Edge of breast/Ribcage/Shoulder Blade Aches & Pains

I have been getting a dull, burning ache on the outer side of the right breast area which sometimes extends around into the back and shoulder blade area. This had continued now for 6-8 weeks and nothing seems to make it shift - it's perhaps not quite so intense as it was but it doesn't seem to want to go! I have been to the GP who had no ideas but has sent me for a neck x-ray and for blood tests - I've also been having problems with my right arm: it just feels odd - my hand gets cold very quickly on that side and a bit tingly and the whole arm feels slightly numb and not as strong as the other (and I'm right handed unfortunately). I don't know if the two things are connected - I've had non-cyclical breast pain in the past as well as pericarditis and it doesn't feel the same at all. I was wondering if it could be something to do with autoimmune disease as I've long been diagnosed with a 'lupus-like syndrome' and was more recently diagnosed with primary sjogrens - this seems to have flared up over the past couple of years after many years of being largely 'dormant' (I blame impending menopause and all those wretched hormones myself!)

I was wondering if anyone had experienced something similar? It's not an unbearable pain but the ache in the whole right chest and back and into the upper arm makes it hard to sleep and is really getting me down. I haven't had the results of the x-ray or bloods back yet (everything takes forever at our local doctors and I've got a GP appointment on the 8th March next) - I have a feeling though that they won't show up very much. There are no lumps or bumps in the area - the GP checked - there's no redness or rash or anything to see. Could it be muscles/ligaments/tendons (my shoulder on that side clicks a lot and doesn't move as easily as the other) or could it be nerves/neuropathy? Painkillers don't seem to do anything - I feel better when I'm moving about rather than staying still - I do Tai Chi twice a week (thoroughly recommend that to people!) and I feel better for a little while afterwards but it comes back.

Any thoughts? Thank you x

29 Replies

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  • Sounds muscular. I used to have similar pains and I've started doing stretching exercises at the gym and that did the trick. The weakness in your right arm might come from your neck, I have the same in my left arm and the nerve conduction tests showed that it comes from the neck. I've just had a neck MRI, so I'm waiting for the results. Most of us have issues with muscles, so try to keep it in mind when assessing pain. Good luck.

  • Hello, I have SLE (lupus) and have been diagnosed for 7 years now. I don't suffer with many symptoms now but I do have the exact same pain you are describing. I have asked my consultant about it before and he said it is muscular pain not Auto Immune pain, which is usually associated with joints.

    I am a photographer and the pain is generally in the arm I use to hold the camera with. It is worse after working, and usually better after stretching or a good massage.

    Claire x

  • It sounds as if the rib pain is costochondritis. Inflammation of the connective tissue that joins the ribcage to the lungs. Google it and see if it resonates. I have it all the time. Many of us do actually. Good luck x

  • I have breast pain also left arm pain.I went to see oestoapath excuse spelling he gave me steroid injection and sent me for physiotherapy which starts 7 th mar.I had arm pain 1st start in Oct after a fall(which oesto said not connected)all my others symptoms started then too.injection never worked.breast pain started 7th Jan and 2 days later was very severe enough to have me at docs having a melt down and actually swore at him.next day I was back saw a lady doc who examined me and she said it was breast muscles.I don't know if it was just settling in then cos still very painful but I cope.my breasts swell up quite significantly sometimes when pain bad and they heat up also my back and neck.my left arm is ihard to move (can't tie hair back for work etc) and causes great pain with certain moves or moving it too quickly.I have not been diagnosed with anything 1 St app in April.it is an ache which burns with on occasion sharp shooting pains.if you get any answers could you please post .hope you feel better soon x

  • did you ever get a diagnosis this sounds almost exact to the problem im having now but mine is excruciating.

  • Hi,i have been suffering this for well over 8 months now ,infact im sat here typing with hot water bottle against my left shoulder blade and it always extends around my ribs and pretty much anywhere upper body and chest ,i feel like ive been kicked in the ribs and someone has put my whole upper body in a vice and is gradualy tightening the vice ,its distressing;( consultants totaly dismiss this,i wish you well brave;)

  • Oh my gawd have they gave you a diagnosis because i have the same problem but when I try to inhale deeply it hurts so bad i start crying I can't laugh cough or anything because its so painful and idk what to do and my dad thinks im being over dramatic so no doctor visits have been made

  • Hi

    I have exactly the same pain, I have had it for over 30 years since I was approx 12 years old. I had every investigation under the sun and nothing could be found. It was only much later I was diagnosed with discoid lupus and now further investigations into systemic lupus, it all seems to be connected. I now have pains and aches just like you describe in many parts of my body. Prescribed antiinflammatries do the job on most of the pain except for my shoulder and back. I hope you have better luck with this than I have had. I have just had to learn to live with it. It is also my right arm and I am right handed and it has stopped me from wanting to do many things over the years just to avoid the pain.

    Good luck.

  • Mine isin my shoulder and down my arm on both sides and around my rib cage on the left.Its not a pain it is like all the mussels

  • achy feeling ,but its bad

  • Sounds like yours going down bothy arms is probably a disk on the neck/ cervix area

  • Hi There,

    A few years ago at the time i was diagnose with Mixed Connective Tissue, I got home from work and started to experience a pain on my left side. The pain was very strong and my left arm feeling numb almost paralised. I went to the hospital and was hospitalised for liver inflammation.It was pretty bad

    Roughly 6 weeks ago i started with similar symptoms , luckily i had an appointment at Guys. I was told it serositis inflammation of the serous sack around my lungs. It could just be some from of inflammation going on. There Isnt much space inside the human rib cage so any swelling could squeeze the other organs which could lead to discomfort.

    But do have that checked up. Oops You may suggest that to your gp, because when i started with the new symptoms 6 weeks ago I went to A&E and they could not find what the problem was it was the following Wednesday at my routine appointment at Guys that it was discovered

    Take care and good luck

  • Hi Ive suffered from this too and yes right arm and pains under ribcage. I invested in an infra-red sauna and this has helped not only my knees and back but my arms and every joint on the body and I feel energised for a while after. After discussing my aches with the rheumatologist and endocrinologist and getting no where i read reports that the infrared saunas can help Lupus and I do find this helps me.

  • Thank you everybody for taking the time to post replies to me on this subject. It really seems to be something that many of us have to deal with - the problem is being taken seriously by the doctors. I must say that their attitude really frightens me at times and we do have to be very proactive about our own care (I had severe abdominal pain constantly dismissed for 2 years which turned out to be appendicitis - luckily it was eventually caught in time because I pestered the GP to refer me to someone other than a gynaecologist where it was just put down to one of those things you have to put up with as you're a woman!!!).

    So far I have had the blood test results back which of course showed up nothing other than my chronic anaemia which I already know about. I am still waiting for the x-ray results but I cannot imagine they will show anything at all. I will eventually see the GP in another week's time (this is another issue where I live as it takes about 2 weeks to see a GP in our practice and far longer if you want to see a particular doctor - they have no emergency appointment system either - I managed to get a call from a duty doctor as I mentioned the magic words chest pain who then saw me that morning and I now know that this is the approach you have to take if you are concerned it's something serious.)

    The ache/pain seems to have subsided at last - it was frustrating that no painkillers seem to touch it: I tried taking both ibuprofen and aspirin but neither affected it in any way at all. I don't think it was costochondritis as I don't think the pain was sharp enough and I didn't feel any pain associated with breathing in and out. I doubt I will get any further enlightening information when I see the GP but I will post if I find out anything more as this does seem to be something that affects a lot of us.

    Thank you all xxx

  • I have the same ache/pain, mine started in my right shoulder blade and seems to go straight through to my right breast. It is extremely uncomfortable and the only relief I get is a heating pad, I use it on my shoulder blade and then my right breast. It does relieve it temporarily but it returns. Usually worse at night although I'm getting it more and more during the day now. I am glad to have found this HealthUnlocked because I was really getting panicky but it sounds more like what you all are describing. I agree it most likely is inflammation because the heat seems to work. I haven't discussed it with my doctor yet but plan to, there should be something that can be taken for inflammation. I have a dear friend that is a Lakota Sioux Medicine Man and he knows many remedies he has suggested for things from time to time and to my surprise worked very well. I will ask him what to take and I believe he will suggest oil of oregano. I will let you know what he suggests. Thank you all for discussing this problem I was truly scared.

  • wow - this was posted a year ago. I have this exact pain. I started panicking because I have been waking up from a sound sleep from the pain (worse at night, it seems)...I'm very interested in the remedies from the Lakota Sioux Medicine Man you mentioned - Thank you I hope you are still on here after a year!

  • The symptoms sound very similar to what I am experiencing now. Do you have suggestions for eliminating this annoying issue?

  • Hi LUCY

    I have been diagnosed with sjogrens syndrome 5 yrs ago and a few other autoimmune conditions having that same symtoms at the moment also for some weeks now .I am having lots of blood test for the past 7 months due to my blood test not being good in a few groups seem to getting closer to an answer

  • Hi , I have been suffering for 2 months with pain between shoulder blade mainly right side , pain in chest bone sometimes sore to touch also at times pain just under right side of rib cage, I've had xray it showed nothing I've had blood test again. It should nothing, I'm still suffering dr refered me for gall bladder scan and prescribed tramadol . I'm worried sick .. But reading everyone's post maybe we all have the same ..

  • I have had something similar, it started in my right upper arm, when I move it outwards it feels like its going to break or something, and then the pain moved to my right breast like a dull ache. I wonder if its lymph glands, but I need to get it checked out.

  • first let me say that these can be symptoms of a heart attack, so with that being said i have these same problems for 3 years now and i have multipile disk bulges that put pressure on the nerves that go to my shoulder and arm. I have muscle spasms in the the shoulder blade area that canbecome so bad that the effects from them go into my right arm to my hand, i go to massage thearpy once a week and a chiropractor 2 times a week. I have had back surgery for double herniated disk, and total pelvis rebuild due to accident and right hip replacement so at this time i chose not to have any surgery to fix the bulging disk as long as i can manage the pain at least around a pain level of 4-5 100 percent of the time but when these dont work anymore i will have to do the surgery. I do take muscle relaxers and pain medications but only if the pain gets around 6-7 , i have had this for so long now it is just normal but talk to your doctor about muscle spasms and do try a massage therapist , for deep tissue massage, it keeps you from haveing to take medicen for the pain.

  • I had same symptoms & funny Lillal from a few messages above mentions oregano oil because my naturopath (yes i sacked my doctor after he offered nothing but prescriptions for stuff that made me sicker) suggested oregano too (ingested with my italian food & massage on the painful areas , what an awesomely nice prescription & what a fluke it worked & the pain subsided) i asked her why it works & she said that it may be parasite activity in those painful area & as i have pets she said likely to be toxoplasma or human fluke or those 2 & more (the oregano oil safely kills toxoplasma in humans & pets) to boost the effect of the oregano oil i began using a don croftt parasite zapper on the exact area & after one month on i have zero pain (iv put up with this debilitating for over 10 yrs & i was scared of what it might be & now im free of it I feel like i have a new life) i still use the zapper all the time as its soothing & gives me an energy boost.

  • Just saw Lucy Locket has a picture of a cat on her message so im thinking Lucy if you are a cat lover like me then it may be the cat parasite Toxoplasma thats the cause of this whole ache (oregano tastes great on most foods ! its cheap & plentiful so its worth trying)

  • This sounds very similar to an issue I am currently having at the moment although the pain seems to be on the left side. It usually starts right after I wake up and continues throughout the day so my left breast and arm have a numb pain feeling. I actually own a dog but not sure if it has the same effect as cats. Will make sure to check in with the doctor as well and try the oregano oil. Is there a particular brand I should get? Will b sure to provide an update on how it all goes

  • So the day after this post i decided to check in with my GP. They prescribed some tablets as they believe it was a trapped nerve due to pressure placed on my arm (either during sleep or possibly my heavy bag i carry to work sometimes) which is where the majority of the pain occurred. The pain had kind of subsided by the time i visited but thought i would go just to be safe. The female doc checked both breast to make sure there were no lumps and pressed against other areas where i was getting the pains. Also tested my strength by making me push again her hands and squeeze her fingers with both fists. In the end she advised to keep track of any eye sight issues that might occur. I did actually start my period that week so it might have been down to my period cycle which i did read about prior to coming across this article. I have also been taking Oregano Oil but cannot say if its the reason the pain has gone completely as I only started taking them after i visited the doc. Hopefully this helps with any related problems others are having.

  • I have been suffering from same pain which starts from upper side of right breast then shoulder and whole right arm. I am very worried about dx plz anyone suggest me what it could be? Even I can't sleep peacefully at night because of this tension.

  • I'm having exactly the same pain. Did you ever find out what was causing it?

  • Hi those pains do sound familiar to me as right at this moment im sitting in bed just after havin the exact same pains as u all describe pain in right side just at the edge of my rib a tightening under my rib which goes thro my right shoulder blade then carries on down then at my shoukder blade again i also get pains in my stomach luckily this is only the second time it has happened but it is frightening and i will b phoning the docs in the morning well later as it is 02:44. If i get any info il pass it on. Stay safe and well xx

  • Hi I get the same pains.

    It all started over 2 years ago... I went to see an ABC Chiropractor (I see a chiropractor now all the time, but only Gonstead chiros as they are the safest in my opinion, I would never go to an ABC chiro again (he was at the Northern Beaches in Sydney) as he had very questionable methods which he learned overseas... and I heard from several people that they have been injured by him. He did a manipulation on me by pulling my neck to one side while I was laying half off the table with my upper body, very harsh and weird, now I have a whiplash-like injury for over 2 years and no one can find out what was specifically damaged. I had MRIs and neurological tests...

    I think it might be injury to the suprascapular nerve or the levator scapular muscle.. but I am not a doctor, that's just what I found on the net.

    However, I get those pains in my neck muscles, my shoulder blade, it radiates through to my breast and just under the collar bone..., when I wash my hair sometimes it triggers it and sometimes even my first rib pops out and my shoulder drops, then I gotta go to my chiro and he puts the rib back in and adjusts my C6 and I feel better and the shoulder goes back to normal.

    Nevertheless, I have pain in my right levator scapular and other neck areas on the right as well as under the right collarbone almost every single day and can't turn my head to the left without pain for the past 2 years and 4 months...

    I hope I find out what has actually happened to me in that manipulation back then...

    Maybe someone else had an experience like that or similar and knows what it could be...?

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