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Pain in Left Shoulder Blade: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Medically Reviewed by Cellaxys

By Published: March 18, 2024No Comments
pain in left shoulder blade
Dr Pouya Mohajer


Medically Reviewed

Published on: March 18, 2024 | Updated on: March 3, 2024

The shoulder blades manage the range of motion in the arms. Any type of pain in the blades can limit your arm movement, making your life annoying and challenging. Unfortunately, shoulder pain is quite common worldwide, affecting 18-26% of adults at any point in life.

Shoulder blade pain is identified by a stabbing or dull discomfort in the shoulders, which may radiate to other parts of the body. Many factors can cause pain in left shoulder blades, including cervical injuries, musculoskeletal conditions, heart issues, abdominal problems, etc. 

The exact reason for your pain will determine the treatment you need. While conventional methods work wonders for this condition, many people also opt for orthobiologic procedures to treat their shoulder pain in a less invasive way.

Causes of Pain in Left Shoulder Blade 

The shoulder blade comprises a scapula bone that enables different motions for your arm. It connects the upper arm to the shoulder through the glenohumeral joint. Some possible causes of pain in left shoulder blades include:  

Musculoskeletal Issues

Musculoskeletal conditions, such as myofascial pain syndrome, muscle or tendon tears, shoulder arthritis, and muscle strains, can lead to pain in left shoulder blade. The pain can be mild or intense, depending on the severity of the condition. 

Cervical Problems

Many neck-related injuries can also cause pain in the shoulder blade region. It could be any facet injury. 

Heart Conditions

Serious heart conditions like pericarditis, heart attack, or aortic dissection can also radiate pain to your left shoulder blade. 

Abdominal Issues

If you suffer from abdominal conditions, you’re likely to experience pain in left shoulder blade. Many problems, like heartburn, liver diseases, gallstones, and even upset stomach, can cause pain in your shoulder blade

AC Joint Impingement

AC joint impingement refers to the pain due to narrow space underneath the acromion bone. This bone is the part of the scapula that connects the arm to the body through the collarbone.

Insufficient spacing can irritate the bursa and rotator cuff tendons, increasing friction on the shoulder muscles and tendons. This compromises the movement and support in the shoulder.

Severe AC joint impingement can also cause rotator cuff tears, which leads to severe pain in left shoulder blade especially when elevating the arm.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator cuff tears are common in older people and those who repeatedly perform overhead motions. It leads to a dull or intense pain in the shoulder blades that keeps you restless during sleep and makes it challenging to reach distant objects. You may also face difficulties moving your arm and carrying out daily activities. 

Whether a partial rotator cuff tear or a complete one, it weakens your arms each day. If not treated, it may become a recurring pain in left shoulder blade. 

Shoulder Avascular Necrosis 

Avascular necrosis (AVN) is the death of a bone due to insufficient blood flow, commonly occurring in different joints, including the shoulder. It occurs due to trauma, excessive alcohol intake, corticosteroid usage, or from some underlying disease.

AVN has a total of four stages. Stage 1 includes normal radiographs, stage 2 shows no collapse of the humeral head with slight sclerotic changes, and stage 3 involves the humeral head collapse with sphericity loss. Stage 4 includes progressive humeral head collapse, narrow space in the joint, and degenerative arthrosis. 

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is the complete loss of the shoulder’s motion range. Diabetic individuals are more at risk of having this condition. Although the exact factors behind a frozen shoulder are unknown, trauma, connective tissue issues, or heart diseases are believed to be some possible culprits. 

In this condition, the capsule in the shoulder becomes inflamed or contracted, limiting the range of motion and causing intense pain in left shoulder blade. 

Symptoms of Pain in Left Shoulder Blade

Symptoms of Pain in Left Shoulder Blade

Here is what the pain in left shoulder blade feels like: 

  • Dull pain near the scapula
  • Intense, stabbing pain around the shoulder blades
  • Arm weakness during movements
  • Limited range of motion for the arms
  • Pain that comes with a snapping, popping sound when you move the shoulder

Treatment Options for Pain in Left Shoulder Blade

The first-hand treatment for pain in left shoulder blade is mostly conventional methods. After a thorough diagnosis, the doctor will recommend RICE treatment, physical therapy, and more. If these treatments don’t work, regenerative medicine-based methods will have your back. 

RICE Treatment

The RICE method refers to rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Whenever you feel pain in left shoulder blade, you should immediately rest and limit your activities. Then, continuously ice the affected area and wear a compression garment for the required support. 

Finally, elevate the shoulder blade in a relaxed position. Repeating these four steps for several days may relieve the intense pain in your shoulder blade. 

Physical Therapy

Your posture also makes a huge difference in your shoulder blade pain relief. It’s best to consult a physical therapist to find safe and effective exercises for your shoulder. They will recommend posture alignment, stretching, and core stabilization to support your shoulders.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

You may also have to take over-the-counter medications like Tylenol to relieve the pain. If you have shoulder inflammation, your doctor may also recommend anti-inflammatory drugs or supplements for instant relief.

Cell-Based Therapies

You may already know this treatment method as a stem cell therapy. The procedure involves harvesting the patient’s own cells or tissues, processing them, and reinjecting them into the injury site to promote healing. 

At CELLAXYS, we perform two types of cell-based therapies based on the location from where the cells are extracted.

  • Minimally Manipulated Adipose Tissue Transplant (MMAT). This procedure involves harvesting healthy cells from the patient’s adipose (fat) tissues and reinjecting them into the affected shoulder blade. 
  • Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMAC). In BMAC, the doctor takes highly concentrated cells from the patient’s bone marrow and reinjects them into the injury site. 

Both procedures take 1.5 to 2 hours to complete, and the doctor uses live X-ray/fluoroscopy to detect the exact injury site. Cell-based therapies are performed outpatient, meaning the doctor may let you go a few hours after the treatment. 

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)

In PRP, the doctor focuses on the platelets, the healing components of our body. The procedure starts by taking the patient’s blood sample, separating platelets from it, concentrating them, and then reinjecting them into the injury site. 

Platelets perform three main functions in our body: releasing 10 growth factors for new cell development, attracting healing cells from the blood, and producing a web-like scaffolding called fibrin that supports new tissue growth. So, the more platelets in your shoulder blade, the quicker you recover. 

PRP is a popular spine, orthopedic, and sports-related treatment performed within 45 minutes. It is an outpatient procedure as well. Patients who undergo cell-based therapies or PRP report less pain and early recovery from their pain in left shoulder blade.

CELLAXYS does not offer Stem Cell Therapy as a cure for any medical condition. No statements or treatments presented by Cellaxys have been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This site contains no medical advice. All statements and opinions are provided for educational and informational purposes only.


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Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has been met with much acclaim and is now the head of Emergency Medical Services in Nye County, Nevada. More about the doctor on this page.

pain in left shoulder blade

Dr Pouya Mohajer


Pouya Mohajer, M.D. is the Director of Spine and Interventional Medicine for CELLAXYS: Age, Regenerative, and Interventional Medicine Centers. He has over 20 years of experience in pain management, perioperative medicine, and anesthesiology. Dr. Mohajer founded and is the Medical Director of Southern Nevada Pain Specialists and PRIMMED Clinics. He has dedicated his career to surgical innovation and scientific advancement. More about the doctor on this page.

Dr. Pejman Bady

Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has been met with much acclaim and is now the head of Emergency Medical Services in Nye County, Nevada. More details about the doctor on this page.


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