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Help for pain in shoulder
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Help for pain in shoulder

I am a 32 year old woman who has had pain in my left shoulder for the last three years.  It was tolerable up until about three months ago.  The pain is primarily in my shoulder area and radiates up the left side of my neck and down the left arm into my hand.  Sudden arm movement causes a sharp pain in the shoulder and arm, but at rest it is usually a dull aching pain.   My ring finger and pinky finger are tingly all the time and I have noticed that I have less strength in my left hand.  At times, the pain is not very severe, but when I stand for long periods of time or use my left arm for reaching or even writing on the chalkboard (I am a teacher), the pain becomes untolerable.  The only relief I have found is to put pressure on my shoulder with my other hand or prop my arm up on something like a pillow as I sit and rest.  About two years ago I had a nerve conduction test on my left hand which revealed a moderate case of CTS.  Could this be associated with the pain I experience in my arm,shoulder and neck?  Within the last several weeks, I also have noticed pain in my right shoulder,neck and arm but not as severe as in my left and without the tingling in my right hand.  I am wondering if I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder or neck.  I have been to my family doctor and he took multiple x-rays of both shoulders, but the tests came back normal.  Would an x-ray show a pinched nerve in my shoulders? He has recomended that I see an orthopedic doctor and have PT.  I am afraid to have any kind of PT because I know that over use of my arms will lead to severe pain within a few hours after doing so and I will feel the effects well into the night. I am also wondering if  I should see an Orthopedic doctor or a Neurologist?  Any info would be greatly appreciated.


This discussion is related to Shoulder Pain, Tingly Arm, Pinched Nerve?.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm just giving an opinion but it sounds like a torn rotator cuff.  I would see a shoulder specialist because a torn rotator cuff can cause numbness pain down the arm and pain in the neck.  Does it also hurt to lift your arms straight up in front of you?  A MRI can detect a torn rotator cuff and pinched nerves if you have them.  Anyways that would be my first step. Hopefully this is helpful-I had that same problem
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Avatar_f_tn
No an xray will not show a pinch nerve.  My thought were you also had a pinched nerve possibly in your neck or shoulder area and is causing your numbness in your hand.
I also have a numb pinky and ring finger on my right hand.  I believe mine is due to a pinch nerve in my elbow.  Try to locate some pysical therepy excercises for you neck and shoulder and see if that helps.  That may be all that is needed to reduce the swelling and pressure on the nerve.  

That is just my opinion, Keep me posted because I know how annoying having the numb fingers can be.  I'm just glad I dont have pain associated with mine.

Take care
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Avatar_n_tn
Dolphind,
If I lift my left arm above waist level, yes there is quite a lot of pain.  I can raise my right arm pretty much staight up with limited discomfort.  I do have to raise both arms slowly though or they tend to "lock up", esp. my left arm.

Thank you for your input Dolphind and Lorigood.  I will make an appt. to see an orthopedic doctor.

Victoria_marie
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, Sorry to hear about your pain...I am going through the excact same thing,right down to to the neck pain...You gave the same symtoms (symptoms)...I have pain since Nov. of last year...Last nov. I went to the ER for headaches...They used an auto blood pressure cup...The cup went hay wire and squeezed my arm so tight that I felt something go down my arm through my viens,,,I told them what happened ...They looked at me as though I was nuts...Ever since then I have had this pain...My arm and shoulder hurts so bad sometimes I cannot bare it. Now my doctor doen't care to see me anymore as they are affilated with the same  hospital where I was injured...I have not seen a lawyer or anything...I know how you feel about using your arm...I went tuesday for a mamogram (mammogram), thought I might have cancer ,won't know the results until a couple weeks...I sure paid the priced that night...The pain is overwhelming ...I hope you can find help soon...Let me know...I wish you well...God Bless auntb41164
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Victoria,

Sorry to hear you are going through such pain. Have you considered seeing a Chiropractor? or Massage Therapist? Or Both?

You could try the less evasive approaches and see what happens!

Good luck and I hope this helps.
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Avatar_f_tn
Your welcome.  I had a torn rotator cuff and had to have the surgery so I know what your feeling.  I had many of your symtoms (symptoms) and sometimes it can mimmick a neck problem because the pain radiates. I actually thought it was my neck.  There is so much with the shoulders.  You also may possibly have a pinched nerve going on too. I saw a chiroprator and ended up with an entrapped nerve- so I would get the MRI first and then decide your treatment as far as PT, chiropractor because nobody will really know what it is until you get the test done.  Once again I'm no expert.  I'm sorry I didn't tell you good luck before and keep us posted!
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Avatar_f_tn
HI there Victoria, I hope you are doing better. Please read on the forum the answer Dr. Paul
gave me...auntb41164 about the blood pressure cup.Did you hurt your arm in any way lately?
PLease read the other post question ,that I sent...Please keep in touch as to encourage each other...Love Brenda
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Avatar_n_tn
Also adhesive caps or bursitis may cause your pain treatable by injections directly to your shoulder. an orthopedic dr would be my suggestion.
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Avatar_n_tn
X rays the cheapest way to go on a disk problem have them check for narrowing. An MRI not out of the question. Dont want to scare you, but many factors in your case, can mean a few different things. see an ortho asap
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you all so much for your encouragement and input.  As an up-date, I have been taking a muscle relaxer called, Skelaxin that my doctor prescribed to me.  It seems to help when the pain is severe.  I was given a bunch of samples but it is pretty expensive so I will need to take another med. when I run out of my samples.  Otherwise, I have been trying not to use my arms too much.  I am off work for the summer and hope I can get this resolved before the fall.
I have not made an appt. to see a specialist yet.  I have been doing some online research on doctors in the area.  I will see one soon.  Well thank you again!
Take care to all,
Victoria
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447057_tn?1205263423
You have described my symptoms exactly.  I'm a triathlete training for an upcoming race, so I put up with the pain much too long.  Finally, I saw an Orthopedic Doctor who had an xray and two sets of MRI's which showed nothing out of the ordinary.  He gave me three cortizone shots over the course of a couple of weeks and had a radiologist inject cortizone directly into the bursa sac.  None of this helped in the slightest.  I had 3 weeks of physical therapy which, of course, didn't help.  The massage felt good but didn't provide any lasting benefit since the strengthening of the muscles in my shoulder just wasn't necessary for a swimmer!
Oddly enough, working out doesn't aggrevate it that much.  Biking has me in an awkward position for a long period of time but swimming doesn't hurt at all.  Sitting at my desk (which I've adjusted to be completely ergonomic!) causes me a days worth of extreme pain.  I feel like all I can think about is the pain and I have narcolepsy, so I have avoided muscle relaxers and anything above 800mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day.  
I have an appointment next Thursday to see a Neurologist.  Unfortunately, it is three days before an Olympic distance triathlong, so I hope they don't tell me not to complete.  I wouldn't be able to get my wetsuit deposit back at that point!
The other thing that my doc mentioned was a scope of the bursa (they believe this is bursitis).  This is a procedure he has only read about and would have to investigate if someone nearby (such as Vanderbilt...I'm in Nashville are) has actually done before...he has not.  They would use a scope to go in there and 'clean the bursa out'.  As pleasant as that sounds, I'm about ready to chop the hole d&*#n thing off at this point, so I'm getting pretty open to whatever.  
If you get any other news, please post it here...I will do the same.  

Good luck and God Bless!

-Laura
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1093617_tn?1279305602
Hi, Thank you for your question. I think your symptoms may be due to nerve irritation in the cervical (neck) spine because of cervical disc bulge or stenosis. This pain may be referred and perceived as occurring in the back of head & shoulders (as electric sensation)- LHERMITTES SIGN, arms or chest, rather than just the neck. Other symptoms may include vertigo, nausea (dizziness) and stiffness. It will be best that you consult a neurologist who would like to prescribe Pain killers, steroid and muscle relaxants. Other treatments could be cervical orthosis such as a soft cervical collar or stiffer neck brace to restrict neck movement till you get complete recovery. In addition, cervical traction may also be suggested by the doctor, if condition is severe. Hope this helps.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm 26 years old I have been having left shoulder pain I wake up at night and my head will be numb I have tingling in my head as well I have been having dizzy spells could this be associated with a pinched nerve
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Avatar_f_tn
Reading these posts, I can relate to the pain you are suffering with.  I am from Saskatchewan Canada and have been referred to a neurologist in a larger city by my family doctor.  However I was told today it may be a six week wait just to see the doctor and then a six month wait to get an MRI.  My pain started in the right shoulder and changes from one day to the next.  Today it is the neck area and it is awful, totally at its worst!  Other days my wrists are unbearably burning in pain especially when I type.  Unfortunately my job as a legal secretary is coming to an end I can tell.  I have been off work for two weeks in pain and just when I think maybe I'll wake up in the morning and feel like going in to work the pain is back with a vengeance.  The doctors I have seen have not been helpful at all nor has the chiropractor or the massage therapist.  A friend of mine who is studying to become a massage therapist shed some light on my pain tonight and has led me to these sites.  I'm becoming convinced I am dealing with brachial plexopathy but then after reading the post about the torn rotator cuff, that is what I was concerned about when the pain first began because I dealt with rotator cuff pain years ago in my left shoulder.  I had already read about 'frozen shoulder' years ago and so when I began experiencing the numbness and pain in the right shoulder/arm I figured I'd better see a doctor.  It's a strange feeling all of a sudden having little feeling in your arm.  I am frustrated about the wait to see a medical professional.  The heath care in Canada is obviously not cracked up to what people in other countries think it is.  I guess if you are a healthy person and only need a doctor for minor things like strep throat or pink eye then sure it's great to know you get the care you need for free but me, I am considering finding out the cost of travelling to minot north dakota and seeing a doctor down there and getting an MRI done myself because if I have to wait six months to get a real diagnosis I will kill myself.  And the doctors here tell you not to read what we do online.  Well honestly I would know nothing if not for the internet right now.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey, Victoria. I see you had pain  a few months ago and were trying to seek a help. I've got exactly the same pain as you described. The awful excrutiating numbing  dull pain wakes me at night...It started from my left shoulder and now like a spider web spreading to my neck,down to my arm...Anyway, it has been over 5-6 months... did you find any solution? DO YOU STILL HAVE THAT PAIN? Will be nice to hear feed back...I take all kinds of pain killers... but not much use...Please, if you had success story... share with us..I'm sure everyone of us will appreciate it...Thanks...I hope you feeling better....Good luck!
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omg Gypsy_bug79, after countless months of days researching my pain I finally found someone with the same pain complaints/symptoms as myself (YOU).... I've come across many others with similar pains and problems but never anyone that experiences them the most while sitting! I too am very active but my job is non-physical and I very seldom experience that non-stop burning agonizing pain in what use to be just my left shoulder arm down to my elbow area and  neck at the C6 area (now its both left and right sides) when doing anything but sitting. I can be up cleaning, moving furniture even at times with no pain in those areas, but as soon as I sit for 10 minutes or more the pain starts and the longer i sit the more it radiates to the other areas. I've seen chronic pain mgmt specialists and went through a full time program 7 hours a day monday to friday for 8 weeks and continued with those doctors after the program ended for few years to receive numerous injections over the years, high dose opiate based drugs (oxycotin, oxycodone, methadone, and even percocet for break thru pain) , nerve drugs, muscle relaxers, anti depressants even, and xanax, spinal adjustments every 3 weeks, etc. etc.etc. Any relief I'd receive would be temporary.... So I started seeing different types of doctors for other opinions. I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia then they changed it to myofascial pain syndrome ( which i never believed because the pain is definitely caused by pinched nerves, not muscle aches), and after so many times of them changing diagnosis i basically gave up... Now i started seeing a chiropractor and this type of treatment was not new to me because pain specialists also use spinal adjustments and manipulations for treatment. Anyway, he showed me on x-rays I have absolutely no curvature in my neck as there should be, and there's very little space between C1 and C2 as well as at C6 and therefore different nerves are being compressed and causing all of this non stop pain when I sit, as well as the numerous migraines i have every week (usually 3-4 a week on avg.). So he's been treating me with adjustments, short massage immediately after the adjustment then they lay professional wet heat pads ontop of me over a tens unit for 20-30 minutes and I've been receiving this treatment for a few months now with 3 treatments a week first 6 weeks and then went down to twice a week and still currently at twice a week. And to be honest, I'm now so discouraged and ready to give up because I have no relief when i sit, it's still agonizing and i get so tired of constantly having to be up moving around or laying down to experience any relief. And even laying down at times I'll start to get a flare up after so much time of laying down. I would love to hear if your problems have been resolved/healed since your post on this site and if so please I beg of u to share what treatment promoted your relief/healing state. And if anyone else on this site reads this post and has any beneficial information then I'd greatly appreciate a post from you too! The big problem with me suffering from pain when i sit is that my profession (Computer I.T. field) requires me to sit on average 7 hours a day and sometimes as much as 10 hours a day. I can't even watch tv sitting up without being in pain and I'm fed up with polluting my body  with drugs just to mask the pain or take the edge off rather than fixing the cause of the pain... May God bless all who deal with pain so often and bless you with strength to carry on. Because I know personally it is very difficult coping... Take Care, **
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