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Avatar universal

Left shoulder blade muscle... stinking, sharp, burning pain

I get this extremely bad knot in my left shoulder blade muscle area....between the blade and my spinal chord area... when i stuff envelopes or cook or fish.. it gets excruciatingly bad.. i know its just one of the muscles.. but why is it ONLY the LEFT side all the time and how can i minimize the pain because it gets to where i cant hold my head up sometimes.  It was knotted so bad the other day, it started to make my neck have a numbing/stinging excruciating feeling going up my spine from the beginning sore spot.. i just dont know how to cure it...
263 Responses
Avatar universal
I have that also----I have started going to the Chiropractor and it seems to be helping... I also use a machine on that are that sends small shock waves to the area.....  mine is caused from stress!!
Avatar universal
I have been having pains in this same area. It seems to be located between my left shoulder blade and spine. Lately, the pain has gotten worse. Just when I am sitting at my desk chair, the pain is extremely unpleasant. I think the pain comes from carrying around books all day, because I am a college student. I have an office job on campus doing things on a computer, and at times the pain is so bad it is distracting and causes me not to work. I have been to massage therapists twice and they never seem to help. Do you think I should visit a chiropractor? Has it helped anyone else with the pain?
Avatar universal
Yes-it has helped me-going to a Chiropractor...he took x-rays of my spine and lower back etc to see what the problem is on why my shoulder and ect. is hurting and stiff alot......my spine looked like a "S" nad the shoulder is from stress and me favoring my right side more than my "left" so when I use the left side more at times for some reason...it tenses up You might give a Chiropractor a chance and just see how ya feel!
Avatar universal
Am I glad I happened upon this forum.  I have for the past few months off and on a burning pain in my left shoulder...mid way down near my spine as well.  It feels like its swollen..as if there is a knot forming there and I've taken aspirin to try to help the inflammation and pain.  I go to a chiropractor for regular adjustments and it seems to help some.  Right now I am in pain sitting here at work.  I am going to a massage therapist starting Tuesday.  It is one of the benefits here at my work.  $15 for 15 minutes so I can easily do this during my lunch break.  I think a lot of it is from me always carrying everything on my left side.  My granddaughter, my purse, whatever.  I played with my granddaughter 2 weeks ago and its been hurting me ever since.  Could be from bending and lifting her up and holding her on my left side and then laying on my back and holding her above me.  I am going to try alternating between heat and ice packs and see what happens with that.  The past two days weren't bad but this morning is painful.  Could be the way I sleep too.  Who the heck knows.  I have a wedding to go to on Saturday and I sure as heck don't want to be in pain.  I wanna dance!  lol  
Avatar universal
I have the same problem. I try to stand up or sit up at the computer and it feels like someone is stabbing me in the back on the right bottom side of my left shoulder blade in between my shoulder and spine. tylenol doesnt seem to help.... Im 9 months pregnant and have a 4 year old so stress may very well be a cause but GOD this hurts!!
Avatar universal
Its definitly a muscle problem, and the knott need to get worked out. Chiropractors are good as they focus on this stuff. Ask if yours uses graston as that works great. Try to use a warm rag or heating pad in the area when at home, and get a massager or have someone massage the area. It will hurt, but use as much pressure as you can stand and it will feel better afterward.

These things could be stress related you you could have had a tear in the muscle. Just keep working it out and it will get rid of the pain. www.chirofacts.info can help you find a doctor
Avatar universal
I have a similar pain in my right shoulder blade area.  It hurts when I do things with my left hand.  When I fish, wash the dishes, hold my son, or anything with my left side it hurts.  Typically the pain subsides when I am able to sit down, relax my left arm, or lift my head.  This does not always work, though.  I have taken some over the counter pain meds, but they do not seem to make a single bit of difference.  It hurts so bad sometimes.  Sometimes it feels like the area is tingling, like when your leg or arm falls asleep.  Other times it feels like a bruise or a sore muscle, and I just feel the pain consistantly, no matter what I'm doing.  This has been occuring for a week and a half now.  I don't want it to continue.  I guess I should call the doctor.  I'll try some of the things mentioned above also.  Have any of those things helped any of you?
Avatar universal
I have this same thing and it came out of nowhere! I can't find a comfortable place to sleep, can't wash my hair, can hardly move my right arm up or down. The pain is burning around my right shoulder blade and middle of my back. Affects my neck and most all I do since I'm right handed. I guess I have no choice but to find a chiropractor and visit my massage therapist again.
Avatar universal
Ok all-- i get to kill all these birds with one stone!!! The problem most likely is NOT really in the shoulder blade area. The problem, believe it or not, is in the muscles of the neck, specifically the scalenes, the SCMs the UPPER traps and the lev scapulae, with some help from the pec muscles. What happens is that these muscles get short and tight due to FORWARD HEAD POSTURE. When your head is held forward, and not over the spine, the muscles in your mid back have to work extra heard to keep your scapulas in place, and to balance out the weight of yor head (16 lbs!!= a bowling ball). If not of these muscles (rhomboids, longitudinal muscles of the spine and other scapular stabilizers ie the ones that hurt) your head would fall to your feet. The solution is trifold
1. fix your posture-- keep your head over your spine
2. Strengthen the mid back muscles I mentioned (do not stretch them-- they are already overstretched)
3. Lengthen (with stretching and triggerpoint release) the tight muscles  --scalenes, upper traps, scms and pecs)

You may use trigger point release on those nasty knts in your back-- but they will most likely reture until the day arrives where they no longer have to work so hard becasue your posture has been corrected.

3 books. 1. a book on posture by Paul D'Arezzo
               2. Trigger point manual by Clair Davies
               3. How to fix your back pain without drugs or surgery by Joie Bookspan

1 website-- by Jolie Bookspan

Regarding chiroprractics for this problem-- probably wil not help more than a few hours or a day. You muscles are pulling your bones, not the other way around. think about that.

How do i know all this stuff? 2 1/2 years of disabling muscle pain in my neck, chest and back. 3 years of research and reading (after dozens of worthless doctor visits). Fixed myself. 99% pain fee now.
Avatar universal
Well   I  believe that,  I  have the same pain on my left side  shoulder blade  that  comes thru to  my chest and I cnat even lay flat on my back at night I feel like  some one is sticking a knife in my back .  Now  just recently  I have  found that  if I sit straight up in my chair  it  hurts  too so  I rest my head back to relax my neck muscles  and that helps alot.  My husband always  pushes on the knot that is always there  but   I have noticed that I hold  my head forward all the time.  I do daycare  so I lift  kids all the time and I never  really relax my  head   even wehn sittinng  my head is always up straight  I dont  lean it back to relax it and when I do it feels  better   So I have been adjusting the  way  I sit lay and walk  I am more aware  of  how I am  doing things and  realized  I lean on my left side  when sitting  leaning on my left arm..   Thanks  for you advise  it   makes  alot of since..  
Avatar universal
I also have been to the doctor and  had  ekg thinking it might be a heart problem but all is normal there.  I have been  trying to  catch myself on my posture    and it  seems to be working..
Avatar universal
yea i dont know exatly what but i feel snowboarding and rolled onto my arm like i was on my face and rolled on my back with my arm underneath me and know i got this it hurts like crazy but i dont think its casue of stress
Avatar universal
I am having the same pain on my left shoulder blade and it itches, tingles and burns with a bad pain as well.  What is it?
Avatar universal
You described my symptoms exactly! The itchy feeling especially drives me nuts, and you can't even get any relief when you try scratching the area. I actually reach over my shoulder with a pair of long scissors to reach the itch LOL!
I do not know what is causing this either, I've had this occurring for a year at least now.
Avatar universal
When I rotate my left shoulder blade it sounds as if bones are scraping or something is crunching around. Whatever it is, it causes knots to form underneath and around the shoulder blade. Then, the muscles going up and down my spine get so tight and irritated and feel like they just need to be snapped to release the pressure. The pain/irritation is agonizing. The pain runs up the muscle along my spine to the base of my head and has now reached down to my lower back as if I had just worked all of those muscles out the day before. My general practitioner said it was normal the first year. The second year she said it was tendonitis and sent my to a chiropractor/physical therapist. He said it was my posture and tried to massage the knots out and give me the electrode whatever you call it therapy. That only made it worse. Then, he decided it wasn't my posture/muscles, but sounded like my bone (whatever that means?). I had to stop going because the problem was now all day everyday as opposed to once a week. Then I went to an orthopeadic doctor. The X-ray showed nothing. Then, the CT Scan showed hairline fractures in 3 ribs (I fell down my concrete steps jsut before this problem started) but that they had already healed and could not be causing the pain. The MRI actually showed 5 discs that were protruding slightly, but on the opposite side! I am at my wits end and noone can figure out what is causing this problem. When I take deep breathes I can feel my shoulder blade pushing up against something - like a muscle/knot. When I rotate my shoulder blade around I can feel it rubbing over the muscle/knots that actually help to massage it. Motrin, aleve, tylenol, nothing over the counter works. Wearing anything even just fitting that puts pressure on my shoulder blade ends up very painful halfway through the day. I am constantly jerking my neck hoping to crack it as if it would release the pain/stress but it never does. The only thing that makes any difference is the athritic cream that I have to lather up before bed and just lay there. SOmetimes there is relief in the morning. This has been going on for maybe 2 years and has gotten progressively worse. About 2 1/2 years ago I slid down my concrete front steps, but no doctors seem to clue in that it may have something to do with my pain. If anyone has information, I would surely appreciate it as I don't know what else to do.
Avatar universal
I have had this problem going on for 8 years now, it started with my first pregnancy. Sometimes I feel so depressed about it, it makes me feel broken down at 28, I can't even play with my kids. After my second prengnancy I tried a chiropractor and that helped with the headaches. The xrays showed that I carry my head forward and my spine is out of alignment. I quit going when I got pregnant for the third and final time and the pain has gotten much worse. My pain is caused from my posture and it is muscular. I have all these knots all in the area between my shoulder blades and my spine, all up and down my back. While I was pregnant a perk of my insurance was physical therapy 3 times a week and massages, but after I quit going the pain is back worse than ever and in more places. It is in my left chest muscles bad. Sometimes I think I am having a heart condition or something. When I take a deep breath the pain shoots through my left chest area and into my left shouldber area as well. I have a horrible knot in my neck right at the base of my skull and it causes headaches and sinus problems. Most days I am in so much pain I can not be an affective mother. I can't play with my kids, and I fuss at them because I feel so bad. This problem is interupting my life so much and I don't have any insurance anymore so I can't get any help. I feel like I have aged so much, I don't feel 28 at all. I am so sick of being in pain all the time.
Avatar universal
I suffered with the pain for a long time then it "went away". In its place eventually came an itchy sensation that would not stop. This has been going on for weeks. Finally I decided to "google" what I was feeling and sure enough people have obviously been dealing with the same thing. The one term I don't believe was posted here is "notalgia paraesthetica" this describes the itchy tingling to a T! and it ties in with the pain. Look into notalgia paraesthetica and I'm sure you'll agree with my self diagnosis. It took that to lead me to the conclusion of what was happening when I was in pain. GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!!!!
Avatar universal
I have the exact same pain and it is so bad that it seems to poke thru to the front.  I have found a product called a Theracane.  It looks like a short shepards hook and has a couple handles and knobs on it.  If you place the knob on a knot and apply pressure the pain lessens.  It is amazing how much this product helped me.  It is available for less than 50 bucks at a med supply store
Avatar universal
To All
Suffered the same symptoms for 15-20 years. Tried Quackapractors, MDs, massage, and excercise. It always came back. Woke up one morning last fall and my left hand would not work. Went to the ER thinking I had a stroke. Got an MRI on my cervical area and found that I had severe stynosiys(sp) and a very bad hernieated disk at T1. Had the surgery and feel better but my hand will never be right because of all the years of letting the idiots pop my back for money. Go get an MRI even if you have to pay for it. Find out for sure what the problem is. Quackapractors and their gizmo of the week can not see soft tissue issues like an MRI. Popping your neck or back will not fix an damaged disc. I have lost the use of my left hand because of listening to those idiot money grubbing snake oil salesman. What are you going to do?
Avatar universal
I have been experiencing a burning, slightly itchy pain on my left side, just below the shoulder blade. It's in the middle of my left side, about half way between my side and my spinal cord. I did some research and came across this, which concerns me:

"Pains that occur under the shoulder blade may signal a warning that the pain is not in the shoulder itself, but can be related to a pain from one of the organs in the body. The shoulder where the pain occurs can give the clue which of the organs are affected and causing the radiating pain into the shoulder. Pain under the left shoulder blade can be a signal that there is a problem with the stomach or other abdominal structures (ulcers, pancreatitis, ectopic pregnancy) or in the chest (myocardial infarction [heart attack], pericarditis, pleuritis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolus, aortic dissection)."

Has anyone been given a diagnosis related to internal organs are opposed to muscular pain?
Avatar universal
I know your frustration, I also have been experiencing pain. Just like you have described for about 10 yrs and I am a mother of a 3 mnth old and two yr old and after each preganancy the pain got worse! I am 27 and I feel like a 70 yr old women. I'm sitting here at work putting a ball in my back to try to releive the pain. The only type of massage that eases my pain is deep penetrating massages that I usually do with a tennis ball. I recently lookded up "Trigger Points" which actually descibed so much of the pain I have been experiencing. That actually led me to read about TMJ dysfunction, which I actually have just had a cosultation for and I found out that me cracking my jaw and clenching my teeth since Iwas a child might have been the cause of all this pain. They told me that the TMJ might have led to a lot referred pain throughout my whole body.I don't know if this is going to completely fix me yet but I am praying. I'm going to get my TMJ corrected and also to do physical therapy with a Trigger point therapists and see how it works out. You should Google those things, I know how it feels to want to feel good for just one day to be able to play with yor kids!  
Avatar universal
My pain was related to a collapsed lung.  I went to a chiropractor at first because I thought it was a pinched nerve or similar - after a couple months I had a chest x-ray for bronchitis when they realized the knots in my upper back/shoulder blade area that caused breathing to hurt actually was a collapsed lung.  
Avatar universal
i had the same problem with the knot in my left shoulder blade and as you all have described mine was like someone was stabbing me in the shoulder.but i knew what caused mine,i have tinnitus ringing of the ears.and as you all know ringing in the ears causes alot of stress on the body.i was exposed to an extremely deafening sound one night and i felt the pain in my shoulder afterward and by the next morning i was in tears getting out of bed.had to take 3 days off work and all doctors could do was give me muscle relaxers which helped a little.
Avatar universal
I too had a horrible stabbing pain in between my shoulder blades along with a burning, numb tingling sensation along my spine( mostly on the right). I had an MRI and went to a very well known dr. I was told that my paraspinal muscles are degenerated. I need to do exercises to strengthen my paraspinal muscles and also recieve regular massages to help relieve the stress on the muscles because they were having spasms. Well the pain continued for years until one morning it wrapped all the way around my rib cage. I went to the ER and was told I needed to have my Gallbladder removed. They said it had been bad for years and couldn't believe I had no pain. I told them of my back pain and was told that the stabbing pain in between your shoulder blades is a sign of gallstones. That is the only symptom I ever had that something was wrong. So I no longer have the aching stabbing feeling but I do still have numbness and tingling along my spine if I stand in one place too long or have to carry my daughter for a long period of time, but I think if I actually did the exercises like I was supposed to it would get better. When I do them I can feel the strech and burn and it does make me feel better along with a massage. I couldn't afford to go get a professional one all the time so I purchased the homedics shiatsu massager and it helps relieve the muscle tension. It was a great investment. So next time you go to your dr. you might want to talk to them about getting some blood work done to check your gallbladder an liver. I had very high liver levels and the dr. thought the damage might not fix itself because it had been so bad for so long luckily it has been a year and everything is back to normal. Also I went to the ER the very first time I had the pain in my back and they told me it was my muscles, gave me muscle relaxers and sent me home. The next time I went in they told me the same thing but my mom insisted they check my gallbladder because someone told her the same thing I am telling you. If she had not done that they would have sent me home with muscle relaxers and no telling what might have happened. So don't be afraid to get checked even if they are telling you that is not what it is. Better safe than sorry!
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st. louis, MO
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