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Possible causes of shoulder/neck pain
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Possible causes of shoulder/neck pain

I'm 32 and I've been experiencing problems with my left shoulder - sharp pain, lots of clicks when I move it, tightness in the bicep and forearm, pain extending up into the left side of my neck, lots of clicks when I turn my head.  This is not constant and usually occurs if I move the wrong way and goes away if I move again.

I consulted an orthopedist who did some brief physical tests in his office (nothing conclusive), ordered x-rays (again nothing conclusive), and then ordered blood tests to rule out infection, lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.  All tests came back normal except for a slightly elevated uric acid (gout runs in my family).  There is an MRI scheduled for later in the month and he's put me on 500mg of Naproxen twice a day which has helped somewhat, but I actually get more relief from topical mentholated creams which unfortunately don't last very long.  In the last couple of days I'm starting to have more instances of pops and cracks at the base of my neck which are causing the symptoms to worsen.  It's all very disconcerting.

I'm assuming there are lots of potential reasons for this problem - tension usually gives me a stiff neck, I've had lots of sports injuries, I'm constantly hefting around my son, etc.  What concerns me is that I'm starting to have similar symptoms in my right shoulder.  I have no serious medical history (annual physical always includes a normal EKG, blood pressure, etc.) so I was wondering if there are any particular things I should be asking the doctor to look for or that I should be aware of before the MRI is done?
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Avatar_n_tn
Stiff neck with sharp pains down the arm could be a sign of cervical spine disease.MRI of the Cspine is a good start. Also  consider a neuro consult for a formal neurological exam and an EMG which can help see if there is any nerve irritation/damage that is causing the problem. GOod luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello, I was wondering what kind of MRI you are having? If it is only on your shoulder I would urge you to try to convince your doc to order one for your neck as well. I too had shoulder problems and an MRI of it showed that I had a torn rotator cuff. Repair of this didn't really help, actually they damaged a nerve during the procedure and I am far worse off now. I finally had an MRI of my neck after EMG studies showed C5 as a possible cause for the nerve problem. Sure enough I had herniated disks. So here I am after 2 shoulder surgeries, 1 neck surgery, and scheduled for another neck surgery in Oct. (the next level down). I can only imagine the pain and money I could have saved if I had known about the possibility of my neck as being the culprit to begin with. Maybe I would have needed the shoulder done as well, but who knows. I guess because we are young and without specific trauma they don't think to study the neck, I don't know. Anyway I wish you the best of luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am so glad to see someone else mention neck problems.  I did also had left shoulder pain which turned out to be my neck C-4,C-5.  Got my neck fixed the shoulder pain went away!  20 years later the fusion in my neck has failed and I am again having shoulder pain.  I do have a shoulder injury, but I am not going to address it until my neck problems are stabalized.

     Insist your doctor gets and MRI on your neck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I too suffer from shoulder and neck pain and after an MRI it was discovered that I had disc protrusions at three levels caused by a rear end motor vehicle accident a year earlier and that the shoulder pain was referred from the neck.

I agree with the prior post about insisting on the neck MRI although I would only think of surgery as a last resort.
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