Really weird throbbing pain in my back?

What could be the cause? Today, I’ve felt this faint, throbbing pain in my left shoulder blade, almost like a pulse. Now it’s starting to get worse.

Should I be worried?

Not necessarily. If the pain persists for more than a couple of days, I might get it checked out, but more than likely, you’ve just pulled a muscle. Backs are funny things: the slightest odd motion can set them off. You may not even have realized you pulled a muscle at the time.

Yeah, but it doesn’t feel like a pulled muscle-it doesn’t hurt when I move or anything, it’s just a regular throbbing.

Still, I probably wouldn’t worry about it. It doesn’t sound like any dangerous symptom of which I’ve ever heard. If you don’t have any tingling in the hand, I wouldn’t think that it would be a stroke or a blood clot, or anything like that. If it doesn’t go away in a couple of days, you might want to get it looked at, but I don’t think there’s necessarily any cause for concern. If the pain gets severe, then you might want to have it looked at sooner.

I still think it might be a pulled muscle. Sometimes injured muscles “tic” with your pulse, but don’t feel painful when you move, because it’s not a muscle that you normally uitilize in everyday activity, but might have been strained due to an unusual movement.

Try putting a cold pack on it and see if it helps. If you don’t have one, you can wrap a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel. Heat might make things worse, so I’d avoid that.

I’ve had that exact pain before. I found that it was a certain chair in my apartment that really was the culprit. Sitting in it frequently for long amounts of time in a certain way would bring about the pain. I’ve stopped using it and the pain is gone.

The muscles that attach the scapula to the rib cage, esp. the subscapularis, are particularly prone to occasionally produce the kind of non-specific, hard to reproduce, maddening dull ache which you report. The specific cause could be any number of things, but this is the price we pay for having the shoulder be the most mobile joint in the body: Mostly muscle (as opposed to ligamenture) means more muscle fibers to pull. If it is the subscapularis, probably no ice will reach it, so you’ll just have to do gentle stretching and/or exercise (nothing crazy) until it goes away. “Cat back” exercises are great–keep head down while on hands & knees imitating cat stretching (arching) its back. Feel easy stretch in upper back and area beneath shoulder blade…stop and hold 10 sec…go just a tad farther…hold another 10…then relax. Can also be done standing, pushing GENTLY with straight arms against a wall till you feel the stretch back there. And try the ice, 20 minutes on, 20 off, etc. in case it works. Obviously, if the pain persists for more than 3-4 days, it’s time to visit your local chiropractor or other physician for a checkup.