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Re: Pinched nerve or Rotator cuff injury

Posted By CCF MD GS on March 03, 1999 at 10:57:40:

In Reply to: Pinched nerve or Rotator cuff injury posted by Beverly Hanson on March 02, 1999 at 12:47:14:

I am sure my husband has a rotator cuff injury. He has pain in his right shoulder and is tender between his shoulder blades. Five years ago he injured his shoulder on a weight machine while in the army. The pain went away in his shoulder but he started getting "neck headaches".  The muscle tightens up and he can hardly turn his head to the right. He gets these headaches several times a month. Usually after heavy work activity. He did not have these headaches until after he injured his shoulder.  I just wanted to know if the headaches and the injury could be related? The General Physcians we've been to said they were from stress and never looked for another reason. The headaches are accurring more often and the weakness in his right shoulder is more pronounced.  What type of Doctor do you recommend? Because I  am tired of Physcians who treat a sympton and not the problem.
Thank you for your time and any information you can give me.
Beverly Hanson

Thanks for the question. As you know the rotator cuff is composed of four different muscles and a good physical exam looking at the function of these muscles can help with the diagnosis. An MRI scan on the shoulder is a nonivassive way of also looking at the rotator cuff. It is possible that if his shoulder is strained or injured that he could have trapezius pain that could produce what we term muscle tension headaches. As you have guessed pinched nerves in the neck can also cause weakness around the shoulder but should not be the cause of the headache in most cases. The weakness in the shoulder may also be pain related. It sounds most reasonable that if he is having weakness that this should be evaluated further. He could be seen by either a neurologist or an orthopedist initially. If you wish a referral to CCF call 216 444 5559. Good luck.
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only. Please consult your doctor regarding diagnostic and treatment options.

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