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Dull pain in left shoulder, front of chest and down arm for SIX months!...
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Dull pain in left shoulder, front of chest and down arm for SIX months! Please HELP!

I'm at my wit's end!  Please help before I go bonkers.

25-year-old male, caucasian, 5'11, 170, non-smoker, very occasional drinker, relatively healthy diet.

It all started with mysterious chest pain last November for which I had numerous tests to rule out heart problems:  four EMGs, an Echocardiogram and Exercise Stress Test.  I passed all tests with flying colors.

Chest pain continued for quite some time but eventually settled down after a few months or so, with only periods of reemergence here and there.

Now for the past four (maybe five) months I have had this almost constant dull pain and cramping in my left shoulder which radiates into my chest at times (left side only) and also down my left arm.  Both shoulders are also very tight as is my neck.

Every now and then I also have burning and pins and needles in my hands/wrists and even thought it might be CTS, but it's too sporadic and quite honestly I think it's due to whatever is going on in my shoulder/chest/arm.

I recently tried acupuncture and while it definitely relieved me of some of the heaviness in my neck and shoulders, the dull pain and cramping is still present and as bad as ever.

I have periods of remission from time to time (usually for four hours at the most), but never an entire day.

I had an x-ray of my neck and that was fine.

I have yet to have a MRI or EMG because 1) the cost and 2) I am unsure of which to get.  Do either of these sound like the best next step?

I have tried many forms of pain relief, stretches and medication but continue to strike out.  I also take vitamins.

Things are so bad/annoying that I recently even ordered Nopalea in hopes of it working some sort of miracle, but after 10 days have yet to see any changes.

If I don't get a diagnosis and start treatment soon am I looking at any sort of long term damage?  I am still so young; I want a healthy future ahead of me.

PLEASE HELP!  I know I have listed a LOT of different problems/symptoms, but I am in dire need of your assistance.  If you know of anything I can/should do, I beg you to spare some of your time.

Thank you.
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8 Comments Post a Comment
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655875_tn?1295698707
The EMG nerve test is not a very accurate test at all.  Your best bet would be the MRI in my opinion.  Maybe you need your neck and thoratic spine.  I'm assuming you have horrible or no insurance with what you have posted.  The xray will not show much at all in your neck.  

If this continues, you may want to seek care with a good pain management specialist to help control the pain.

I wish you the best of luck and let us know what happens.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry, just to clarify:

When I said I had four EMGs to rule out heart problems, I meant ECGs.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your reply, RunningMom.

Can anyone else confirm that an EMG isn't very accurate?  I was thinking that would be my best course of action at this point.  I was actually told elsewhere that MRIs can be inaccurate in detecting nerve pain.

I'm not sure what to think/do.  Any additional thoughts/opinions/advice would be much appreciated.  I'm in pain even as I type this.
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1301089_tn?1290670171
Hi Nyahk:  This sounds awful!  You are much too young to be going through this.  Now, keep in mind I'm not a doctor but if you're sure it's not cardiac related,  another possibility is cervical neck problems.    Or some type of nerve impingement in your shoulder area.

You could go to your primary care physician to get on the road to a diagnosis.  Or you might try an orthopedic surgeon or neurologist.  As for the pain, you could get a referral to a pain management specialist.  Mine does want a diagnosis before you start treatment but will at times treat pain that the source hasn't been confirmed.  You'd need to talk to the doctor about that.

Good luck.  Please check back.  I'm sure that someone will have much better advice than I have given you.  Good luck and please keep us updated on how you're doing.
Sara

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Avatar_m_tn
Yes, I also feel too young to be going through this.  Based on my basic information and the tests doctors give me I am extremely healthy... and yet I feel horrible just about every day.

I got a cervical spine MRI yesterday and they didn't find any abnormalities.  So now I'm out a lot of money and am no closer to finding an answer.

I have talked to orthopedic doctors and a neurologist in the past but they didn't seem to think much of it.  I wish they could live in my body for a week and then tell me I'm fine. -_-  The orthopedic doctor is the one who took the x-ray and checked my range of motion/etc.  The neurologist tried steroids for a bit, but that didn't help, either.

A pain management specialist may be my only other option at this point, but I would rather figure out the cause of my pain as opposed to masking it with pills.

This is so tiring/frustrating.  Each day I pray for an answer.

Thank you.
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Avatar_m_tn
Still suffering and hoping for some additional guidance.

Thank you.
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1322157_tn?1279660281
I am curious - You said in your post from the morning of the 2nd, that you had an MRI on the 1st and were told there were no abnormalites - Usually it takes 24-48 hours for the radiologist to even send the report to the Dr...

Did your doctor call you with the results or did you go in? Were you able to get a copy of the report?

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1301089_tn?1290670171
I am sorry you're still in pain.  My best suggestion to you is after you get the Radiologist's report on your MRI, ask your doctor for a referral to a Pain Management Physician.  

After years of being told that my hand pain was due to my neck, shoulder or elbow, my PMP figured out on my first visit that I had bone spurs.  One quick xray and problem solved.  My MRI's did show nerve problems in all the other areas but nothing that had been done previously helped.  My PMP got my hands going again.

Point of this story, sometimes it takes fresh eyes.  And the PMP can at least ease your pain so you can function again.  

So good luck and keep us updated!
Sara
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