Do You Feel Sharp Stabbing pain Below The Shoulder Blade? Causes And Diagnosis Of Scapular Pain

Scapular pain, or in everyday words, shoulder blade pain, is widespread nowadays. A shoulder blade is a bone in the upper back protected by many ligaments and tendons. These ligaments, tendons, and shoulder blades are the responsible unit for the movement of our arm.

What Is Scapular Pain Or Shoulder Blade Pain?

Someone with scapular pain faces problems in the movement of their arms because of the functioning of the scapula bone. While moving their arm, they might feel sore and ache in their upper back and between their shoulder blade.

Feel Sharp Stabbing pain Below The Shoulder Blade Causes And Diagnosis Of Scapular Pain

As a result, scapular pain is not much of a problem, but it can be critical in some situations, and one should not take it lightly and get its treatment as soon as possible.

Causes of Scapular Pain

There is no particular reason for scapular pain. Someone might have it because of something serious like cancer or heart disease. Sometimes, it may be because of the wring sleeping posture or sitting at a wrong angle while working on the computer. Some other causes are degenerative disc disease, arthritis, gallbladder disease, and shingles. The inflammation of the shoulder blade area or trauma can also play a role in scapular pain. So scapular pain can sometimes be as normal as muscular pain, or it can be due to something very serious like lung or heart disease.

Some other causes of shoulder pain are – 

  • Bone and joint-related – Osteoporosis, arthritis, or compressed nerves are related to bone and joint, which can cause scapular pain. Scapular bone is one of the hardest bones, and thus, shoulder blade fractures are not so common. A fracture of the scapular bone can be due to an accident at high speed or falling from a height.
  • Musculoskeletal – The most common reason behind scapular pain is the overuse of a muscle or muscular pain in common terms. Muscular pain happens when someone starts doing exercise or does some heavy lifting that is not routine or can be as simple as sleeping in a different bed
  • Lung-related – Scapular pain is common for people fighting lung cancer. Pancoast tumor, a type of lung cancer, causes pain in the shoulders, arms, and shoulder blades. Cancer is not the only reason related to the lungs that can cause scapular pain. Sometimes pulmonary embolism or Pneumothorax can be related to scapular pain caused due to lung-related problems.
  • Chest-wall related – The chest wall consists of muscles, bones, fat, skin, and other tissues surrounding the body’s vital organs and providing protection. Scapular pain can be due to the shingles infection in the chest wall. Shingle is a condition that arises due to chickenpox causing a burning sensation in the body or tingling pain. The symptoms of shingles involve a two-stage process, at first, there is a body ache, and after a few days, painful rashes start to grow. Diagnosis of shingles is difficult due to this two-stage process.

These were the few causes of scapular pain. Other possible reasons for scapular pain are – 

  • Heart-related
  • Lung-related
  • Abdominal or pelvic
  • Cancerous

Diagnosis of Scapular pain  

To diagnose scapular pain, you have to visit your nearest doctor, and for proper diagnosis, your doctor will ask a few questions. You have to answer them correctly, after which he might suggest you an x-ray, lab test, or some other process.

👉These questions might include – 

  • Is it left shoulder, right shoulder, or both shoulders are in pain?
  • For how long have you been facing this pain?
  • Was it a gradual increase in pain or a sudden pain?
  • Is there any change in your exercise routine?

These were a few examples of the question you might face when visiting your doctor. Your doctor might ask some other questions about the shoulder pain you are having.

👉If you have any of the following symptoms, then you must visit the doctor and tell him about these symptoms. Symptoms that you should not ignore are – 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in other areas
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain

👉After asking you about your pain and gathering all the required information, your doctor might suggest one of the following – 

  • Lab tests 
  • Imaging studies
  • Heart tests
  • Abdominal exams 
Lab Tests

When the doctor suggests your lab test, he wants to check for 

  • Liver inflammation
  • Inflammatory forms of arthritis
  • Other connective tissue diseases

The doctor might suggest other tests depending on the information he gathered while questioning you.

Imaging studies

When your doctor suggests you get an imaging test, he wants to know what is going inside your body with these tests. This test includes – 

  • Chest X-ray
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan of your chest or other areas
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your chest or other areas
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan if you have a history of cancer
Heart tests

When your doctor is being troubled about your health, he might ask you to get – 

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) to check your heart rhythm
  • Stress test to see how your heart responds to exercise

Because sometimes, scapular pain is due to heart-related diseases.

Abdominal Exams 

When talking about abdominal exams, your doctor might suggest you get an upper endoscopy to take a better look at your small intestine or stomach. Furthermore, your doctor can ask you to have an ultrasound to see if something is wrong with the gall bladder.

Conclusion – 

Scapular pain or shoulder blade pain is not uncommon and can be due to many reasons. Most of the time, it’s nothing to be concerned about, but sometimes it can be critical and must not be ignored. Symptoms like 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in other areas
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain

Must not be ignored, and if you face any of the above symptoms, you must visit a doctor immediately.

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