Severe pain between the shoulder blades

This is one of the most common problems seen by rheumatologists.  And it’s one of the most complicated.  The reason is because there are so many possible causes.  The physician needs to make the determination as to whether the pain is coming from the spinal column, the muscles, the ligaments, or the muscles.  Disorders such as disc herniation, muscle pull, and ligament dysfunction all can be a cause of this problem.  Also, neck disorders can cause referred pain to the area between the shoulder blades. Finally bursitis beneath the shoulder blades can also be a cause. Any or all of these areas could be responsible for the pain.

Also, is the pain coming from deeper structures?  An example is a patient of mine who told me about his pain and one clue made me send him to the emergency room by ambulance.  It turns out he had an aortic aneurysm that had to be operated on that night.

Shoulder blade pain can originate from the heart, lungs, and even the gall bladder.

Obviously, the diagnosis points the way to the proper treatment.

Most musculoskeletal causes of this type of pain are treatable.  It’s a good idea to see an experienced rheumatologist and also to get as much information as you can to make an informed decision.

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