Pain in Back Below Left Shoulder Blade: Causes & Relief

If you’ve felt a pain in the back, below the left shoulder blade, you’re not alone. Many people feel this, especially if they sit a lot or do activities that strain the upper back. This can happen from working at home or doing things that make your back work hard.

To deal with this pain, it’s important to know why it happens and how to make it better. We’ll talk about all this, including the things that can cause pain below the left shoulder blade. We’ll also share how you can tell, and what you can do to feel better and stop it from happening again.

Key Takeaways

  • Muscle strain, poor posture, and cervical disc herniation are common musculoskeletal causes of shoulder blade pain.
  • Cardiac, pulmonary, abdominal, and visceral conditions can also lead to referred upper back pain.
  • Seeking medical attention is recommended if left shoulder blade discomfort persists or does not respond to home remedies.
  • Maintaining proper posture, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent aching below shoulder blade.
  • Understanding the potential causes and symptoms of scapular pain is crucial for effective management and relief.

Understanding Back Structure

The back is made of many important parts. These include the cervical spine, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine. Knowing about the back’s anatomy is key to finding what causes pain under the left shoulder blade.

Cervical Spine

The neck has seven vertebrae that hold up the head. It lets you move your head and neck around.

Thoracic Spine

The upper back has 12 vertebrae between the neck and lower back. It gives your body support and protects your chest’s organs.

Lumbar Spine

The lower back has five vertebrae. It helps the body stand up straight and move properly.

Intervertebral Discs

Intervertebral discs are found between the vertebrae. They’re like cushions, helping the back move smoothly.

Musculoskeletal Causes

Injuries in the upper back area are often due to muscle strain. This happens a lot when we push too hard, lift wrong, or make big moves. And, because of this muscle strain, the area below the left shoulder blade can feel tight and sore.

Poor posture doesn’t help. If we sit badly, like slouching, it can mess up our muscles. Then you might feel a lot of discomfort below your left shoulder blade. So, it’s good to sit up straight!


If you break a bone from a hard hit or because of weak bones, it can really hurt below your left shoulder blade. This pain is often sharp and gets worse if you move or touch that spot.

Cervical Disc Herniation

When a disc in your neck bulges and presses on your nerves, it can make your upper back hurt. You might feel a burning pain from your neck all the way to your shoulder blade. This is known as cervical disc herniation.


A bad fall or getting hurt while playing sports can also be the cause. This leads to issues like muscle strain, bruising, or breaks. And these can all make your upper back feel very uncomfortable.

Other Potential Causes

Pain under the left shoulder blade can be from many things. The main reasons are usually in the muscles and bones. But, heart and lung problems can also make you feel this pain. Heart problems, like a heart attack, make your upper back hurt sometimes. If your lungs are in trouble, you might also feel pain in this area.

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Cardiac Causes

Heart issues are not often the reason for pain under the shoulder blade. But, sometimes a heart attack can make your upper back hurt.

Pulmonary Causes

When your lung has a problem, it might hurt your shoulder blade. Common lung issues that do this are pneumothorax and blood clots in the lung.

Abdominal and Pelvic Causes

Stomach and pelvic problems can also cause pain in your upper back. Things like a bad stomach or an ovarian cyst might be the cause.

Visceral Causes

Some internal troubles, like shingles or gallstones, can lead to shoulder blade pain too.

Malignant Causes

Cancer in the lung, liver, or throat can make you feel this pain as well.

Cardiac CausesLess commonReferred pain in upper backDepends on underlying condition
Pulmonary CausesRelatively commonShoulder blade painDepends on underlying condition
Abdominal and Pelvic CausesOccasionalReferred pain in upper backDepends on underlying condition
Visceral CausesRelatively commonShoulder blade painDepends on underlying condition
Malignant CausesLess commonPain around shoulder blade areaDepends on underlying condition

pain in back below left shoulder blade

Feeling pain below your left shoulder blade is something many people deal with. It can really affect your daily life. This pain might be dull or sharp, and it gets worse with certain movements. Knowing the causes of this pain is key to finding help.

Many things can cause this kind of pain, like muscle strain or bad posture. An injury to the shoulder from a fall can also be the cause. Sometimes, problems with the heart, lungs, or stomach can make your upper back hurt below the left shoulder blade.

If you notice pain spreading, especially when you breathe or in your arm, see a doctor. They will talk with you, check you, and maybe do tests to find the cause. Then, they can give you the right treatment to feel better and stop the pain from coming back.

Symptoms of Upper Left Back Pain

Pain below the left shoulder blade can mean different things. You might feel Radiating pain down your arm. Or maybe a dull pain under the shoulder blade itself. If the hurt gets worse when you breathe or eat, it could be serious. This type of pain can come from heart or lung problems. You might also feel Arm pain, weakness, or numbness if it’s linked to your nerves or spine.

Diagnosing Upper Left Back Pain

Figuring out why your back hurts under the left shoulder takes a lot of looking into. First, the doctor or nurse will ask you a ton of questions. They want to know when the pain started, how much it hurts, and if you feel it anywhere else. Then, they will check your back and how it moves to find the problem.

Medical History

The talk about your pain is super important. Your healthcare provider will ask when it started and where you feel it. They’ll ask if it gets worse with certain things you do. They’re also interested in any past injuries, health issues, or daily habits that might make your upper left back hurt.

Physical Examination

Next up is the checkup. Your healthcare provider will carefully look at and feel your back. They are checking for sore spots, tight muscles, or bad spine signs. They’ll also move your back, test how strong you are, and check certain reflex responses. This helps figure out what’s going on.

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Diagnostic Tests

If the doctor or nurse thinks they need to see more, they might ask for special tests. This could be X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. These tests give a better look at your back and muscles. They help find out if you have a herniated disc or another problem. Sometimes, they will also do blood tests or EMGs to check your nerves.

All the info from your medical history, the checkup, and the tests helps your healthcare provider understand your pain better. With this, they can decide what to do to help you feel better. They will give you a plan to treat the real problem.

Treatment Options

If you have pain in your back below the left shoulder blade, treatments will vary. How bad it is and its cause are key. Your doctor will make a plan just for you. It might mix different ways to help you feel better and fix the core issue.

Home Remedies

For not-so-bad pain, you might try stuff at home. Take it easy, put heat or ice on it, and use over-the-counter meds. These steps can really help, especially for sore muscles or if you’ve been overdoing it.


Sometimes, your doctor might give you medicine. This can be stronger anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, or certain antidepressants. They’re picked to help with the type of pain you have at your shoulder blade.

Physical Therapy

Going to physical therapy is often key. A therapist will guide you through moves and stretches. These help make your back and shoulder stronger, fix your stance, and boost how limber you are. This can all dial down the pain and stop it from coming back.

Interventional Treatments

If your pain is really bad or it doesn’t go away, more hands-on options might be suggested. Your doctor could propose shots or tiny operations to directly deal with the pain spot. These can give focused relief and might be needed if other ways to help haven’t worked.

Treatment wants to make you feel better, sort out the main problem, and keep the pain from happening again. Close teamwork with your doctor is important. This way, you can land on the right mix of treatments. This can go a long way to ease your shoulder blade pain and make your life better.

Preventing Upper Back Pain

To keep your upper back pain-free, do some important things. First, keep a good posture. This means sitting and moving properly. Do regular exercises that help your back stay strong and flexible.

Staying at a healthy weight and not smoking also really help. These things stop bad blood flow and swelling in your back. By doing this, you can have a healthy back and less pain by your left shoulder.

Proper Posture

It’s key to have good posture to avoid upper back pain. Don’t slouch. Keep your shoulders and head in a line, not bent forward. This way, your back muscles don’t work too hard.

Exercise and Stretching

Doing the right exercises can prevent upper back pain. Work on your upper back muscles often. Also, stretch your chest and back to stay flexible. This stops injuries.

Weight Management

Being at a good weight is very helpful against upper back pain. Extra pounds stress your spine and muscles. A good diet and lots of activity keep you at your best weight.

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Smoking Cessation

Quit smoking to protect your upper back from pain. Smoking cuts off blood and oxygen to your back. It makes inflammation worse and slows healing. Stopping will boost your back’s health.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If pain in the back below the left shoulder blade lasts more than a few weeks or isn’t helped by home treatments, see a doctor. When upper back pain gets very bad quickly or comes with chest pain, trouble breathing, or strange symptoms, it might be an emergency. You should get checked right away.

A doctor will check you out and figure out what’s wrong. They can also make a plan to make you feel better and stop any more problems. It’s very important to get help early for your upper back pain.


Feeling pain below your left shoulder blade can be tough and upsetting. But, knowing what might cause it and getting the right treatment can make things better. A lot of stuff can lead to upper back pain, like strained muscles or bad posture. There are also more serious reasons for the pain.

To help yourself, learn about the symptoms and get checked by a doctor. Then, follow a treatment plan that fits your needs. This can help you control the pain and avoid it coming back.

Making your upper back health a priority let’s you stay active and happy. You might need to work on your posture, do some exercises, or get professional help. Being proactive can really improve how you feel and deal with shoulder pain issues.

Remember, staying informed and looking for solutions is key. Find what’s causing the pain and treat it the right way. This way, you can enjoy a life without pain, free to do things you love.


What are the common causes of pain in the back below the left shoulder blade?

Muscle strains, bad posture, fractures, and more can cause this pain. It can also be from a herniated disc or injury.

Can other medical conditions contribute to pain in the back below the left shoulder blade?

Certainly. Heart or lung problems, issues in the stomach or pelvis, and even cancer could be behind it.

What are the typical symptoms associated with pain in the back below the left shoulder blade?

There are signs like pain down the arm, a sore spot under the blade, and more. This pain might get worse when you breathe or eat. Also, your arm might feel weak or tingle.

How is the cause of pain in the back below the left shoulder blade diagnosed?

Doctors will ask about your health and check you over. They might use X-rays or other tests to find the cause.

What are the treatment options for pain in the back below the left shoulder blade?

You might try home treatments first. This includes rest, ice or heat, and pain medicine. If it’s bad, you could need physical therapy or even surgery.

How can I prevent pain in the back below the left shoulder blade?

Good posture, lots of exercise, not carrying too much weight, and avoiding smoking can all keep back pain away.

When should I seek medical attention for pain in the back below the left shoulder blade?

If the pain won’t go away after a few weeks, or if it gets worse, you should see a doctor. Look out for chest pain, trouble breathing, or problems with your arm or fingers.