Pain in the spine in the shoulder blade area and above the waist - why does it hurt?

Back pain in the shoulder blade area

Most often, people complain that the back hurts in the shoulder blade area. By attributing this to overwork, work associated with prolonged sitting or moving heavy objects, they postpone a visit to the doctor.

However, any pain can signal the presence of serious diseases of the spine, threatening the development of complications.

Main reason

Pain in the spine in the region of the shoulder blades is explained by the fact that it is here that a large number of receptors are located that respond to any pathological changes. With the inflammatory process, the production of leukocytes increases, edema is formed, the nerve endings are compressed, causing pain.

When the back hurts in the lumbar region, shoulder blades, the possibility of a disease that requires a therapeutic course is not excluded. Often, diseases affecting such important organs as the heart and lungs become the cause of severe pain.

An exacerbation occurs under the influence of provoking factors: violation of posture, overweight, lack of physical activity. If the back hurts below the shoulder blades, this could be one of the symptoms of a stomach ulcer.

Most often, the main cause is a disease, injury, the psychological state of a person.

Do not try to get rid of the unpleasant symptom yourself, using various compresses and ointments. It is necessary to identify the reasons why the back hurts in the area of the shoulder blades, as a result of which it will be necessary to consult a doctor and undergo an examination.

Injuries to the scapula

This bone is located on the side of the spine, is protected by many muscles and is damaged in very rare cases. His injury is often combined with a rib fracture, so it's not always possible to make a diagnosis in time.

Fracture of the shoulder blade is one of the causes of severe pain

In this case, the victim feels severe pain in the shoulder blade area, sometimes bleeding and the development of hemarthrosis of the shoulder are possible.The cause of the damage is a fall, a traffic accident, a blow.

If the back hurts under the shoulder blades or above, redness and swelling appear, you should immediately consult a doctor. This may be inflammation of the synovial bursa, which is often accompanied by a crunch, a feeling of heaviness.

Dislocation, or rather the displacement of the humerus and shoulder blade relative to each other, is another reason why the back can hurt in the shoulder blade area. The injury occurs with a sharp snap of the arm, on impact. Dislocation of the scapula does not allow for active movement of the upper limb.

On palpation, severe pain is felt. Visually, the asymmetry of the shoulder blades is clearly visible, one of them has a noticeable protrusion of the axillary margin.

Intervertebral hernia

This is the name of a degenerative disease, accompanied by deformation and destruction of the fibrous ring. Any part of the spine is susceptible to pathology.

If the back hurts below the shoulder blades, this could be a sign of a lumbar intervertebral hernia. A thoracic hernia causes a variety of symptoms.

The most frequent:

  • pain between the shoulder blades, which sharply increases with coughing or physical exertion. Its nature is different - it can be both dull and sharp pain in the back.
  • Paresthesias.
  • Shortness of breath, difficult breathing.
  • Muscle weakness, problems with lifting the arms.

The intensity of the symptoms depends on the size of the hernia and the stage of the disease.


Aching pain between the shoulder blades can be a sign of osteomyelitis. This is the name of a purulent infection that affects the bone tissue.

This disease is usually very difficult. The tissues located above the bone are thin enough, so the symptoms at the injury site appear immediately. The main sign of pathology is the presence of a purulent wound, soft tissue edema with hyperemia. A person complains that the back hurts in the region of the shoulder blades, sometimes chills are added, the body temperature rises, and the pulse accelerates.

There are several varieties of this pathology. Osteomyelitis that occurs when bacteria enter bone through the blood is called hematogenous. Its acute form is more common in children and adolescents.

Microorganisms that enter the environment cause exogenous osteomyelitis. The reason for this is an injury, trauma or open fracture. When a purulent lesion passes from soft tissues to bone, they talk about the contact form of the disease.


One of the most common causes of back pain in the shoulder blade area is scoliosis of the thoracic segment of the spine. Since this section is associated with the ribs, there is a chest deformity.

In addition to the main symptom, when the back hurts below the shoulder blades and above the waist, there should be an increase in fatigue, different levels of the shoulders.

Scoliosis of the thoracic spine causes pain in the shoulder blades

Diagnosis is made only by X-rays. When the stage is running, the back almost constantly hurts in the region of the spine.


Back pain in the region of the shoulder blades is the main symptom of osteochondrosis, when the upper part of the spine is subject to degenerative processes. The disease is often confused with pneumonia, tuberculosis.

An experienced neurologist determines osteochondrosis from several cumulative signs. The localization of the pain syndrome depends on the part where the nerve endings are pinched. Therefore, a distinction is made between left-sided and right-sided pathology.

If your back hurts in the shoulder blade area, you definitely need to be examined to start treatment at an early stage. This ensures faster recovery.


This is the name of a polyetiological disease that often occurs together with osteochondrosis, intervertebral hernia and spondylosis. Spondyloarthrosis is arthrosis that affects the intervertebral joints and develops due to injuries, congenital malformations, excessive overloads.

The suspicion of a pathology causes back pain under the shoulder blades that appears for no apparent reason, especially when the weather changes, when moving. The advanced stage is determined by the characteristic crunch.

Subdiaphragmatic abscess

This is the name of a rare but serious complication after inflammation that captures the abdominal cavity. The main symptoms are burning in the back, especially in the shoulder blade area, shortness of breath, hyperthermia, cough.

In addition to the fact that the pain in the spine is localized under the shoulder blades, it can also pass to the right hypochondrium.

Diseases of the internal organs

If the back hurts a lot in the area of the shoulder blades, this can cause suspicion of existing diseases of the heart, bronchopulmonary system and gastrointestinal tract.

Therefore, these symptoms should not be ignored.. It is necessary to immediately pay attention to pulling pains, especially chest pains that hide coronary heart disease and other equally serious diseases of the internal organs. It is important to diagnose and start treatment in a timely manner.

Intercostal neuralgia

The cause of the phenomenon, when burning in the shoulder blade area, there is a feeling that the back is burning, often it is intercostal neuralgia.

Unpleasant symptoms are formed due to the fact that pathological changes affecting the spine cause compression of the intercostal nerves.

Pain in neuralgia occurs at the level of the shoulder blades and has a different intensity. They can get worse when you cough or take a deep breath.

Psychological issues, psychological problems

Back pain under the shoulder blades often occurs for psychological reasons. The patient feels compression and tingling, feels a sense of inexplicable anxiety and fear. Pain can radiate to the right arm, neck.


Often, back pain under the shoulder blade is a consequence of professional activity. Train drivers, drivers, seamstresses, athletes, designers are people whose work is associated with the daily tension of the back muscles.

When the first symptoms appear, you should visit a doctor and undergo an examination.When the disease is detected early and treatment is started in a timely manner, many serious complications can be avoided.

If the back hurts in the area of the shoulder blades, the doctor will prescribe modern diagnostic methods, including X-rays, computed tomography and ultrasound.

It is almost impossible to determine the exact cause of the pain yourself. Since it can often occur with a heart attack, postponing a visit to the doctor is extremely risky.


What to do if your back hurts in the shoulder blade area? Do not forget that the basis for the occurrence of such a symptom can be a variety of pathologies. Therefore, treatment should only be prescribed by a doctor and carried out under her supervision.

Stretching exercises for the treatment and prevention of back pain of the shoulder blades

The traumatic and joint origin of pain requires specific clinical therapy, which includes:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs. Painful sensations are effectively removed with the help of corticosteroids, non-steroidal agents. They can be used externally by applying ointments recommended by a doctor in the area of the shoulder blades or by injection. The combination of these methods allows you to get the best result.
  • Chondroprotectors. They are used to treat the scapular region of the back, when pain is caused by intervertebral hernia, protrusion. Preparations containing mucopolysaccharides, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate will help improve the nutrition of cartilage tissue and increase its elasticity.
  • Physiotherapy. With damage to the joint tissue, physiotherapy procedures show good results.The most popular shock wave technique, in which infrasound acts on the body's tissues. It is able to destroy bone growths, improve blood flow, which leads to increased nutrition of the cartilage, reduces muscle tone and eliminates pain in the shoulder blades. In addition, electrophoresis, massage, paraffin applications and manual therapy are widely used.

If a vertebrogenic cause of pain is established, warming compresses using a solution of dimethyl sulfoxide, turpentine and alcohol will have an effective effect. By improving blood circulation, muscle spasm is relieved and pain is reduced.

Folk remedies can also be used for shoulder pain, but they perform only an auxiliary function.


To avoid such an unpleasant symptom as back pain in the shoulder blade area, following some rules will help.

A healthy diet will save you from back pain in the shoulder blades

For this you need:

  • Eat right. The lack of microelements necessary for cartilage tissue leads to the degeneration of the intervertebral discs.
  • Maintain good posture. Uneven load on the spine is one of the first causes of pain.
  • Move more. This helps prevent excessive muscle tone, normalize blood circulation. Useful walks in the open air, sports games, gymnastics.

We must not forget the regular passage of medical examinations, thanks to which it is possible to detect the development of any pathology at a very early stage.