Stitching pain in the back: left, right, under the shoulder blade

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 25.02.2021

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Stitching pain in the back is not uncommon. Today it is no secret to anyone that hypothermia or inflammation in the back is not always the cause. There can be quite a few reasons that lead to the development of pain in the back. These can be both pathological processes affecting the back itself, and processes that have nothing to do with the back. For example, pain radiates from a pinched nerve, or from kidney stones. Accordingly, the treatment of each case will differ dramatically. Let's take a closer look.


In most cases, any pain, regardless of its nature (stabbing, cutting, dull), indicates the development of an inflammatory process, or traumatic injury. Therefore, it is important first of all to make sure that in the near future you have not received any injury in the back, lower back. If trauma is excluded, an inflammatory process can be assumed. It can also be a pinched nerve. But this is also a kind of inflammatory process, since metabolic and trophic processes are disrupted in the pinched nerve, which entails inflammation and pain. Also, pain can result from the displacement of one or more vertebrae. Often a vertebra, displaced, leads to a shift in other vertebrae, pinching of muscles, nerves, intervertebral discs (this is how intervertebral hernias occur). [1]

The gradual wear and tear of the vertebrae (protrusion) can cause acute pain. The trigger (trigger) can be hypothermia, prolonged stay in one position (standing, sitting, lying), physical inactivity, abnormal position of the spine, trauma, improper load on the spine (when lifting weights, performing physical exercises, during pregnancy).

But such an option is not excluded, in which there is actually no pathological process in the back. The reason lies not in the back itself, but, for example, in the kidneys, liver, spleen, lungs, and even in the pleura. It is in these areas that the inflammatory process can occur, and the pain radiates along the nerve fiber, and is perceived as back pain. [2]

Risk factors

The risk group includes people who have an increased load on the lower back (loaders, installers, handymen). Risk factors include all congenital and acquired diseases of the musculoskeletal system in humans, first of all, diseases of the spine, paravertebral muscles, sciatica, various injuries of the vertebrae and intervertebral space, hernias, osteoporosis. [3]

Also at risk are people who are often overcooled, stay in drafts, open winds, spend a lot of time in damp rooms, on the street. Pregnancy is considered one of the risk factors, since at this time the load on the spine and lower back increases sharply. All people with chronic diseases of the spine, lower back, with a history of back diseases are at risk. [4]


The pain can be localized absolutely anywhere in the back. Most often, painful sensations are perceived from the side, in the center of the back, along the spine, and sometimes even in the center of the spine itself. Often the painful area is limited to a specific area, or it spreads intensively throughout the back. Moreover, in the first case, a person understands exactly where his back hurts, how it hurts, and can also “describe” the boundaries of pain. In the second case, it is impossible to clearly determine the source of the pain, often a person does not even understand whether his back or, for example, kidneys hurts.

  • Stitching pain in the sides of the back

The presence of a stabbing pain in the sides of the back may indicate that the inflammatory process develops either in the region of the kidneys or in the lateral parts of the back. At the same time, in the inflammatory process, most often the inflammation still affects the kidneys, and the pain simply gives off to the back area, radiates. A similar stabbing pain can develop with liver diseases (with hepatitis, hepatic and renal failure, cirrhosis). Similar sensations are typical for people with heart failure. [5]

If the pain rises higher, and is localized in the area of the shoulder blades, this may indicate the development of pneumonia (in the area of the shoulder blades there is a projection of the tops of the lungs). Stitching pain in the sides, in the upper back, may indicate a complication of sore throat, or this is noted with a herpes infection. Also, such pain can indicate inflammation or injury in the area of the upper limb girdle, shoulder blade, collarbone, and even neck. Such pain often occurs with a severe stage of torticollis, in which the sterno-subclavian, clavicular-mastoid muscles, and intercostal areas are involved in the inflammatory process. It can be sciatica, intercostal neuralgia, lumbodynia. [6]

  • Stitching back pain on the right

In the event that stabbing pains in the back on the right are concerned, in almost 100% of cases there is an inflammatory process in the kidneys. At the same time, along the nerves that are involved in the inflammatory process, the pain radiates to the back, and it is not always possible to distinguish the source. [7]

However, this is far from the only cause of back pain. There can be many reasons, and each has their own. Pain can be a consequence of frequent stress, and the result of neuropsychic stress, and even a consequence of the development of autoimmune, infectious, inflammatory, processes. And even a sign of poisoning.

  • Stitching back pain on the left

There can be many reasons why stabbing pain occurs in the left back. Often this is an injury, damage to muscles, spine, displacement of the vertebrae. The pathological process is usually based on hypothermia, or nervous disorders (involvement of nerves in the inflammatory process). This kind of pain is often observed in people prone to obesity, with metabolic disorders, with impaired vascular tone, blood pumping function. Sometimes a stabbing pain in the back on the left or on the right occurs against the background of vitamin deficiency, mineral deficiency, and intoxication. [8]

  • Stitching pain in the lower back

In most cases, pain in the kidney area, urolithiasis, or the deposition of salts and sand in the urinary tract of the kidneys are taken for stabbing pain in the lower back. The cause may be a urinary tract infection that goes up and affects the kidneys. Often, pain develops against the background of general hypothermia of the body, or with the development of an infection. [9]

  • Stitching pains in the chest leading to the back

There can be many reasons for the development of stabbing chest pains that gradually pass into the back. You need to see a doctor and undergo an examination, because without an appropriate examination it is impossible to determine the cause. Hypothermia, inflammation, muscle strain, displacement of the vertebrae, pinched nerve or muscle, intercostal neuralgia can become the cause of such transient, migratory pain. [10]

Often the pathological process affects the chest (it can be a disease of the abdominal organs - bronchitis, pneumonia, tracheobronchitis). Or it can be a disease of the back, spinal column, lower back. Often the cause is cardiac pathology: such pain can be a harbinger of myocardial infarction, it can indicate an attack of angina pectoris, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, it can be one of the symptoms of coronary artery disease - coronary heart disease, heart disease. Such a reaction can occur in people to stress, be a response to excessive physical or mental stress. There are cases in which the cause is an increased susceptibility of pain receptors, and even a violation of the basic neuroregulatory mechanisms, hormonal levels, increased sensitization of the body. This can be a harbinger of an impending anaphylactic shock. [11]

  • Stitching pain in the back between the shoulder blades

The cause may be trauma to the scapula, shoulder girdle, cervical spine. In this case, stabbing pain occurs, which is felt in the back and between the shoulder blades. As a result of injury, muscle rupture, integument and membranes, pinching or damage to the nerve can occur, which causes stabbing pain in the back and between the shoulder blades. One of the reasons may be an intervertebral hernia, localized in the area of the shoulder blades, which is often accompanied by inflammation of the intervertebral and paravertebral muscles, impaired trophism, increased sensitivity. [12]

The nature of the pain

By the nature of the pain, one can also judge about those pathological phenomena that develop in the body. Thus, a sharp stabbing pain often indicates an acute inflammatory process. Dull, aching pain is a sign of chronic inflammation.

  • Acute stabbing back pain

When the first signs of pain appear, the source of the pain must be identified. Acute stabbing back pain is often caused by an acute inflammatory process that affects either the back itself or other nearby structures. In this case, muscles and tissues are involved in the inflammatory process. The source is most often based on where the pain is most felt. It is imperative to be examined by a nephrologist if the source of the pain is unclear and presumably localized in the lower back. There is a risk that it may be an inflammation of the kidneys, urinary tract.

  • Sharp stabbing back pain

If you suddenly have a sharp stabbing pain in your back, this may indicate the development of an inflammatory process (acute), or an exacerbation of an already existing inflammation. It occurs mainly in spring and autumn, since it is during this period that the body is maximally weakened. Often exacerbations occur under the influence of excessive stress, overexertion, increased stress on the body, or incorrect distribution of the load on the back. In winter, such pain often indicates hypothermia, that you have a cold on your back or kidneys. Also, exacerbation often occurs from stress, neuropsychiatric stress.

Complications and consequences

The consequences can be different, and it is rather difficult to predict them, since they depend on many parameters. If stabbing pain in the back is the result of physical inactivity, prolonged stay in one position, then this is the simplest and most favorable option. It is enough to organize physical activity, start exercising regularly, and the condition will return to normal. But if the reason is different, severe, progressive consequences, up to disability, are not excluded. Often there are consequences and complications such as inflammation, development of infection, contractures, stiffness, lumbodynia, neuralgia, radiculitis. A dangerous complication is the development of a hernia, tumors, which often ends in disability, and even death. 

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