Let's Diagnose My Shoulder Pain!

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by StarPattern, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. StarPattern

    StarPattern Senior Member

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    My physio was in the town I used to live in, but now I live an hour away and am trying to find something closer. Fortunately, the doctor I'm seeing is all for the less traditional methods. He just wanted to note that, if I hadn't noticed any improvement in X amount of weeks, it was unlikely that I would and he recommended trying something else. Just the other day, he asked if I'd ever heard of wet cupping and if it was something I would like to try, he could get me a couple contacts of people he recommended. He also told me that it was something that worked on some people, but may not work on others... but if it was something I'd like to try, he could help me get it all set up. But he's the type that wants to get to the bottom of the source first through as many blood tests and whatnot first. Holistic treatments would help the symptoms, he said, but we couldn't fix the problem until we knew what exactly we were dealing with.
     
  2. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    I am surprised nobody has ordered an MRI. My shoulder/neck/bicep pain was diagnosed and a treatment developed after an MRI. I have a torn rotator cuff with inflammation to some nerve sheaths that cause the pain in my bicep and neck. I have been pretty successful with PT but, I'm not going to lie, it is brutal. I went 3 times per week for 6 weeks and have continued the exercises at home since I saw steady improvement in pain levels and range of motion.I have about 20 different exercises that I rotate through daily, 6 days a week. I gave myself Sunday off! lol
    MRIs are the optimal tool for soft tissue injury diagnosis these days and when 1 x-ray did not reveal any injury, an MRI was ordered right away. I am mad at myself for dealing with the pain and limitations for over a year before going to the Dr.!
    I hope you get a good diagnosis and treatment soon.
     
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  3. StarPattern

    StarPattern Senior Member

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    I actually think the MRI is the next step, but the wait times for those can be up to 6 months in my city. It's quicker to get in for an ultrasound, so they're sending me for that first in the hopes it shows something. If not, I'll continue pain management while I wait for the MRI. :)
     
  4. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    It sounds like neck to me. I had chronic shoulder pain for years. I tried chiro, massage, PT, went to an orthopedic surgeon. The pain in my shoulders was awful and it radiated down my arms and made my fingertips numb. It was worse on one side than the other. Some things helped over the short term but nothing resolved it or made it stay better.

    Eventually, a doctor ordered an MRI which revealed a herniated disc in my neck at C4/C5. The pressure on the nerves caused the pain and numbness through my shoulders and down my arms. I had a cervical fusion performed in 2004 (that's where they take a chunk of bone out of your leg and bung it in where the damaged disc was. Then they fuse the two vertabra together and bingo) and I've been fine ever since.

    The recovery took about 8 months before I was 100%. I lost a little mobility in my neck but I had lost more mobility from pain. I ski, ride horses, go on roller coasters, do anything I ever did. I'm very glad I had it.

    That may not be your issue but I do know that very often shoulder pain stems from the neck.
     
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  5. StarPattern

    StarPattern Senior Member

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    @bellalou ... that sounds absolutely terrifying to me!
     
  6. Bakkir

    Bakkir Senior Member

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    When I tore a muscle in my back I had severe pain in my elbow.

    Sounds like nerve pain to me. I would try therapeuic massge.
     
  7. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    It's impossible to know without an in person exam, but some things came to mind that haven't been looked at. Firstly, again not seeing you in person, I have to wonder what your PT did in order to come to that and only that conclusion. A ruptured bicep is pretty easy to diagnose, yet does not match your symptoms and would have been picked up pretty immediately by any physician. As far as chiro goes, I guarantee just about every one of us would have irregularities on radiographs of our spine. Unless something traumatic happened, I would not read into that "diagnosis" too much. That said, my advice would still be to find a good PT, but one that knows their stuff and treats a lot of neck, spine, and shoulder patients. I wish I could say they all knew what they were doing.

    It sounds nervey to me as well. Any time pain is shooting, you're likely looking at nerve involvement. Nerve involvement may be stemming from the neck, or it could be from inflammation further down (like in the shoulder or chest near brachial plexus) putting pressure on the nerve. A PT needs to do a neuro screen on you to test myotomes and dermatomes, looking at if strength and/or sensation is being affected. Based on your activity limitations, I'd guess there is. A PT can treat disc herniations and hyper or hypo mobile segments that are causing nerve pain in most cases.

    Another possibility I'd want to look into is thoracic outlet syndrome. This is not too uncommon, and is often associated with a forward head posture and rounded shoulders (but not always). You basically get impingement of vessels and/or nerves and can get many of the symptoms you are experiencing. There are a few quick tests that you can do to see if they replicate or exacerbate your symptoms, and if certain positions reduce circulation.

    ETA one more thing you may look into is complex regional pain syndrome. The reason I didn't initially mention it is because I've only heard of it unilaterally, but apparently it happens bilaterally 25% of the time.

    Beyond that, I'd look at the soft tissues in the neck and shoulders to see if there are irregularities there.

    Sorry you are dealing with this. It sounds like you've tried to seek help in the right places, and unfortunately have not found the right people looking in the right places. I hope you find some answers soon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  8. StarPattern

    StarPattern Senior Member

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    I'm very glad other people also don't think it was a bicep tear. I questioned the PT as well, since logically... I know there would have to be some kind of cause for a tear and it wouldn't just happen overnight. Further, I assume a bicep tear would not cause the same pain in both arms, or allow me to lift my arms. I could lift my arms, it was just with pain and only certain ways. For example, I could easily lift my arms over my head if I stretched them out in front of my body and lifted them that way, but I couldn't do it if I stretched my arms out to my side and up. I'm not a doctor and my instincts said it wasn't a tear, but I had to trust these doctors to know what was going on with me.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it's a pinched nerve or something. I actually asked my xray person if there was a chance of a bone chip floating around and causing pressure on a nerve. She said she couldn't see anything to suggest that. When I originally got braces, my dentist found that the right side of my jaw was actually 4mm further back than it should have been and was causing a pinched nerve. That nerve made it so my legs would go numb if someone touched a certain part of my shoulder. Once the braces pulled my jaw ahead to it's proper place, the pinched nerve was relieved and I never had that issue again.
     
  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    As I noted even a muscle spasm can push on a nerve. It doesn't have to be a bone chip.
     
  10. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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