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Have running nose. Having pain in shoulder blade. Pain worse while breathing. What can be done?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 567 Questions
I have had thick sometimes green/yellow/clear always thick and clear it 10 to 15 times per day, clear runny nose just as much and now pain just below my right shoulder blade. I quit smoking July 21,2003. My concern comes with the newest symptom of the pain under right shoulder blade and its worse on taking a breath in?
Posted Tue, 9 Jul 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Jay Patel 1 hour later

The pain in your shoulder blade can be for many different things but two most common causes are

1) Muscle strain – Short-term overuse of your arms and upper torso may be experienced in your scapula, and is the most common cause of shoulder blade pain. Even something as simple as sleeping in the wrong position could be a cause of this pain.

2) Arthritis with/without osteoporosis – Arthritis, either in the shoulder or shoulder blade, or in the neck resulting in referred pain, may be a cause of scapular pain. Due to a stop in the menstrual cycle there are hormonal imbalance occurs leading to an osteoporosis in the females as the calcium balance hormones are disturbed due to the changes in menstrual cycle.



1) Get yourself checked for any skeletal abnormality such as fracture/ligament strain, for this you will need to have an -X-ray of right shoulder region.
2) Check your blood for the changes in hormones like parathyroid hormone, thyroid profile, calcitonin, and FSH, LH.


Since you did smoke and you did stopped smoking in 2003, still there are some chances that there might be a mass growth in the lungs, which may cause a pain in shoulder blade.
I would like you to undergo a "X-RAY" CHEST and if possible "CT scan" CHEST just to rule out any residual chances of mass in lung, (please consider this recommendation as preventive scan)


Treatment options for the shoulder blade pain are

1) In case of muscle strain - over the counter pain killer and take a hot water shower exposing the area of pain under how water as far as possible.

2) In case of osteoporosis - taking calcium supplement will help.

3) For arthritis - no heavy weight exercise (please move the arm as much as possible in various position), take pain killers will help.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have running nose. Having pain in shoulder blade. Pain worse while breathing. What can be done? 30 minutes later
Just to let you know I never had an injury the pain all started with a deep breath and the nasal discharge and chest muscus I have had since for many years for sure 13 years. I was always told to spit it out and I continually blowing my nose. I guess I just figured it was my unlucky reward from smoking. Just had the urge to take a deep breath and the pain has been there ever since for about the past week. I will take the option of talking with my doctor next time I am in as the pain is not debilitating for a chest xray.
Answered by Dr. Jay Patel 56 minutes later

As I said before, that the muscle sprain is one on the common cause. Moreover, the description, which you gave in the follow up question, resembles the classic muscle sprain cause by sudden thrust, which was transferred to the muscles supporting the rib cage. The muscle of the blade (scapula bone) when you inhaled deeply, it will get better on its own, nothing to worry just over the counter pain medicine will help you to bear pain. In addition, you can take hot water showers to soothing effects around the shoulder area.

More over the blowing of nose does exert a slow impact which may lead to a bit of overuse and might have little swelling in between the muscle due to friction caused by muscles and bone movement.

It will get better on its own , you don't need to go for the "X RAY" as per the clarification in follow up question that pain is not debilitating , it seems you only have sprain & nothing much to worry about, just relax.

Please feel free to contact me for any clarifications / other concern.

Thanks for the question.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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