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Severe chronic shoulder pain
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Severe chronic shoulder pain

location: right shoulder lower right side of neck
time period 7 years 5 doctors, pt trainer,chiropractor
tests performed: blood; urine; xray MRI; tested for extra rib(wierd but whatever)
treatments ive tried: physical therapy 16weeks; accupuncture 6 weeks(10 treatments)chiropractor 10 weeks(25 visits)
water arobics 4 months(weekly)antidepresents(4 diff types)3 months each;anitinflamatories(tried for 6weeks)naproxine(gave it 4 months)800mg motrine(gave it 3 months)Lyrica(12months)darvacet(have been on for 3 weeks now)
pain severe even at rest some days i cant use it
all tests say nothings wrong
no treatment so far has helped let alone controlled the pain,it's not all in my head i'm usually a tough cookie
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17 Comments Post a Comment
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535089_tn?1400677119
Shoulder injuries are very hard to overcome. It can take months or even years to heal properly. Physical Therapy is a must in trying to correct shoulder pain and sometimes if you've waited too long for therapy, it won't be effective.

I feel that your best option would be to see an Orthopedic Surgeon and have them re-evaluate your shoulder. Sometimes they see things that other Doctors don't. They have a trained eye for problems.

Take care and good luck.
Mollyrae
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547368_tn?1332173665
Hello Holmes,

Welcome to the Pain Mangement Forum. I am sorry to hear about your long battle with undiagnosed chronic pain. We can relate.

I know you listed an MRI but what did they look at and how long ago was that? Did they use contrast to obtain the best picture? Have you had an MRI or any imaging of your cervical spine? Sometimes pain can be referred, meaning felt in one area but coming from another.

I suggest you seek another opinion. Consult another physician, maybe an Ortho Surgeon as Molly suggested, or a Rheumatologist. It's been a long haul for you and can become very frustrating but don't give up.

Darvocet is one of the weakest pain relievers there are. Studies claim that Ibuprofen is more therapeutic and a better pain reliever. You may want to discuss that with your physician. You deserve to be comfortable.

Please let us know how you are doing....and again don't give up.

Take Care,
~Tuck~

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Avatar_f_tn
The MRI was 6wks ago with contrast. I've also had complete lumbar xrays which came back better than normal as they expected to see some degree of subluxation when condidering my age, daily job duties and the physical aspects of my lifestyle(that part has dramatically changed with the worsening of the pain). other test consisted of checking nerve responses, all coming back normal. Are there any other test that may be able to give a diagnoses? Ive tried the ibuprofin,acemetifin, antidepressents,PT,chiropractors, accupuncture,mind over matter techniques,massage therapy and now darveset. The only thing that made enough of a difference for me to feel is the darvaset, but as i said only enough to tell that i took it, not enough to say it caused any degree of actual releif. I am now on my 5th doctor and as always going into with confidence as i know mind set plays a major role on the outcome of your treatments.She wants to try steroid injections. This is only an anti inflamatory and will relieve pain IF that is what is causing it, but wouldnt the oral anti infamatories i've tryed made some kind of improvement? should i agree to the injections without any kind of diagnosis being made that would indicate inflamation (inflammation) to be the cause and with past treatments of anti inflamatories failing?
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547368_tn?1332173665
Thank you for the additional information. I am very sorry that your pain has not been successfully treated.

I would agree to the injections. Physicians like to know that you are compliant and willing to try their suggestions. I would suspect that you have so have some degree of inflammation.

Inflammation occurs when an area is irritated or inured. The tissues become swollen in part by fluids (WBC and so forth) sent to area of injury or pain by the body to "heal" it. This inflammation often makes the area tender and painful, that is inflammation. Sometimes, actually often the pain will ease just by reducing the inflammation.

Oral steroids can be effective but often a direct injection into the site of the inflammation is more successful at reducing the inflammation than oral steroids.  

I suggest that you follow your physicians recommendations. If the injections are not successful than hopefully she will go on to additional treatments. She may also prescribe you a stronger pain medication if indicated. At 28 physicians are not as likely to begin you on opiates as they are at 58. It stands to reason that you have many years ahead of you. If your pain will be a long term condition most physicians will wait till everything has been tried before the prescribe an opiate.

Again I wish you the best and hope that you will continue to keep posting.

Take Care,
~Tuck~
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm definatley open to anything that will work that will prevent me from taking strong opiods. I think my age has a bit to do with my current inpatience with the lack of pain control vs all the methods that i have tried and all the test coming back normal. I think 7 years feels like a much longer time to a 28 yr old vs a 58 year old. Now that my children are getting to the age that they see my pain and see that it prevents me from doing everyday things that 28 yr old mothers are supposed to be able to do they are showing signs of sympathy and feeling like they need to take care of mommy and that crushes me. I also have FMS which does not help, but i feel if i can get the intense pain under control that i can deal with the less severe pain of FMS much better. I dont ever expect it to go away entirely, but a break, even if for just a couple hours here and there would make a world of a difference. I dont know alot about opiates and their long term affects on the body, but at this point as long as i am able to play with my kids and give them the memories that every child should have growing up i really dont care about the effects i will have to deal with once they are grown up and taking care of their own families. I just dont want them to be filled with memories of taking care of thier mom and being restricted from doing all the great things that children are supposed to do. Not to dump a emotional load, but growing up taking care of an alchoholic mother until i was taken as a ward of the state and not having any of those memories of childhood that i hear people talk about all the time really *****. The only thing that got me throu my childhood is knowing that one day i will have kids of my own and i'll be able to do all that fun kid stuff then with them. I dont want that to happen with my boys, rather it's because of the pain or the drugs that control the pain. Due to the effects that i ve seen illegal drugs,alchohol and  perscripion meds bought on the black market for rereational use have not only on a person but on their family i am scared of them. And I know due to my parents and being in the atmosphere of their lifestyle as a child i am at a much higher risk of being an addict or abuser my self. I know i will not become an alcholic because i do not drink, i will not become addicted to meth or crack because i will never try it,even once. I cant be 100% sure on the perscription narcotics, unless i dont take them. I guess im having a hard time weighing the cost vs benefits and knowing what the right choice is in the best interests of my kids.
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547368_tn?1332173665
Let me assure you that seven years is a long time at any age. Pain is pain rather you are 28, 48 or 68.

You are correct that ppl with family histories of an addiction are at a higher risk of addiction themselves. However the numbers are very small in Chronic pain patients. If my memory serves me correctly less than 4% of Chronic Pain patients become addicts. It goes without saying that we all become dependant on narcotic after long term usage which is much different than addiction.

I understand your need for pain management. I too beleive that you deserve to be more comfortable. Your children deserves good memories...but just knowing their mother loves them and did the best she could is a great memory.

Life is too short to live it with uncontrolled or untreated pain. I wish you the very best.

~Tuck~  
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Avatar_f_tn
thanks tuck, never really accured to me that memory was the one I was actually missing out on the most. I've always kinda looked at all the other stuff when considering the things i dont want my kids to miss out on because of me. Kinda funny how a simple comment from a stranger can really make you reconsider how you look at something so important. My apologies to everyone reading on my comment about 7 years seeming longer to a younger person. Embarassingly, that was a truely ignorant and insensitive statement that was not thought thru very well.

Thanks to everyone on this forum, I think just reading other people's posts has helped in the aspect of feeling like no one else understands. Not knowing anyone else personally that deals with chronic pain that knows what it is like has made the mental battle a little harder than i thought it did. Knowing that i'm not alone in the fight against pain and that there are others out there has helped just as much if not more than the valueable information and insite that i have gotten here. Thanks again!
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547368_tn?1332173665
You were not meaning to be insensitive. It can be difficult to look at the big picture when your life is riddled with pain.

I felt the same when I came to this forum. I too did not know anyone personally that is my age that sufferers with chronic pain. I have learned so much here. I no longer feel alone or isolated. You all have become my friends in pain.  

I always knew that others had it as bad or worse than I but it brings a whole different meaning when you are able to chat with those individuals.

I encourage you to stay with us and become active in our community. The support and understanding here is wonderful.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had shoulder pain for 10 years. finally could not take it anymore and demanded an xray of the shoulder. not one doc ever had done an xray. I was always told bursitis, tendonistis, etc... then when I finally demaded xray doc found white spots all over my xray and wanted to do injections. I took xrays to ortho surgeron and was scheduled for surgery within 5 minutes and have been pain free in my shouldr ever since. I had 13 loose bodies floating around in my shoulder joint and no amount of medication, pt, or anything would have fixed that. I am so mad at myself for not persisting early on. I just dealt with the pain. Many sleepless nights. but I was young and didn't know that the doc works for me. anyway if your xray was not of the actual shoulder joint you may want to ask for that. it may show loose bodies. good luck I know how you feel.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have an opointment in a couple days with an ortho surgion, I'm hopefull that he will find the problem and I can finally get some answers. I'll make sure to post the updates so maybe someone else can find it useful. Thanks guys!
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547368_tn?1332173665
Thanks for the update Holmes.

I hope the new Ortho Surgeon can find a good solution for you. We'll be watching for your next post.

Hang in and be good to yourself.

Best of Luck,
~Tuck
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Avatar_f_tn
well, i just got back from the orthopedic surgion. He read my MRI scan and agreed it looked fine. He took x-rays of my shoulder and said that looked fine too. I have a MRI for my neck and a upper body bone scan scheduled for next week. He said if that came back negative there was nothing else he could do for me except refer me to the next specialist. It seems the only thing i am accomplishing is DEBT. I dont get it. If pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong, why is it so hard to find it? I've had no serious injury, the only medical conditions i have that causes discomfort is FMS and Hypothyrodism but that doest explain the chronic intense pain, just the chronic aches. I dont know, maybe it is in my head, guess i better get that looked at next.
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547368_tn?1332173665
I hear your discouragement. Many of us have been there. Keep searching. "Tests" don't always reveal problems but that doesn't mean there isn't one. Our imaging has come a long way but it is still not 100%.

And there are other conditions that can cause pain that cannot be seen on imaging. So don't be discouraged. I know it's tough but keep searching. Someone will have the answers for you.

My diagnosis was finally made by a Doctor of Osteopathy after years of searching, being labeled and told there was nothing wrong with me. I too began to beleive it was "all in my head." Unfortunately with the help of the medical profession I convinced myself there was nothing really wrong with me. I quit looking for a diagnosis. I struggled and suffered needlessly. Now I am beyond treatment options.

Had my condition been found and treated when it began I may very well not be diabled today. Don't let this happen to you.

~Tuck
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Avatar_f_tn
If the tests come back inconclusive I will be asking my Dr. to refer me to an Osteopathic specialist. I'm wondering if I should just do that right now anyway. I think that what makes it a bit hard too, is that the doctors I’ve been to won’t put me on anything that will manage the pain because there has been no diagnosis. I was finally put on darvocet and Motrin about 3 or 4 weeks ago, but I can’t even tell I’m taking anything. I understand that they do get patience just looking for drugs, but I don’t know how else to convince them I’m not one of those people. I've been telling Dr. after Dr. It’s not in my head, and it's not depression, but soon I may not be able to honestly say that.

You guys reallly do help people to keep pushing on and not give up, I cant express how much that is appreciated. I think i have recieved more help here than with any dr I've been to yet. If only i can find one out there that has the same understanding.
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Avatar_f_tn
well, the bone scan is in...I have a spot on the right side of my shoulder blade. And of coarse thats all that they could tell me at the time until they schedule me an appointment with my new specialist who is on vacaion for the next 2 weeks. What does it mean that i have a dark spot? its the size of a pencil eraser, thats all i know for now. But on a high note, it seems the longer i am on the new thyroid meds the less widespread chronic pain issues i am having, its still not under sontrol yet but this is the first time i have actually noticed a difference. I can even go outside when its cool out with out being wrapped up. My doctor was even finally wiling to put me on a pain medication. Ive only taken two doses so far but it does make some of the burning pain go away in the shoulder areas and helps even more with the widespread pain. I think we might be on to something, if not a daignosis at least a control method.
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547368_tn?1332173665
Again I appreciate the update.

A "spot" on the bone scan could have several explanations and I would hate to guess at any of them. Obviously your best source will be your physician. When you see the specialist ask lots of questions.

I am glad to hear that your pain has at least lessened through the medications. We are always grateful for that. Sometimes a physician has to "see" the pain before they will prescribe a narcotic. That may have been the contributing factor in your instance.  

I have a rather large "spot" that with contrast and per one orthopedic surgeon "lights up like a Christmas Tree" near the back of my upper hip/lower back area. No on has been able to explain this "tree lighting" effect but it is painful and I have had it for 15 years. So medical science can't explain everything.

I hope you will soon have better answers and that your pain will continue to be better controlled. Please let us know what the specialist concludes.

Best of Luck,
~Tuck  
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Avatar_m_tn
I've read all this and its great feedback! I was a underground miner for 11 years always doing the leader role.I was dignosed with carpal tunnel 5 years ago,had bitateral carpal tuneel surgery,still have pain in wrists,i have severepain from wrists to elbowsto shoulders to back of the neck.symptoms are feeling of severe burning pain in my shoulders,funy bone shooting pain in hte elbows,and weak wrists and hands feeling like both wrists dislocated.The pain I struggle with is unbearrable.I get percs for pain,toradol for infalmation,baclofen for relaxing whatever,ziplocone for sleep cause its not possible to rest properly,cortizone shots provide some releif but doesnt take care of all pain.lorazapam for anxiety but not taking regularly.Pain is not in my head either but stress is tough to deal with when pain is there all the time.32 years old and it seems l die from takings all these meds that aren't helping me to be pain free.If have to find something out there to be pain free for 1 day I'd do it but how can go to such extreme when all these meds aren't helping.Why sould I have to take something I don't want when the meds that have been provided for 5 years now aren't cutting it.I need and want to be pain freeand want to do things with my family also.Why make someone  take so many meds that aren't good for vou either way.I'm not an addict either or a drinker.I want to live but pain is so severe to were you'll probably overdose on over the counter meds>this drives me in sane.I was sane before I had pain.I don't have an addiction.If I do show signs its cause I want to feel pain free not have someone say what it is when they have to refer you everytime for every problem and come up with nothing.bonescan,mri,xrays,not accurate.Pain is so bad you want to drive nails through your skin...When pain meds work are taken in high doses...Honestly....This is a serous problem.I feel great when the pain meds are taken in high doses  I want to dance with my kids and wife but when it doesnt ITS GETS TOUGHER !!!  

Trotts
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