People with scapular pain should expect their doctors to take careful histories, conduct physical exams and in some cases perform tests before providing final diagnoses regarding causes, notes About.com. While muscle strains are the most common cause of scapular pain, other factors such as lung tumors and heart conditions can also lead to pain in the shoulder blade.
For patients with scapular pain, doctors may ask questions regarding how long the pain has lasted, what activities patients engage in, what makes the pain worse, other symptoms and in which shoulder blade the pain occurs, states About.com. After physical examinations, doctors may order tests such as chest X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography before making diagnoses. Depending on the presence of other symptoms, they may also order blood tests, abdominal exams or heart tests.
The most common diagnosis related to pain in the scapula is muscle strain, which can be caused by things such as sleeping on the shoulder, starting new exercise regimens or lifting objects, according to About.com. People with pancoast tumors on the top of their lungs may also experience pain in their shoulder blades, as may people with collapsed lungs. Conditions such as heart attacks and pericarditis can cause referred pain to the back, left arm and shoulder blades.