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Your liver is triggering your right-sided shoulder blade pain

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/10/2020

Right-sided shoulder blade pain is a very common health complaint. But, unfortunately, some people go years without relief because this pain is very misunderstood. People often think that their shoulder blade pain is the result of an injury or a condition like shoulder tendonitis. But that may not really be the case at all. More commonly, what’s behind right-sided shoulder pain is the liver. If you have shoulder blade pain and you’ve tried everything, and nothing has worked, you may have been trying to treat the wrong issue. The answer you’ve been looking for might just be the liver.

In this article, I will cover:

An older man grabbing his right shoulder in pain  | Your Liver is Triggering Your Right-Sided Shoulder Blade Pain


The Liver as the Cause of Your Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is composed of a complex combination of bones and joints, where many muscles work together to provide a wide range of motion. In fact, the shoulder provides the widest range of motion of any part of the body. It can be incredibly frustrating when this range of motion is limited because of pain.

The scapula, which is more commonly known as the shoulder blade, is a flat triangular-shaped bone located in the upper back. In-between the scapula and the spine, you have a muscle called the rhomboid. If you have pain where your rhomboid muscle is, right above the rhomboid, or pain under the shoulder blade—chances are it may be because of the liver.

But how can the liver cause pain in your shoulder? Well, it has to do with something called referred pain. Referred pain is when the pain you’re feeling in one part of your body is actually being caused by another part of your body.

This referred pain could also be coming from the gallbladder. If the pain is worse right above the rhomboid, it could be because of the gallbladder or the bile duct. Learn how to increase bile production with proper nutrition, diet and intermittent fasting. When the gallbladder has stones or is congested, or the bile duct is blocked or irritated, this can irritate a nerve called the phrenic nerve. Your phrenic nerve runs up the side of your body and irritating it may cause right shoulder pain. If you have left shoulder blade pain, it may actually be because of the pancreas.

A side-by-side comparison of a healthy liver and an unhealthy liver with cirrhosis | Your Liver is Triggering Your Right-Sided Shoulder Blade Pain


What Could Cause a Liver Problem?

Now that we know that the right shoulder blade pain is likely coming from the liver, why is the liver causing this issue? Well, in my experience, these problems with the liver and problems with the gallbladder or bile duct, are typically related to digestion and food.

Let’s take a look at a couple of things that could cause a liver problem:

1. Inflammation of the Liver

  • With this situation, you probably ate something that caused some type of inflammatory response either in your liver or gallbladder.

2. Fatty Liver

  • A fatty liver can be caused by eating certain foods like refined carbohydrates and sugar. The liver gets fattier and fattier, and bigger and bigger until there just isn’t enough space for it and it causes pain. If you have a potbelly, this could be a tell-tale sign of a fatty liver.

Potential Causes of Inflammation of the Liver or a Fatty Liver:

  • Alcohol
  • High carb diets
  • Too much iron
  • Vegetable oils
  • Medications

A mixture of healthy cruciferous vegetables in a bowl sitting on a counter | Your Liver is Triggering Your Right-Sided Shoulder Blade Pain


What You Can Do for Shoulder Blade Pain

I personally had right-sided shoulder blade pain and right rhomboid pain for twelve years. I tried what felt like a million different treatments, and nothing worked. I even went to chiropractor college, hoping that I would get it fixed. I had absolutely no idea that the real problem was with my liver.

Finally, after I graduated from college, I eventually figured out what the problem really was and what to do about it. The solution was to fix my diet. Once I changed my diet, all of that pain just mysteriously went away.

In my opinion, the diet is by far the biggest factor in liver health. People consume so many different highly inflammatory foods that can irritate the liver and gallbladder, causing shoulder pain. If we compare our diets now to back in the 70s, we can see just how bad things have gotten.

Since the 70s, we have increased…

  • Grains by 29%
  • Corn by 300%
  • Vegetable oils by 300%

The healthy keto diet and intermittent fasting are probably two of the best things you can do to help support your liver and stop your right shoulder pain for good.

The liver can completely, 100% regenerate. All you need is 25% of your liver left to do that. However, it can take a few years of healthy eating and intermittent fasting to do that. The absolute best things you can eat for cleansing and repairing the liver are cruciferous vegetables.

Cruciferous vegetables can include:

  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Radishes

Cruciferous vegetables contain vital nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients have some very unique health-boosting properties. They help promote healthfulness and may help you avoid certain diseases. If you can’t get more cruciferous vegetables in your diet, you can try a cruciferous supplement.


Key Takeaways—Your Liver and Right-Sided Shoulder Blade Pain

Right-sided shoulder blade pain can really be referred pain from your liver, or in some cases, your gallbladder. The issue with the liver could go back to digestion and a poor diet. The right diet is crucial for a healthy liver. To help support the liver and promote a healthy liver and gallbladder, I believe the healthy keto diet combined with intermittent fasting is the best way to go. Cutting out foods like refined carbs and consuming more cruciferous vegetables helped me finally get rid of my shoulder blade pain, and I think it will help you too.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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