So your pain is in the collarbone or clavicle area, but it seems to be originating from your neck. This doesn’t sound good, and it warrants a medical evaluation.
For this article I interviewed Dr. Mark Galland, orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist and physician at Orthopaedic Specialists of North Carolina.
“Shoulder blade pain is most commonly indicative of a cervical problem, usually degenerative disc disease, sometimes spinal stenosis, or radiculopathy, which is more commonly known as a pinched nerve,” says Dr. Galland.
“Cervical” refers to the neck area (cervical vertebrae). In degenerative disc disease, the spongy-like, shock-absorbing discs in between each vertebra is worn down.
Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the canal through which the spinal cord runs. Both situations can put pressure on nerves that come off the spinal cord.
Radiculopathy is when the pain, caused by nerve compression or pinching, radiates away from the source of the pinching.
“Treatment options for this kind of pain include rest, physical therapy, a brief course of anti-inflammatory medication, and a self-directed home exercise program,” says Dr. Galland. “More significant pathology can be treated with a specialized injection called an ESI.”
So if you have shoulder blade pain that seems to come from your neck, you should see an orthopedic specialist or sports medicine doctor. ESI stands an epidural steroid injection, which often eliminates pain for up to three or four months.