3 Ways to Help Alleviate Left Shoulder Blade Pain by Chris Foerster, Fremont College

Having shoulder pain is an issue that could affect your happiness and overall well-being.  Even worse, those who are left-handed and are having left shoulder blade pain (or vice versa) might have trouble performing everyday tasks.  Being left-handed and having left shoulder blade pain can keep you from carrying out your various day-to-day physical activities at work as well.  From tasks as simple as typing on a keyboard to a more demanding task like operating a piece of machinery.

Sometimes pain in the left shoulder blade is nothing to worry about, although it can be meddlesome and pesky in certain instances, particularly if the sore and achy feeling is minimal.  Regardless, it is recommended that you have a qualified physician give you expert advice as to how you should proceed.

If you are prone to encountering left shoulder blade pain or this is the first time you are experiencing it, continue reading this article. Below you will learn three different home remedies that could be effective for your circumstance.

Understanding What’s Going On

Your left shoulder blade is part of a pair of large, flat bones in the shape of triangles that are situated in the upper area of your back. Sometimes these bones are referred to as wing bones or scapulas. Your shoulder blades are the ones that connect your upper arm bones (humerus) with the collarbone (clavicles). The said pair of bones which are mirror images of each other are there to help increase the range of motion of your arms.

Before we discuss possible options to relieve left shoulder blade pain at home, let us first take a quick look at some of the most common reasons why the shoulder blades can become throbbing:

  • Poor posture: If your job entails sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, it's not unlikely for your shoulder blades to become achy most especially if your posture is bad — it's something that can affect your neck and upper back, including your shoulder blades. However, it's not just poor posture while seated that can leave your shoulder blades painful. Poor posture while standing up could also have the same effect.
  • Heavy lifting: Are you a left-handed person? If you do the heavy lifting, it might be the reason behind the pain you experience in your left shoulder blade. If you lift heavy objects most especially when it's done again and again, and also in the wrong fashion, it can leave you with a sore and achy feeling.
  • Intense exercise and other activities: Just about anything that involves repetitive arm movements can put the shoulder blades at risk of becoming painful, and performing exercises that engage the arms are included. Push-ups, chin-ups, chair dips, bicep curls and others can cause the shoulder blades to become achy if they are performed excessively or in the wrong manner. Engaging in sports might also be a culprit.
  • Sleeping on your side: In some instances, sleeping on one side for extended periods of time can leave one of the shoulder blades in pain. If it's your habit to spend too much time in dreamland while resting on your left side, then there is this increased risk of your left shoulder blade becoming tight and sore the following day.

Shoulder blade pain can be due to so many other reasons, some of which can be serious. They might range anywhere from acid reflux, gallstones, osteoarthritis, nerve compression, fibromyalgia to certain types of cancer.  It may be a good idea to consult with your physician if you are experiencing any type of pain. Most especially if the pain in one shoulder blade or both is accompanied by other strange symptoms such as dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, paralysis on one side of the body, difficulty speaking and loss or blurring of vision, seeking immediate medical attention is a must.

Home Remedies

Here are three remedies that might help attain relief from that nagging left shoulder blade pain.  Before trying any one of them you should first consult with a qualified professional who can give you expert advice. 

Ice or Heat Therapy

One of the quickest ways to attain relief from a painful left shoulder blade is by employing an ice pack or a hot water bag. For 15 minutes, apply ice or heat on the part of the left shoulder blade that feels the achiest. You may do this easy home remedy for four to five times throughout the day until you notice improvements. However, it's a good idea to steer clear of heat therapy when there is obvious swelling as it may actually exacerbate the problem.


Gently applying pressure on tender muscles in the left shoulder blade area can also provide much-needed relief. Most of the time, it is the large band of muscles right under the left underarm that tends that tends to feel sore when your left shoulder blade is in pain, and it's something that you can easily reach and massage with your right hand. You can learn about different massage techniques that might be useful by visiting the Fremont College website.  The use of a massage ball can also help alleviate the pain. Before practicing any modalities or techniques, check with your state’s massage therapy regulatory authority to ensure they are within the state’s defined scope and standards of practice for massage therapy.

Stretching Exercises

Most of the time, having the muscles in the upper back stretched can help get lessen that left shoulder blade pain that you are experiencing. One of the quickest stretching exercises that you may do is this: stand next to a wall with your left arm raised to shoulder level, bent, and the forearm flat on the wall. Gently press your forearm against the wall and hold for 15 seconds. Raise your arm at about 45° and press against the wall for another 15 seconds.


Chris Foerster
Fremont College

Direct: 562-977-6045 | Main Office: 562-809-5100
Fax: 562-809-7100

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