8 Reasons You May Experience Pain Under Your Right Shoulder Blade

Do you frequently find yourself wincing with discomfort under your right shoulder blade? You’re not alone. Understanding the root cause for your pain is crucial so we can help you find relief and prevent further issues. Pain under the right shoulder blade can stem from various conditions, ranging from mild muscle strain to more serious underlying problems. In this post, our expert physical therapists explore seven common reasons why you might experience shoulder blade pain and what it could indicate for your overall health.

8 Reasons You May Be Experiencing Pain Under Your Right Shoulder Blade

1. Muscle Strain or Tension

One of the most common causes of pain under the right shoulder blade is muscle strain or tension. This can occur due to poor posture, overuse of the shoulder and arm muscles, or sudden movements that strain the muscles in this area. If you spend long hours sitting at a desk or engaging in activities that involve repetitive arm motions, you may be at a higher risk of developing muscle strain under your shoulder blade as well as neck pain.

Did you know? Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) can effectively alleviate muscle strain in the neck and shoulder blade? By targeting trigger points within the affected muscles, IMS therapy helps release tension and promote healing, reducing pain and improving mobility. This technique involves the use of fine needles to stimulate the muscles, providing pain relief for those suffering from chronic neck and shoulder blade discomfort. Heat therapy is particularly helpful after this treatment—your muscles with thank you!


2. Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is another condition that can cause right shoulder blade pain. This condition is characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint, which can radiate to the shoulder blade and upper back. Frozen shoulder often develops gradually and can be accompanied by decreased range of motion in the shoulder joint.


3. Shoulder Arthritis

Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the shoulder joint. Shoulder arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the shoulder area, which may extend to the shoulder blade. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other forms of arthritis can all contribute to shoulder pain and discomfort.


4. Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, providing stability and facilitating movement. Injuries to the rotator cuff, such as tears to the rotator cuff tendon or strains, can result in shoulder blade pain. This pain may worsen with certain movements, such as reaching overhead or lifting heavy objects.


5. Gallbladder Issues

Pain under the right shoulder blade can sometimes be a symptom of gallbladder problems, such as gallstones or inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis). When gallstones block the bile ducts or the gallbladder becomes inflamed, it can cause referred pain that is felt in the shoulder blade region. Other symptoms of gallbladder issues may include abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

6. Liver Problems

Liver conditions, such as hepatitis or liver congestion, can also cause pain under the right shoulder blade. The liver is located beneath the right rib cage, and when it becomes enlarged or inflamed, it can cause discomfort that radiates to the shoulder blade area. Liver-related shoulder pain may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) or abdominal swelling.


7. Pinched Nerve – Impingement or Irritation

Pain under the right shoulder blade may also be due to nerve impingement or irritation in the cervical (neck) spine. Conditions such as cervical radiculopathy or a herniated disc can cause compression of the nerves that travel down the arm, leading to pain, numbness, or tingling sensations that radiate to the shoulder blade. This type of pain is often described as shooting or electrical in nature.


8. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Experiencing pain under your shoulder blade could be a sign of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), a condition caused by compression of nerves or blood vessels in the thoracic outlet area. Symptoms often include pain, numbness, or tingling in the shoulder, arm, or hand, which may worsen with certain movements or activities. If you’re consistently feeling discomfort under your shoulder blade accompanied by these symptoms, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and management of this condition.

Chronic Pain vs. Sharp Pain

When experiencing pain under the right shoulder blade, it’s essential to pay attention to the type of pain you’re feeling, as it can provide clues about the underlying cause. Chronic pain, which is persistent and lasts for an extended period, may indicate conditions such as arthritis, muscle tension, or nerve impingement. On the other hand, sharp or stabbing pain that occurs suddenly may be a sign of a more acute injury, such as a muscle strain or rotator cuff tear.


Relieve Pain Under Right Shoulder Blade at Synergy

If you’re experiencing a persistent or severe shoulder problem it’s important to consult with a physical therapist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. A physiotherapy clinic will complete a physical examination to determine the root cause of your pain, and suggest the best course of treatment. Whether you’re managing interscapular pain,  thoracic spine discomfort, or frustration from a sports injury, our team is here to help. Don’t let shoulder pain limit your daily activities – take proactive steps to address the root cause and reclaim your comfort and mobility. Schedule a same day appointment today.