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Intense pain in right shoulder/upper arm
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Intense pain in right shoulder/upper arm

I have been experiencing severe pain in my upper arm between the bicep and shoulder, around the back of my arm - for the last 2 weeks. When i move my arm slowly it is generally ok but moving it behind my back at all is incredibly painful. It feels like a knife stabbing me in the arm, one of the most painful feelings ive ever had. To touch, it feels bruised. With my arms by my side it doesnt hurt, up in a sling it doesnt hurt either. If i slowly edge the arm behind my back it feels a little niggly like something it crawling under my skin. The more i push it the more it starts to become sharp and painful. If i move it in a dramatic way at all it feels like something it ripping apart in my shoulder - unbelievably painful.

I play tennis once a week on sundays, the first time i noticed the pain was monday afternoon however i did not damage my arm at all, to my knowledge, at tennis the day before.

I have had an xray and ultrasound on the area and it is all clear. Ive also been prescribed anti-inflammatory tablets but they dont seem to be doing anything.

I had had back problems in the past, with an inflamed part of my lower right lumbar as well as general upper back pain and am thinking that it may be related in some way to my arm - possibly a nerve has been damaged.

Any advice would be appreciated. I plan to go back to my dr asap but would like a 2nd opinion nonetheless.

Regards,
Jesse

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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.

Is there swelling and redness at the painful body part?

Your symptoms can be due to either a nerve impingement, muscle injury, or both.

Nerve impingement can occur when the path of the nerve is compressed by inflamed muscles or dislocated bone/cartilage. Muscular injury, on the other hand, could be in the form of a tendon or ligament injury (sprain/strain) near the shoulder joint which is why certain movements present with severe pain. I would have to assume that the injury was secondary to your playing tennis the day before, because of the proximity of the event and the symptoms. Such an injury may not be visible on X-ray or ultrasound and would probably need an MRI.

I would suggest refraining from moving your arm in positions causing pain as this may aggravate the underlying condition, if present.

Hope this helps.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Dr,

Thank you so much for your reply.

There isn't any obvious swelling. I can see a little redness but not much at all.

Everything you say there makes a lot of sense. I feel that it isn't muscular as there is no pain at all when i tense my muscles, pushing on the area doesn't hurt much either it just feels sensitive and a little bruised.

Now that I think of it, I remember throwing a ball when playing tennis and felt a pain in my shoulder but it subsided within seconds, just felt like a small strain.

I will take your advice and speak with my dr about an MRI.

Thank you again for your reply.

Jesse
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Avatar_n_tn
One other thing Doctor.

What would be the treatment for this sort of injury? If it was to be a nerve impingement issue?

Are we talking about taking medication or more like treatment for a broken arm?

Cheers.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi again.

The treatment would actually depend on what is causing the impingement in the first place. If it was an inflamed muscle or tendon, the pain should resolve when the inflammation settles down with medication. If it is because of something more serious such as a dislocation, treating the dislocation would probably help in relieving the symptoms.

If the injury is just a sprain, rest, anti-inflammatory/analgesic drugs and immobilization would be all that is needed.

I do hope this answers your query.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks a lot Dr, that does help.

Much appreciated.

Jesse
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Avatar_n_tn
My Wife has the same symptoms. If it was a dislocation, would the pain go away? She tends to have these episodes in the evening, but by morning will go away.It seems to be a very intense pain, bringing her to tears, but massaging seems to help, so that would indicate maybe a muscle problem?
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