What Causes Back Pain Along the Shoulder Blade?

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Several conditions may cause back pain along the shoulder blades, including arthritis, aortic dissection, heart attacks and abdominal issues, say experts at WebMD. Pain along the shoulder blades might come from an injury to a shoulder part, such as the rotator cuffs, tendons or ligaments.

Injuries to the neck often cause shoulder blade pain, say experts at the Mayo Clinic. Regardless of cause, people with pain in their shoulder blades should seek medical advice, as the causes of this pain may indicate a serious condition. The most common cases of shoulder blade pain result from injury or arthritis. However, nagging or sudden sharp pain can also indicate an aortic problem. This is a concern especially in people with certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure, poor circulation, and those who smoke or have diabetes.

When patients arrive for an examination, physicians check their necks and shoulders, as pain from either area may go to the other. Shoulder pain generally remains more localized than neck pain and reaches no further than the upper arm. Unlike neck pain, shoulder pain improves with rest. Neck pain appears as a sharp or stabbing pain and may exist along with other neurological conditions, such as numbness and tingling.