Hi Mr. Biggs!  Thank you for your time. I am a 41 year old female. I've had, what feels like, muscle pain over my right shoulder blade for several days now. The pain radiates half way down my arm at times. It's a dull ache feeling. Yesterday I hardly had any pain and then before I went to bed it flared up.  Motrin usually relieves most of them pain. I haven't lifted anything heavy or worked out so I'm not sure how this happened. It doesn't hurt to lift arm above head or hold arm out. Could I have pulled something? Maybe muscle spasms? Should I use ice or heating pad? When should I see doctor? Hoping rest will make this better.

Thanks again!


Hello Kelli,

I am so sorry to hear about your pain! This is not fun, I am sure.  Although it is impossible to perform a good examination and consultation through the Internet, your narrative has given me a couple of thoughts.

1) This could be a shoulder problem, including possibly the rotator cuff muscles... but I kind of doubt it because you state that you can move your arm without any pain.  Typically when the shoulder blade muscles are involved (these, by the way, ARE the rotator cuff muscles), it is difficult and painful to lift the arm.

2) You might be suffering from a neck problem.  The lower part of the neck is the area of the neck that goes through the most degenerative wear and tear, and this is also the region where nerves exit that travel into the shoulder blade region and into the arm.  If the neck is having trouble, you will find that rotating the head to the side of the pain, and then bending the neck backwards will often increase the pain. Try it and see what happens.  If this position increases the arm pain, then it is almost certain that the pain is coming from trouble in the neck... maybe even a bulging disc.

3) This could be a problem in the mid back region, involving the thoracic spine joints and rib joints and supporting muscles, like the rhomboids.  Sometimes when the mid back/rib complex is involved, a deep breath will increase the pain.  Give this a try and see what happens.

Regardless of the cause, the only way to get to the bottom of it is to have yourself evaluated.  Go and find a good chiropractor that will do a decent examination on you before treatment (never just jump into care without an evaluation. If your doctor wants to do this, it is time to find a new one!)

I hope that you are able to find a solution to your problem. Pain is never fun.

Merry Christmas!

Dr. Keith Biggs, DC


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Keith E. Biggs, DC


I can answer questions regarding chiropractic care and diagnosis, exercise rehabilitation, spine therapy, disc injuries, back pain, neck pain, headaches, sports injuries, car accident injuries, physical therapeutics, acupuncture, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, decompression traction, acupressure, acugraphing, orthotics, arch supports, carpal tunnel, sciatica, degenerative joint disease, arthritis, weight loss, etc.


I have been in private practice for more than 20 years in Mesa, AZ. In my practice I have seen thousands of patients with many different conditions. Every patient is unique and requires individualized attention and care. I pride myself in attentive and appropriate care for every individual that comes to my office

Arizona Chiropractic Society


Doctor of Chiropractic, Cum Laude,Logan College of Chiropractic, 1987. Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, Logan College of Chiropractic. Licensed to practice Chiropractic in Arizona. Certification in Acupuncture. Certification in Physiotherapy and Traction.

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I have treated thousands of people in my private practice during the past 21 years, and in the process, I have learned so much. Practice guidelines and patient privacy laws prohibit the naming of past patients.

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