Burning pain in skin over shoulder blade

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Many different conditions may be responsible for this type of symptom.

Injury to the neck or shoulder, with resultant strained ligaments can lead to upper back pain over the shoulder blade. While usually a sharp or aching pain, it may be burning in nature.

Muscle strain due to overuse can cause burning pain in the shoulder blades. Women with large breasts, also can experience muscle strain in the upper back.

More serious causes of upper back pain which can cause a burning sensation include osteoporosis and a ruptured disc.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become fragile and fracture. A disc rupture in the neck and upper thoracic spine can generate burning pain. Whiplash, which severely strains upper back muscles also leads to burning pain as a result of acute injury to spinal ligaments.

Finally, heart disease or other serious illnesses can cause referred pain to the shoulder blade and upper back.

A bursa is a sac that provides a cushion to joints and muscles. These bursae, when located under the shoulder blade, can become irritated and cause burning pain.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder. These tendons can be injured after repetitive use over a prolonged period of time. While the pain is more often aching, it may also occasionally cause burning.

Gallbladder disease can cause a burning pain referred to the right shoulder blade.

Fibromyalgia, a soft tissure form of rheumatism may also cause burning and aching in the shoulder blade area.

Shingles, a viral infection caused by the herpes virus, may cause burning of the skin over the shoulder blade. Within a few days, a rash with blisters will appear.

The treatment for each of these conditions will vary depending on the condition. Most problems related to muscle or ligament strain will respond to rest, stretching, massage, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medicines. Sometimes ultrasound guided injections of platelet-rich plasma may be required.

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