Chiropractors/left shoulder blade pain


hi keith, i have been having this shoulder blade pain off and on for months now. at first it was so painful i had to lay on my bed once in a while. the pain started when i would lower myself in a bathtub using my left arm. apparently i used my weight on my left shoulder. i've been to two chiropractors about this, one massaged my left shoulder blade but the pain came back and the other said it was a pinched nerve near the scapula. the pain subsided for a while but it does still hurt. what is the best treatment for this condition so i will have no more pain. i would really appreciate your help in this matter. thanks.

It is impossible for me to tell you what the best treatment is because I don' know what the diagnosis is.  A diagnosis is formed by doing a complete consultation, physical examination, and then any needed imaging or other tests.  All I have to go on is your brief description.

Scapular pain can be caused by rotator cuff muscle strains, rib subluxation, shoulder degenerative arthritis, C6 radiculopathy from disc herniation, disc desiccation, cervical spine osteophytes, cervical lushka joint hypertrophy, facet joint hypertrophy, heart conditions, lung conditions, etc...

Lets assume (huge assumption) that this is a rotator cuff muscle strain based only on your description of it beginning with shoulder exertion (Please be aware, this is not an accurate assessment of your case).  Strain means muscular tearing. This can be mild, moderate, or severe.  Trigger point work and therapy on the scapular/rotator cuff musculature might give you some relief, but should continue for a period of  1-2 month.  As the pain subsides (as the muscles heal) then additional exercises should be introduced to strengthen and stretch the injured muscles. Muscles require a minimum of 1-2 months to heal. Sometimes they are so damaged that they never quite heal right.

Lets assume another possibility, that the pain is the result of a cervical spine/neck problem. The C6 nerve root often with radiate pain into the scapular/shoulder blade region. The neck should be evaluated for discopathy and spondylosis or other conditions.  If the neck is the cause of your pain, then perhaps C spine manipulation, decompression traction, stretching and strengthening exercises, etc, is the proper course of treatment. Again, without a good examination and diagnosis, this is all just a shot in the dark.

If this is a heart/lung referral pain, then you need to see a pulmonologist and/or cardiologist.

This can be a very complicated diagnostic work up.  I hope that this sheds some light on the process, and gives you some things to think about.

Keith Biggs, DC
Arrowhead Health Centers, Mesa, AZ


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

Past/Present Clients
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.

©2017 All rights reserved.