Can Pain Under The Left Shoulder Blade Be Heart-Related?

Can Pain Under The Left Shoulder Blade Be Heart-Related?

Can Pain Under The Left Shoulder Blade Be Heart-Related?

Sometimes, experiencing pain under the left shoulder blade can be a cause for concern, as it may potentially be related to the heart. To understand this correlation, it is critical to delve into the anatomy of the shoulder blade and the nature of the pain experienced.

Understanding the Anatomy of the Shoulder Blade

The Structure of the Shoulder Blade

The shoulder blade consists of two main parts: the body and the acromion process. The body is the larger, flat portion that sits against the ribs, providing a stable foundation for the attachment of various muscles. The acromion process, on the other hand, is the bony projection that extends outwards from the top of the body, forming the highest point of the shoulder.


Within the body of the scapula, there are several notable features. The spine of the scapula is a prominent ridge that runs diagonally across the back of the bone, dividing it into two distinct regions. Above the spine lies the supraspinous fossa, while below it is the infraspinous fossa. These fossae provide attachment sites for important muscles involved in shoulder movement and stability.


Additionally, the shoulder blade has a glenoid cavity, a shallow socket located on the lateral side of the body. This cavity articulates with the head of the humerus, forming the glenohumeral joint, which allows for a wide range of arm movements.

The Role of the Shoulder Blade in Body Movement

The shoulder blade plays a vital role in various movements of the upper body. It helps elevate and depress the shoulder, allowing us to raise our arms overhead or lower them back down. This movement is crucial in activities such as reaching for objects on high shelves or performing overhead exercises.


Furthermore, the shoulder blade enables arm rotation. When we rotate our arm, the muscles attached to the scapula work together to move the humerus in different directions, allowing us to perform actions like throwing a ball or swinging a racket.


Stability is another essential function of the shoulder blade. It acts as a stable base for the shoulder joint, preventing excessive movement and ensuring proper alignment during various activities. This stability is particularly important during weightlifting, where the shoulder blade helps support the load and distribute the forces generated by the muscles.

The Nature of Shoulder Blade Pain

Common Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

Shoulder blade pain can be attributed to several factors, such as muscle strain, nerve irritation, poor posture, overuse injuries, or degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis. Muscle strain occurs when the muscles surrounding the shoulder blades are overworked or subjected to sudden movements, leading to pain and discomfort.


Nerve irritation, on the other hand, can be caused by compressed or pinched nerves in the neck or upper back region. This can result in radiating pain that extends from the neck to the shoulder blades. Poor posture, especially when sitting or standing for extended periods, can put undue stress on the muscles and ligaments surrounding the shoulder blades, leading to pain and stiffness.


Overuse injuries, commonly seen in athletes or individuals engaged in repetitive activities, can cause inflammation and pain in the shoulder blades. These injuries often occur due to excessive strain on the muscles and tendons, leading to conditions like tendonitis or bursitis.


Furthermore, degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis can also contribute to shoulder blade pain. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that affects the joints, causing the cartilage to wear away, resulting in pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.

Symptoms Associated with Shoulder Blade Pain

In addition to pain under the left shoulder blade, heart-related causes may be accompanied by symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, nausea, or radiating pain down the left arm. These symptoms can be indicative of a heart attack or angina, a condition characterized by reduced blood flow to the heart.


It is crucial not to ignore these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further complications and ensure the best possible outcome.

Heart-Related Causes of Left Shoulder Blade Pain

Heart Conditions that May Cause Shoulder Pain

Several heart conditions can manifest as shoulder blade pain. These can include conditions such as angina (chest pain due to reduced blood flow to the heart), a heart attack (myocardial infarction), or pericarditis (inflammation of the heart’s outer lining). In some cases, pain originating from the heart can be referred to the left shoulder blade.

How Heart Pain Radiates to the Shoulder

The phenomenon of referred pain occurs when pain originating from a certain organ, such as the heart, is perceived in other regions of the body, like the left shoulder blade. This occurs due to shared nerve pathways and can be a clue to potential heart-related issues.

Differentiating Heart-Related Pain from Other Pains

Characteristics of Heart-Related Pain

Heart-related pain typically presents as a deep, squeezing, or pressure-like sensation in the chest. It may radiate to the left shoulder, arm, jaw, or back. Unlike muscle-related pain, heart-related pain is less likely to worsen with movement and may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as shortness of breath or nausea.

When to Seek Medical Attention

It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe or persistent pain under the left shoulder blade, especially if accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, or other concerning symptoms. Prompt evaluation is essential to rule out or address any potential heart-related issues.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart-Related Shoulder Pain

Diagnostic Procedures for Heart-Related Pain

A thorough medical evaluation, including a comprehensive examination, medical history review, and diagnostic tests such as electrocardiography (ECG), echocardiography, or cardiac stress tests, may be performed to identify the underlying cause of the shoulder blade pain.

Treatment Options for Heart-Related Shoulder Pain

Treatment approaches for heart-related shoulder blade pain depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. These can range from lifestyle modifications, medications, physical therapy, or, in severe cases, surgical interventions. It is crucial to follow the recommendations of healthcare professionals to alleviate symptoms and promote heart health.

Parting Words

In conclusion, pain under the left shoulder blade can have various causes, including heart-related issues. Understanding the anatomy of the shoulder blade, the nature of the pain, and the potential heart-related causes can help differentiate between benign and potentially worrisome symptoms. Remember, prioritizing your heart health is key to maintaining overall well-being.


To learn about the chronic pain treatment and support options we offer, contact Ketamine Wellness Institute today to schedule a consultation.

Chapel Hill, NC
Anchorage, AK