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Back pain shoulder blade


The shoulder blade is a flat bone, triangular in shape, with its bottom edge situated at the posterior part of the shoulder. In the medical environment, it is called the scapula. In case of trauma, the scapula is rarely broken. Pain in the shoulder blade comes only rarely from the scapula itself, and rather is often referred pain, i.e. pain stemming from another location. Pain felt at the scapula is often due to higher back pain or other pain located at the shoulder. Locating the causes of back and shoulder pain is recommended.


In the case of pain localized in a single shoulder blade, the cause often is related to the shoulder: it is thus necessary to look for signs of inflammation of the affected shoulder, as well as any redness or increase in heat. The back should also be examined by palpation of the entire cervical and thoracic spine as well as the back muscles, which may potentially be affected by paraspinal contractions. If the pain affects both shoulder blades, the back muscles are most often involved and the shoulders should also be examined.


In case of injury, radiographs are typically ordered. In the absence of trauma, the exam will be guided by the context of the pain; the doctor begins by performing an examination of the shoulder and its movements, before moving on to the upper back muscles and the spine. If the cervical spine is causing pain, it is possible to perform an X-ray. However, the doctor may suspect others reasons, and thus order a chest X-ray or laboratory tests.


Several treatments are available. They depend on the cause of the pain. In the case of shoulder joint pain, analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs and local injections can be made according to the suspected origin. In the case of back pain, oral painkillers, such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatory drugs, are given. In the case of muscle pain by contractions, muscle relaxants are the most useful.

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