Is Your Shoulder Blade Pain Related to Breast Cancer?

Pain in the shoulder and breast place can be due to breast cancer surgery and radiation therapy. People may also experience pain if most cancers have spread.

Pain in and around your scapula — the triangle-formed bone on both facets of your upper back — is commonly an orthopedic issue. However, there are times when it is able to be associated with breast cancer.

Does breast cancer make your shoulder harm?

When you’re living with breast cancer, pain in your shoulder blade can result from treatment. Cancer remedies can have an effect on the scapula and other upper lower back and arm systems, causing pain and capability harm. Nerves also can be damaged, leading to continual aches in exclusive areas.

Post-treatment pain can limit your capability to lift your hands, cause you to lose muscle power, and make it harder to do activity-associated or leisure sports.

Skeletal pain, which includes shoulder pain, can also indicate that most cancers may have unfolded from your breast to other areas of your body.

If you’re experiencing an ache in one or both shoulder blades, it’s vital to speak with a medical doctor or healthcare expert about it as soon as possible.

Shoulder blade ache after breast cancer treatment

If you’ve had chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical operation, you could have pain around your shoulder blade because of the remedy. These may also consist of the following:

  • Postoperative ache: Surgery along with a lumpectomy can cause some ache throughout recovery. The greater significant your surgical operation is, the extra painful your arm and shoulder can also feel.
  • Postmastectomy pain syndrome (PMPS): This continual nerve pain is a commonplace disorder that develops in human beings who’ve had a mastectomy because of breast cancer.
  • Axillary web syndrome: After breast cancer surgical treatment, 6% and 86p.C of humans may additionally develop tight bands of fibrous tissue underneath their pores and skin, referred to as axillary internet syndrome. These bands can cause aches in the shoulder vicinity when you try and raise or extend your arm.
  • Radiation-precipitated fibrosis: Radiation therapy targets cancer cellular DNA to stop increase however can also have an effect on surrounding tissues. Studies display that it can alternate the elasticity, or stretchiness, of the muscle tissue inside the radiation vicinity. This can cause pain and organ dysfunction, that can cause ache and organ dysfunction.
  • Scapula alata: After a breast cancer surgical operation, the shoulder blade close to the backbone can also jut out and cause restricted movement, swelling, and pain. Scapula alata is likewise known as winging and commonly resolves within some months.

Depending on the reason, pain after a breast cancer surgical procedure can also remain for a while. Although it may decrease as you get better, many people who have survived breast cancer record aches in their shoulders location years later.

Shoulder aches and breast cancer metastasis

Pain is not a not unusual symptom of breast cancer. However, breast cancer that has metastasized (unfolded to different body elements) can sometimes cause shoulder blade aches. If you haven’t experienced shoulder aches associated with breast cancer earlier than, or your physician doesn’t trust it’s related to remedy, it can be a sign that most cancers have spread.

One of the maximum not unusual locations for breast most cancers metastasis is inside the bones. It’s also possible that pain near your proper shoulder will be an indication that breast cancer has spread to the liver. This is because some of the nerve networks around the liver originate from the same nerves that attach near your proper shoulder blade.

If it’s miles the most cancers relapse, remedy may help sluggish the most cancers growth, relieve your signs and symptoms, and guard your bones.

When do need to you not forget about shoulder pain?

If you’ve had breast cancer before, call your doctor if you experience any of those signs and symptoms, which can imply that breast cancer has spread in your bones or liver:

bone ache
yellow pores and skin or eyes (jaundice)
pain to your stomach
nausea and vomiting
loss of urge for food
feeling itchy
If cancer has unfolded to different locations in your body, early remedy can also help you sense higher and live longer.

What does a shoulder ache from breast cancer feel like?

The kind of ache you sense normally depends on what’s inflicting it. Some people have shoulder aches due to nerve harm from radiation therapy or a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or lymph node removal.

If you’ve got neuropathic ache, you may experience a shooting or burning sensation. Some human beings describe the pain as intense tingling or itching.

You may additionally enjoy sharp pain while you try to circulate your arms up or down. Swelling, stiffness, or numbness will also be present.

If your pain is because of cancer that has spread (metastasized), it’d feel like a deep, dull pain or cramp for your joints or bones. Pain near your right shoulder blade should mean that your liver is affected.

You may feel depressed or hectic, and the ache may additionally disrupt your sleep. Not getting enough sleep may additionally make your pain feel worse.

How do you treat shoulder aches after breast cancer remedy?

Reducing shoulder aches after breast cancer remedy can take time, patience, and aid. Your cancer care team can provide guidance, mainly the healthcare experts focusing on rehabilitation.

Here are a few treatment plans that may assist you:

  • Manual therapy: A physiotherapist plays this form of palms-on remedy. It’s especially effective in supporting drain fluid which could gather inside the arm (lymphedema) and mobilizing joints and tissues. Research shows it is able to help reduce aches and growth variety of motion.
  • Therapeutic sports: Active therapeutic exercises can aid in recuperation. Better consequences are seen when humans start about 28 to forty-two days after the surgical procedure, as soon as the danger of negative drainage factors has passed.
  • Massage: Once your wounds have healed, rubdown may also help relieve pain and boost your flexibility. A 2018 study found that 30 minutes of focused (chest and shoulder) rub down two times per week for eight weeks reduced the depth of pain and improved contributors’ range of movement.

If those cures or over-the-counter medicinal drugs aren’t enough to assist in manipulating your ache, your health practitioner might also prescribe opioid ache medications or corticosteroids.

If you’re aching because of most cancers that have moved on your bones, your oncologist can prescribe medicinal drugs to slow the development and help save you from bone fractures.


It’s common to have aches in and around the shoulder blade after breast cancer remedy.

The ache can be associated with surgery or radiation remedy. This therapy can have an effect on the muscle mass, ligaments, and collagen fibers in the dealt-with area, making it harder to transport your arm freely.

Less usually, humans may have shoulder blade pain if cancer has unfolded from the breast to different places within the frame, in particular the liver and bones.

If you need assistance regaining mobility to your shoulder after breast cancer remedy, or in case you’re nonetheless having aches after the postoperative length, it’s beneficial to contact a health practitioner.

Medication, rubdown, healing workouts, and guided physical remedies can all help you feel and circulate better.