Pain that occurs on the left side below the collarbone is a fairly common symptom, which can manifest in men and women, and even in children. At first glance, such symptoms may seem frivolous, but in fact, pain under the left shoulder blade from the back can be a harbinger of some dangerous disease.
There are many reasons for the occurrence of such pain syndromes, and they are not usually related to shoulder blade problems. Most often, the cause of pain is inflammatory and pathological processes in other organs and systems.
Why does it hurt below the left shoulder blade?
To understand why it hurts below the shoulder blades, one must recall the anatomical structure of a person. Indeed, often it is the nearby organs themselves that are injured, although it happens that the pain radiates along nerve fibers far from the focus of the disease.
The left shoulder blade rests on the ribs forming the ribcage. The ribs are connected by ligaments and intercostal muscles, between each rib are the intercostal vessels and the intercostal nerve. In turn, the intercostal nerves branch from the spinal cord, located in the trunk of the spine, the center of the shoulder blades. Along with the ribs, the fibula protects the left heart, left lung, stomach, spleen, pancreas, and aorta.
Based on this location, the causes of pain can be divided into two main groups:
- Pain associated with disorders of the musculoskeletal system, as well as myalgia.
- Pain is associated with pathological changes in the work of internal organs (diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, spleen, respiratory organs).
The causes of pain in the shoulder blades can be determined based on their nature, intensity and localization:
- Pain spreading to left shoulder blade. . .The pathological source of such pain may be distant from the site of pain. Usually, this symptom is typical for diseases of the stomach or heart.
- Pain under left shoulder blade. . . Indicates the presence of a prolonged chronic process. Such painful manifestations can be associated with chronic heart diseases (pericarditis, myocarditis), as well as with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.
- Dull pain under left shoulder blade. . . Most often, it occurs against the background of the development of thoracic or cervical osteonecrosis. Usually, the pain radiates down from the back of the head along the back, arms, below the shoulder blades and is accompanied by nausea, dizziness, and numbness (tingling) of the hands.
- Severe pain under left shoulder blade. . . Severe pain is not typical for the squamous area, which means it is a sign of a potentially life-threatening medical condition. At best, severe pain may indicate intercostal neuralgia, but such sensations more often indicate the presence of a peptic ulcer and the development of a pre-infarction state.
- Sharp pain under left shoulder blade. . . Intercostal neuralgia can cause sharp pain - at the same time, when inhaling, the pain syndrome increases markedly, there is a feeling of "I am taking my breath". Sharp pain can be caused by left pneumonia in the acute stage, and at the same time, the patient feels like cutting, stabbing in the entire left chest area, spreading to the left shoulder blade. Less often, sharp pains can occur with an exacerbation of pancreatitis - pains of a shingles and cramping nature.
- Pain below left shoulder blade. . .May indicate the early development of cervical osteochondrosis. The pain begins just below the occipital bone and spreads to the left (or right) side of the back.
- Burn below the blade. . . This symptom may represent prolonged intercostal neuralgia, angina attacks, myocardial infarction. Occasionally, the appearance of a burning sensation under the shoulder blades may indicate the development of vegetative vascular dystonia. In this case, the pain is accompanied by a rapid heart rate, shaking hands and a feeling of fear.
- Constant pain under left scapula. . . This pain syndrome may indicate the development of left-sided pneumonia. In this case, the pain is accompanied by a dry cough, low-grade fever, a feeling of lack of air, shortness of breath.
- Stitch pain under left shoulder blade.. . .Stitch pain (also called "low back pain") is often a sign of osteonecrosis, but can also be a sign of intercostal neuralgia. A tingling sensation in your back from exertion, deep breathing, or coughing could be a sign of pleurisy or pneumonia.
- Press pain. . . Indicates the development of osteonecrosis, which can also indicate the early stages of coronary heart disease and the exacerbation of vegetative vascular dystonia.
- Sting. . .Usually, the left protrusion of the disc in the thoracic or cervical spine presents in this way. Sharp pain may indicate a herniated disc or a primary aortic dissection.
- Acute pain under left shoulder blade. . . Indicates conditions that are dangerous and require immediate medical attention. Causes of pain syndrome can be: angina attacks, left disc protrusion, gastric ulcer.
The nature of the pain and its localization can vary, but usually pain below the left shoulder blade is a very dangerous symptom that requires immediate medical intervention.
What diseases can cause pain under the left shoulder blade?
Pain syndrome on the left side below the fibula is usually caused by diseases of the musculoskeletal system, heart, stomach and bronchopulmonary.
Consider possible pathologies associated with pain below the left shoulder blade and associated symptoms.
|Diseases||The nature of pain||Associated symptoms|
|Periarthritis of shoulder-fish scale||The pain occurs in the shoulder area and radiates down the shoulder blade.||The patient cannot move freely (does not put his hands behind his head because of pain), there is a crunching sound in the joints when moving.|
|Intercostal neuralgia||Pain is localized in one of the intercostal spaces and is accompanied by numbness. Pain syndrome intensifies when bending to the left.||In the course of the inflamed area may appear redness, a characteristic red rash on the skin.|
|Diseases of the back muscles (myositis, inflammation, lesions)||Back pain occurs strongly, it can be aching in nature.||On the left side, pain occurs when the shoulder blade is injured, when the muscle is stretched.|
|Cancer||Aching pain under the left shoulder blade or constant sharp pain.||With clavicle tumors, the posterior thoracic section is deformed.|
|hurt||Severe pain syndrome, especially in the first few hours immediately after the injury.||If the pain increases with movement, swelling, or edema, it could be a collarbone or rib fracture.|
|Bone tumors, spondylolisthesis, thoracic scoliosis, disc herniation||Severe pain is manifested on an ongoing basis or "low back pain".||Unpleasant sensations appear in the spine - the feeling that they have been "secured".|
|Angina pain||Pain below the left clavicle from back to back appears on exertion and radiates down the left arm, left clavicle, and sometimes up to the left jaw.||Accompanied by difficulty breathing, fear of death.|
|Heart attack||Burning pain under the left shoulder blade from the side of the heart.||Heart attack not relieved with these pills. Left arm numb, severe shortness of breath, sternum begins to "burn".|
|Pericarditis and myocarditis||The aching character of the pain on the left side.||It is accompanied by chills, which are more common at night, and an increase in temperature.|
|Aortic aneurysm dissection of the aorta||Pain syndrome moves from top to bottom. Initially, the pain appeared in the chest, then gradually moved below the left shoulder blade and deeper into the lower back area.||The pressure drops sharply.|
|Diseases of the bronchopulmonary system|
|Left side pneumonia||The pain is of moderate intensity.||Cough with phlegm, wheezing in the lungs, fever.|
|Pleurisy||Manifestations of pain when breathing||Shortness of breath, feeling of wheezing in the lungs.|
|Digestive tract disease|
|Stomach ulcers||Pain below the collarbone accompanied by a burning sensation (more often at night).||Pain related to eating.|
|Perforated sores||Sharp and stabbing pain (like a stabbing knife).||Fever, vomiting.|
|Acute pancreatitis||The pain of shingles, sometimes they can spread to one side.||Flatulence, repeated vomiting, fever.|
Other symptoms associated with pain syndrome that may help identify left-sided pain below the collarbone:
- Pain that gets worse after eating- peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, gastritis.
- The pain gets worse when you sneeze- bone diseases, trauma, pleurisy, neuralgia, joint and muscle diseases.
- Pain when turning the head- osteonecrosis, clavicle trauma.
- Pain occurs when swallowing- esophageal diseases, mental disorders.
- Pain accompanied by difficulty breathing- pleurisy, heart disease, intercostal neuralgia.
- When in pain, cough appears- damage to the respiratory system.
- The appearance of temperature- infectious and inflammatory processes: pericarditis, purulent pleurisy, subrenal abscess.
- The swelling accompanied by numbness in the left arm.- angina attacks, bone necrosis, myocardial infarction.
- Nausea and belching with pain- pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract (pancreatitis, ulcer, gastritis).
- Pain, numbness of the tongue- angina, bone necrosis, heart attack.
In pregnant women, pain under the shoulder blades occurs for the same reasons as in others, but in expectant mothers the risk of certain diseases is much higher. Possible causes of left back pain in pregnant women are osteosarcoma (caused by the spine bearing a greater load), pyelonephritis (caused by the kidneys being displaced and activated by their activity). , overactivity of the back muscles.
In children, pain below the collarbone often occurs due to trauma, neuralgia (after hypothermia), myositis, pleurisy.
Diagnosis and treatment. Which doctor should I see?
You should choose a doctor to make an appointment with, depending on the nature of the pain and its manifestations:
- Emergency doctorSharp, sharp pain, burning sensation in the chest, difficulty breathing, accompanied by dizziness, severe weakness or loss of consciousness.
- Neuroscientist- if the pain is associated with exertion or movement.
- Trauma doctor- if pain occurs after an injury.
- Cardiologist- There is a burning sensation behind the breastbone, extending below the collarbone, in the left hand, in the jaw.
- Vascular specialist (or therapist)- if pain increases with breathing and is accompanied by cough, shortness of breath, fever.
- Gastroenterologist- if the pain is meal-related and accompanied by gastrointestinal disturbances.
- Operated doctor- Pain below the collarbone with deformity of the sternum, sharp pain accompanied by high fever.
If it is difficult to independently decide on the choice of a doctor, you should contact a therapist, who, based on the results of the examination, will appoint an appointment with a narrow specialist.
Diagnostic measures are indicated depending on the reason for the pain below the left shoulder blade, behind:
- General examination - patient examination and interview, visual examination (pulse, blood pressure, temperature, palpation, auscultation), blood and urine tests.
- X-ray, CT and MRI examination - identify pathologies of the spine and diseases of the musculoskeletal system, as well as diseases of the pulmonary system.
- Ultrasound of the abdominal organs, EGD - gastrointestinal diseases.
- Ultrasound and electrocardiogram - are prescribed to check for cardiovascular diseases.
Treatment regimens for pain under the left shoulder blade are selected for each specific disease - there is no single treatment protocol.
Important!Treatment of pain below the left collarbone is mainly to treat the disease causing the pain syndrome.
If the pain is associated with cardiovascular pathologies, cardiotropic medications are prescribed, a diet with little physical and psycho-emotional activity will be prescribed.
Gastrointestinal problems that cause pain are treated with antacids and a gentle diet.
Diseases of the musculoskeletal system are treated with the help of long-term therapy, which includes the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, the implementation of special therapeutic exercises.
Surgical treatment is indicated when conservative treatment is not effective. Surgical intervention is required for perforated ulcers, severe pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, rupture of the spleen, herniated disc.
If the pain appears below the left shoulder blade, it is necessary to go to the doctor to be examined, to avoid the formation and development of life-threatening diseases.