have you ever smoked?
Issues Associated With Shoulder Pain At Night
On top of the pain, most people with shoulder pain at night;sleep poorly, which has a completely different set of problems associated with it. These can include:
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Low energy
- Mood disorders
Sleeplessness can become a vicious cycle of decreasing sleep and increased pain, which will only make your condition worse.
Good Posture For A Healthy Back
Because most shoulder blade pain is associated with muscle strain, it is important to make sure that you always have good posture. How can you check this? To check your posture, you can do this:
- Stand with your back against a wall
- Your head, shoulders, and buttocks should be touching the wall
- You should be able to slide your hand through the small curve in your lower back
When you do that, you will notice that there is an imaginary straight line from your ears to your ankles. This is the best posture to avoid putting extra strain on the muscles in your back .
If you have to sit at a desk all day, make sure that your back is as straight as possible and you have a small support at your lower back. The chair should be high enough so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Your feet should be flat on the ground with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
To find some easy exercises on how to improve your posture, read my article: the best exercises to improve your posture.
Because pain in the shoulder blade can be caused by a stiff neck, you can do this exercise in 60 seconds to ease a stiff neck:
- Depending on which side of your neck the pain is on, use that hand to press into the affected area. Use good pressure, but not too much that you get severe pain.
- Turn your head in the opposite direction of the pain and push your chin towards your armpit.
- Return your head to the starting position and repeat 15-20 times.
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Shoulder Impingement Or Painful Arc Syndrome
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that keep the upper arm bone held in the shoulder blade socket.
Pain from a problem with the rotator cuff is often called shoulder impingement. The condition causes swelling, pain or damage to the tendons of the rotator cuff. This can make it painful and difficult to move your arm properly.
You may find it painful and difficult to lift your arm away from your body, particularly if youre trying to lift your arm above your head. Your arm may feel weak or you may have a dull lingering pain in your upper arm.
Really, its nothing to do with your tendons being trapped by bones, as was previously thought. Instead, its caused by overuse or age-related problems with the tendons themselves but the name is still used. This condition can also be called painful arc syndrome.
Rest and physiotherapy are the main courses of treatment for a shoulder impingement. Your doctor may recommend an injection of steroids and a local anaesthetic, to help with the pain.
If the pain doesnt settle, or comes back within a few months of treatment, you may need keyhole surgery.
If You Have To Go To The Doctor
If you talk with your doctor about right shoulder and arm pain, they may recommend the following, depending on the severity of your condition.
- Immobilization: In some cases, limiting the movement of your shoulder or arm may help it heal. This is often achieved using a sling, brace, or cast. Your doctor will let you know when it can be removed.
- Corticosteroid injections: This is a type of medication that your doctor can inject into the affected area to help reduce inflammation.
- Prescription medications: Prescription pain medications may be given for severe pain. Oral corticosteroids can help ease inflammation. If you have RA, your doctor will likely prescribe a disease-modifying drug.
- Physical therapy: Your doctor may give you a list of exercises to do that can help you regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion. In some cases, they may recommend that you work with a physical therapist.
- Surgery: Surgery may be recommended when other treatments havent been effective or when damage is severe. The specific procedure thats used can depend on whats causing your condition.
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Symptoms Of Shoulder Blades Pain
Back pain between your shoulder blades should not be ignored especially if the cause is unknown. The typical symptoms that you should be aware of and should be consulted with a professional include:
- Chronic pain lasts for a few weeks or several months.
- Pain begins between shoulder blades and spreads out to other parts of the back, including arms.
- A sharp explosion of pain.
- Lingering pain that does not go away throughout the day.
- Sharp pain or stabbing-like pain
These symptoms should not be taken lightly. If you are experiencing any of these signs, visit your doctor for proper diagnosis and the right treatment.
Causes Of Shoulder Pain When Night
Although many shoulder disorders can cause pain, the most common cause of shoulder pain at night comes from rotator cuff tendinitis. It usually is caused by irritation of the shoulder tendons leading to inflammation and pain. This condition can be caused by many things, including:
- Repetitive work injuries
Rotator cuff tendinitis is known to affect millions of people in the U.S. each year and is a major cause of;shoulder pain when sleeping.
Some of the other causes of shoulder pain at night are:
- Frozen shoulder
- Shoulder dislocation
Why exactly does the pain increase at night even though it might be fine during the day?
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