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Q

I am a 29 year old female who exercises regularly. For a month I have had a “floating” pain in my left side. It started with pain on the edge of my left shoulder blade and now has spread into the rhomboid muscle and seems to float to different places. It is sensitive to the touch, I don’t know if it is a nerve or muscle proble. During the past month I have been watching my 11 month old niece which involves carrying her around and bending over a lot. What can I do to ease the pain and help my back heal?

A

Pain in the shoulder blade/rhomboid region (scapulothoracic region) can be attributed to many conditions including but not limited to a muscle strain or tear, facet (joint pain), cervical disc problems or impingement of a cervical nerve. You mention that the pain appears to float to different locations. From this information, you may be experiencing some disc or nerve involvement. The scapulothoracic region is a common region for pain to be located when there is disc or nerve involvement. The best thing to do is to avoid activities which aggravate your condition- ie. lifting and carrying your 11 month old niece. You can utilize a hot pack or cold pack as well to help you obtain some relief from your pain. I would then recommend you consult with a physical therapist for a thorough evaluation to determine a plan of care and what course to take. If you begin experiencing numbness/tingling, radiating pain down your arm, or inadvertently start to drop items then definitely seek medical attention immediately as this could suggest neural involvement and may require direct medical attention.

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