Shoulder blade pain can be a difficult condition to manage. It can range from mild discomfort to intense, sharp pain that is difficult to find relief from. While there are many treatments available, medication can often be an effective way to manage shoulder blade pain. In this article, we will explore common medications used to treat shoulder blade pain. We’ll discuss their effectiveness, side effects, and how to use them safely.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used medications to treat shoulder blade pain. NSAIDs work by reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain in the affected area. They are available in both over-the-counter and prescription forms and can be used for both acute and chronic shoulder blade pain.

Common NSAIDs used to treat shoulder blade pain include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. All of these medications work by blocking the production of certain chemicals that cause inflammation and pain in the body. NSAIDs are usually taken orally, but they can also be applied topically as a gel or cream.

Before taking any NSAID, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with a doctor. Common side effects of NSAIDs include stomach upset, stomach ulcers, and kidney problems. People with a history of stomach or intestinal problems should use NSAIDs with caution. Additionally, NSAIDs should not be taken for more than 10 days in a row without consulting with a doctor.

Muscle Relaxants

Shoulder blade pain can be a debilitating condition that can be difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are several medications available to help relieve the pain, including muscle relaxants. Muscle relaxants are commonly used to treat shoulder blade pain and can be very effective in reducing symptoms.

Muscle relaxants work by blocking the nerve signals that cause muscle spasms. They can help reduce pain and muscle tension, as well as help to improve the range of motion. They are often prescribed in combination with other treatments such as physical therapy, massage, and stretching to improve the overall effectiveness of treatment.

Causes and Symptoms 


Shoulder blade pain can be a frustrating and disruptive symptom that can affect your daily life. Many people turn to corticosteroids as a common medication used to treat shoulder blade pain. Corticosteroids are a type of anti-inflammatory medication that can reduce inflammation and swell in the shoulder area.

Corticosteroids are synthetic versions of hormones produced by the body’s adrenal glands. They are usually taken orally, but they can also be injected directly into the area around the shoulder blades. The medication works by reducing inflammation and swelling in the affected area, which can then reduce pain. 

In some cases, corticosteroids are used in combination with other treatments, such as physical therapy, to treat shoulder blade pain. However, they are often used alone as the primary treatment. Corticosteroids can be effective in relieving pain, however, they can have some side effects, such as weight gain, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of infection.


Acetaminophen works by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are chemicals that cause inflammation and pain. It does not work by blocking the action of other medications that can reduce inflammation, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. For this reason, acetaminophen is often used in combination with other medications to reduce pain and inflammation.

When it comes to treating shoulder blade pain, acetaminophen can be very effective. It can reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain in the muscles and joints in the shoulder blade area. It is also a safe option, as it has fewer side effects than other NSAIDs.

If you are experiencing shoulder blade pain, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any medication, including acetaminophen. Your doctor will be able to assess the severity of your pain and recommend the best treatment plan for you. In some cases, physical therapy or other treatments may be recommended in addition to taking acetaminophen.

Topical Pain Relief

Topical pain relief is a common medication used to treat shoulder blade pain. It is a non-prescription topical analgesic or topical pain relief product that is applied directly to the skin to help reduce pain and discomfort. Topical analgesics provide temporary relief of minor aches and pains caused by muscle strains, sprains, joint stiffness, and arthritis.

Topical pain medications come in various forms including creams, gels, and sprays. Depending on the type of topical pain reliever, it may contain ingredients such as menthol, camphor, capsaicin, salicylates, and lidocaine, which are known for their ability to reduce discomfort and inflammation.

When selecting a topical pain reliever for shoulder blade pain, it is important to consider the severity of the pain and the length of time it has been present. For mild-to-moderate pain, a topical analgesic may be sufficient. However, for more severe pain, a combination of medications may be necessary.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is one of the medications used to treat shoulder blade pain. Physical therapy helps to reduce pain and improve mobility in the shoulder and its surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It can also help to reduce inflammation and improve range of motion.

Physical therapy can include a variety of different treatments, such as stretching, strengthening exercises, massage, and ultrasound. Stretching helps to increase flexibility and range of motion while strengthening exercises help to improve muscle control. Massage can help to reduce inflammation and soften the tissue surrounding the shoulder blade. Ultrasound can help to increase blood flow and reduce muscle spasms.


Narcotics are a type of medication that is commonly used to treat shoulder blade pain. They are classified as strong analgesics, meaning they are highly effective in reducing pain. Narcotics are typically prescribed when non-narcotic pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are not providing adequate relief. 

Narcotics work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. This can provide rapid relief of shoulder blade pain, but it also comes with a risk of addiction and abuse. For this reason, narcotics are typically prescribed in the lowest dose possible, and only used for short-term relief of shoulder blade pain. 

Common narcotics used to treat shoulder blade pain include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine. These medications should be taken exactly as prescribed by a doctor. As with all medications, there may be side effects associated with the use of narcotics. Side effects can include constipation, nausea, drowsiness, and difficulty breathing. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re experiencing shoulder blade pain, it’s important to seek medical advice to determine the cause and the best course of treatment. The seven common medications discussed here could be a part of that treatment plan. It’s essential to talk to your doctor to learn the potential side effects of any medication and determine if it’s right for you. With proper management and treatment, you can find relief from shoulder blade pain and get back to your life.

At Integrative Chiropractic, we understand that shoulder blade pain can be difficult to manage and diagnose. Our experienced chiropractors utilize a comprehensive approach to properly diagnose and treat shoulder blade pain. We use a combination of chiropractic adjustments, therapeutic modalities, massage, stretching, and lifestyle modifications to help reduce pain, improve function, and enhance overall health. We strive to provide the best-individualized care to ensure that our patients can return to their normal activities as quickly as possible.

Chiropractor Overland Park, KS