Shoulder blade pain: pain in the shoulder blade

Table of contents


Shoulder blade painful ailments that occur in the area of the shoulder blade pain. The pain can be on one or both sides. Often complaints go hand in hand, on shoulder-blade with restricted movement.

Complaint image

Mostly the shoulder blade pain is due to unilateral strain or Overloading. The discomfort will disappear after a period of conservation. It is, however, persistent, recurrent, or acute pain after an accident, should be a medical examination, a serious disease of the shoulder to exclude.

The anatomy of the shoulder consists of three main structures:

  • the shoulder girdle (clavicles and shoulder blades),
  • the shoulder joint (scapula and humerus),
  • the shoulder roof (acromion) and the Coracoid (Coracoid), that are part of the bone projections of the shoulder blade.

In contrast to many other joints in the human body, the ligaments of the shoulder joint is formed to be relatively weak. Muscles and Tendons provide stability of the shoulder, collectively known as the rotator cuff. Roof cover-like

  • the upper bones muscle (Musculus supraspinatus),
  • the bones muscle (Musculus infraspinatus),
  • the small round muscle of the arm (Musculus teres minor)
  • and the lower shoulder blade muscle (Musculus subscapularis)

as part of the rotator shoulder cuff to the joint. They run from the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone, where your Tendons attach.

Affected by locating the shoulder blade pain is common in the middle between the shoulder blade and the spine. The discomfort but can also occur on or under the shoulder blade. Some patients also complain of neck pain or neck tension. Often the pain make the arm lifting or back take noticeable.

Functional Causes

Between the shoulder blades are the so-called Musculi rhomboidei (Sledgehammer rhomboideus minor and Sledgehammer rhomboid major). Due to the Tension in these muscles can lead to complaints and so-called trigger points, significant hardening by the pressure in the treatment of soft and pain-sensitive. The Musculi rhomboidei are from the trapezius muscle (Sledgehammer trapezius) covers the outside of the shoulders and up the back of the head and also tension and trigger points can. Sufferers usually complain of pain when the shoulder blades towards the spine, which may radiate up the Arm and the Finger.

At the top of the middle “tip” of the shoulder blade the shoulder blade lifter (Musculus levator scapulae), and also tension and the trapezius muscle “bonding”, so that the muscles and their connective tissue sheaths (fascia) are not properly slide against each other and cause discomfort. Affected usually complain about occasional pain at the base of the shoulder blade when Lifting the shoulder or the head obliquely backward and rotate.

Muscle tension pain are among the most common causes of shoulder blade and can affect any muscle that runs in the area of the shoulder.

The Rotator Cuff Syndrome

The term “rotator cuff syndrome” (PHS, Periarthropathia humeroscapularis), different Symptoms combined, with wear-induced damage go hand in hand and, among other things, pain in the area of the shoulder blade. The signs of wear and tear can range from small cracks (Ruptures) in the tendon fibers to complete tendon demolition. This primarily affects:

  • the rotator cuff (rotator cuff syndrome),
  • the tendon plate of the shoulder-blade screwdriver,
  • the biceps tendon (biceps tendon syndrome).

Pain and restricted movement usually occur. In addition, can inflame the Tendons and/or bursae. Calcium deposits of the supraspinatus tendon is affected, or adhesions in the joint can lead to a stiffening of the shoulder. Some Sufferers also report on POPs in the shoulder (shoulder crack).

The Impingement Syndrome

The impingement syndrome (impingement syndrome) refers to a narrowing of the sliding space for the Tendons of the rotator cuff and Bursa between the humeral head and the acromion. In the result, restrictions on movement of the shoulder joint, accompanied by pain. Often the durable Overload is the cause of the complaints. In some cases, the cause of the disease, however, cannot detect.

The impingement syndrome-related changes in the Suspraspinatussehne are wear and tear, which occur due to a Tightness in the area of the rotator cuff and the overlying Bursa. By the Einquetschung Affected suffer to severe pain under the shoulder blade.

Shoulder blade pain due to injuries

Accident-related injuries to the shoulder are relatively common. These may affect the shoulder joint and/or its surrounding structures such as muscles, Tendons, and ligaments, as well as the shoulder bones. The dislocation of the shoulder joint (shoulder dislocation) can lead to other discomfort to the shoulder blade pain. Similarly, with injuries of other structures of the shoulder.

Under massive violence such as in the case of traffic accidents, the shoulder blade can break. Such a fracture is usually treated conservatively unless other structures are affected. In addition, there are numerous other causes that can lead to shoulder blade pain, such as, for example,

  • Inflammation in the shoulder area
  • Osteoarthritis,
  • Nerve damage,
  • Rheumatism,
  • Tumors
  • and vascular disorders.

Risk factors

Among the risk factors for shoulder blade pain, especially chronic Congestion, for example, due to certain sports such as Tennis and muscle tension, which are not treated in a timely manner. Often a Massage is enough to strong tension in the shoulder area to prevent. Injury-related shoulder blade pain often occurs as a result of traffic accidents or skiing and horse riding accidents.


Occur shoulder blade pain is acute as a result of an accident, persistent or recurring, should be Concerned, seek medical advice. In the case of the medical examination are first asked questions to the medical history and the possible causes of the complaints. After an in-depth examination of the shoulder, at the possible restrictions on movement, and visible changes such as redness and swelling are checked. Often the shoulder blade of a pain with certain movements, which can assist in the diagnosis of important reference points. A tactile examination can provide clues to the trigger points.

To diagnose a muscular or nerve Problem, can be carried out electromyogram (EMG) activity of muscles at rest and in motion is measured, so that it can be determined, in which area (muscle or nerve) of a fault. In addition, the nerve conduction velocity can be determined. Further investigations may also be necessary, these include

  • X-ray examination,
  • Ultrasound,
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • or blood tests.

Treatment options

The treatment of shoulder blade pain depends on the cause. In the case of inflammatory processes, inflammation may be administered-inflammatory painkillers. In addition, the protection of the shoulder can be useful. In other cases, movement and targeted muscle building can help. In the case of a fracture of the shoulder blade to either the immobilization of the shoulder can be made, or, if necessary, a surgical procedure to be performed.

As there is often no disease, but rather functional causes triggers of the symptoms are, can be an osteopathic treatment and Rolfing to be successful. Both treatment concepts are used to address the overall statics of the body and investigate what kind of structures lead to tension in the shoulder. Often trigger points are the trigger for the pain. With various treatment methods including manual therapy, or physical therapy, the trigger points are targeted, soft and pain-sensitive.

Shoulder blade pain prevention

Muscle tension &#8211 prevent; in particular, if you work a lot in Sitting or monotonous activities that strain the muscles in the shoulder blade area – are relaxation recommend exercises, such as, for example:

  • Yoga,
  • Thai Chi,
  • Autogenic Training
  • or progressive muscle relaxation according to Edmund Jacobsen.

In addition, there are a lot of loosening exercises, with the shoulder area can stretch and can be in your daily schedule to fit it in.
(ag, fp, ok; updated on 13.12.2018 )