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Old 11-15-2007, 01:18 PM   #1
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Smile Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest discomfort/pain/dull aches ... heart ruled out. Need help!

Greetings all,

For the past few months I've been dealing with some discomfort/tightness and some small pain (the pain is more of a dull constent ache than anything) in my left shoulder, chest and mostly in my left arm. Just for some background info, I've seen a cardiologist and have gone through a stress test, blood test and ultra sound of my heart and everything is in perfect shape. I was told I have an exerciser’s heart. I did have pretty high cholesterol for being 28 at the time, but have since lowered it drastically. I have no shortness of breath and sleep pretty well. I’m also not overweight.

It's difficult to describe the feeling in my left arm. It certainly hurts a bit more when used (i.e. we just moved), but sometimes happens at random. I've tried to hold my arm in various places while driving and while sitting at my desk. My arm usually feels very tight…especially in my bicep and forearm. I recently found a bunch of lumps in my left chest, which turned out to be just fatty nodules or something. I was told it was not cancer or lymphoma. Is there any chance the nodules could be causing the pain/discomfort in my left arm? I'm kind of at my whit’s end here! I can't sleep on my left arm at all really and am really just tired of this strange feeling. I've had some panic issues when this first started, but they were very very mild. I was able to cure this through some meditation and a few visits to a psychiatrist. I know the mind does some whacky stuff, but this has been at least 6 months now.

Oh and I should add I've had the same weird "tightness" in my left calf, which has now completely gone away and in my left eye, which is still there from time to time.

Any thoughts on what the heck this is? I really don't know where to go from here!

Thanks for the help!

Last edited by TheCiscoKid78; 11-15-2007 at 01:53 PM.

 
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Old 11-15-2007, 04:17 PM   #2
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest discomfort/pain/dull aches ... heart ruled out. Need hel

Do you mean lumps as in sticking out, or something firm under the skin? Are they sore? If they are firm sore spots, try pressing on them very gently, almost to the point of pain but not quite, and hold for about 20 seconds each. They just might shrink down and leave your chest/arm/shoulder feeling a little looser. For more details, look up "trigger points" and "myofascial pain" in your information research of choice.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 05:49 PM   #3
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest discomfort/pain/dull aches ... heart ruled out. Need hel

Quote:
Originally Posted by janewhite1 View Post
Do you mean lumps as in sticking out, or something firm under the skin? Are they sore? If they are firm sore spots, try pressing on them very gently, almost to the point of pain but not quite, and hold for about 20 seconds each. They just might shrink down and leave your chest/arm/shoulder feeling a little looser. For more details, look up "trigger points" and "myofascial pain" in your information research of choice.

Jane,

Thanks for the reply!

The bumps are under the skin and are pea sized. They actually don't hurt, but are just a little uncomfortable (to answer your question they are not sore to the touch). Nothing really bad, just noticable. They are a bit closer to my armpit. The Dr. who I saw said they may go away or get larger. At this point he said removing them would be a bad idea. Now that I think about it, I didn't ask him if this could be related to my arm aches. Is it possible these little nodules could affect my arm? It just seems so strange.

Doing a search on "trigger points" and "myofascial pain" now. Thanks for the tip!

 
Old 11-16-2007, 07:20 AM   #4
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

since they have ruled out cardiac possibilitys,the next best place to start looking for the trigger would be in the actual shoulder for a possible rotator cuff tear of some degree(just was Dxed with this and it actually started back in 89 when lifting weights.felt a huge burn that eventually went away after a week of rest).i had absolutely no clue that this was actually as bad as it got to be with a full thickness tear in the supraspinatus tendon.the pain was not all that bad but i would get knife like jabs upon certain movements so my doc just did an MRI.i was a bit shocked at the extent of damage,but i guess with this type of injury,many people actually have it but just don't realize it as the pain in many cases doesn't 'get really bad" til it gets to a certain point.that is where i am at right now.

the other possible place to look for the trigger would be in the c spine area of the spinal column.many possible issues could be going on in there that can cause pain and a host of other symptoms,within the neck,shoulder,chest and down to the fingers.it all depends on just what area is affected and by what.and in some cases,depending on what is actually affected within the c spine,you can actually have symptoms all the way down to the feet.but that would be with some level of actual spinal cord involvement.but i would really speak with your doc about having an MRI done on that problem shoulder and the c spine at the same time.they can do both at the same time,one after the other.i think these two areas arewhere you would mostlikely find the issue that could be causing your symptoms.JMO.i wish you luck in finding the source of this.please let me know just what you actually find out,K? FB
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:17 AM   #5
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

Thanks again for the replies.

It's actually interesting you mention the shoulder, because when I was in high school I tore my rambus (spelling?) muscle (under the Scapula right?) in a wrestling match. I went through some physical therapy and really haven't had a problem with it at all. I have had that weird burning pain in the back of my shoulder near where the injury was, but it usually never last too long (a day or so). I've felt the burning pain only when I've moved in a very silly direction, like pulling socks from my drawer lol. This is very rare though.

I've also felt the tightness in my left calf. This eventually went away. One other thing I have experienced is numbness in my fingers in both hands. It's usually just my pinky and the finger next to it.

I actually shot the cardiologist I saw a quick email and he asked that I come in again. I'm hoping he'll then refer me to some one else. Not that I don't have faith in my family Dr., but after more than six months of this I'm starting to get a bit frustrated.

I've looked up "trigger points" and have found some very interesting information. What was described in the articles I read sounded very familiar to what I've been experiencing. I've noticed these small nodules not just in my chest, but also just above my elbow and neck.

I'm trying to keep my responses as organized as possible, so I apologize now for any overload of info . One thing that I thought of this morning was an incident a few weeks ago. I was sound asleep and was awoken by some pretty major muscle spasms/pain in my left shoulder and arm. It was actually quit excruciating and lasted for a good hour or so. The muscles in my left arm (particularly in my fore arm) kept tightening, releasing, tightening etc. This seems kind of consistent with the trigger points, but I'll try not to self diagnose before seeing a Dr.

Ok so I think thatís it for now. I'll post an update as soon as I find out more. Thanks much again for the replies. There is certainly a wealth of knowledge here!

 
Old 11-16-2007, 07:00 PM   #6
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

seriously,i do think you need an MRI done on that shoulder.what you are describing about the odd type of pain and infrequent types of burning around your previous injury could all indicate a definite type of shoulder issue going on.this is what i was experiencing prior to the 'real' pain hitting me from a rather large tear in my rotator cuff.the pain was not all that bad til very recently despite the fact the initial tear had to have happened quite a few years ago.it appears it kept on tearing a bit more and more over the years.just something you really DO need to get checked out.

what you were describing about your "nodules'really don't sound like true trigger points to me which are bascially wads of tissue and muscle.TPs really dont look rounded or generally small but more like a slightly raised up area the spreads out and tapers as it radiates out from the main point.most TPs you can actually hold very firm pressure on them with like your thumb?and after about 45 seconds or so of that firm pressure,they tend to dissipate away.i have these all over my upper back and my neck since my c spine went nuts in 02.i have 'popped' many a TP over the years,and have never really had one that raised up or actually felt like an actual nodule under my skin,they usually are more wadded muscle globs.try holding firm pressure over one for about that 45 seconds.if this is indeed a trigger point,you should feel kind of a "muscular type pressure" going on while doing this?it feels kind of deep not totally surface type.it should break apart after at least a minute or so.if it holds firm together,then it most likely is not a true TP.do these things feel almost cyst like or well defined? FB
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 11-26-2007, 02:46 PM   #7
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

Just a quick update:

I saw the cardiologist again and he said to come back in a year lol! He said my heart is just fine. I think passing the stress test with flying colors was a good thing. I think I may have just needed to hear that again.

I've spoken to my primary care Dr. and we're going to schedule an MRI for my left shoulder and arm. It will be nice to get this resolved.

Thanks again for the help and I'll post more once I get the MRI!

 
Old 11-26-2007, 03:07 PM   #8
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

Sounds to me like it coudl be a cervical disc. I had the exact same pain front left part of the chest and shoulder and extremes pain in the back part of my shoulder. I thoght it was heart related too. Finally one docotr suggested an MRI of my neck and I had vertually no disc left. I had surgery within weeks to replace it adn the pain went right away!

 
Old 11-26-2007, 03:11 PM   #9
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

CiscoKid.....Just curious, how did you lower your cholesterol drastically?

 
Old 11-26-2007, 06:46 PM   #10
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rudiraven View Post
CiscoKid.....Just curious, how did you lower your cholesterol drastically?
Over a period of 4 months I lowered my cholesterol from 254 to the high 180s. I started exercising like a freak. I began by walking everyday about 45mins and then slowly worked up to a jog after a few weeks (usually a few miles). I also began eating salads and fruits only for lunch and cheerios with skim milk for breakfast. Diner was usually pretty strict, but nothing too too healthy . My HDL is around 39 and this has remained the same from my initial test. HDL runs low in my family. On a side note all of the pain in my chest set me on the "thinking it was a heart issue", because my father has had 2 triple bypasses.

So that's how I lowered it so quick. My Dr. told me I prone to higher levels of cholesterol and may have to go on medication at some point, but for now I'm good. Exercise was the key!


Yeah I was really hoping it's not a C-Spine issue, but I guess we'll see. As I write this my arm and shoulder are aching like crazy...especially my left chest muscle.

Well fingers crossed!

 
Old 06-25-2008, 11:16 AM   #11
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by feelbad View Post
seriously,i do think you need an MRI done on that shoulder.what you are describing about the odd type of pain and infrequent types of burning around your previous injury could all indicate a definite type of shoulder issue going on.this is what i was experiencing prior to the 'real' pain hitting me from a rather large tear in my rotator cuff.the pain was not all that bad til very recently despite the fact the initial tear had to have happened quite a few years ago.it appears it kept on tearing a bit more and more over the years.just something you really DO need to get checked out.

what you were describing about your "nodules'really don't sound like true trigger points to me which are bascially wads of tissue and muscle.TPs really dont look rounded or generally small but more like a slightly raised up area the spreads out and tapers as it radiates out from the main point.most TPs you can actually hold very firm pressure on them with like your thumb?and after about 45 seconds or so of that firm pressure,they tend to dissipate away.i have these all over my upper back and my neck since my c spine went nuts in 02.i have 'popped' many a TP over the years,and have never really had one that raised up or actually felt like an actual nodule under my skin,they usually are more wadded muscle globs.try holding firm pressure over one for about that 45 seconds.if this is indeed a trigger point,you should feel kind of a "muscular type pressure" going on while doing this?it feels kind of deep not totally surface type.it should break apart after at least a minute or so.if it holds firm together,then it most likely is not a true TP.do these things feel almost cyst like or well defined? FB
Wow talk about reviving an old post! Sorry

Any way, I had an MRI done on my shoulder and a mammogram/ultra sound done on my chest. Everything came back negative. The nodules I've been complaining about are just fatty tissue...it's been a while so I apologize as to exactly what was said. All I know is the nodules are fine and my shoulder is in good shape according to the MRI. As I mentioned before I've had a stress test and Ultra Sound done on my heart and all is good. I exercise at least 2 times a week now.

After all this I'm still having a few issues. My left arm still aches to all heck from time to time. Last evening my girlfriend and I went to a baseball game, on the way back my left arm/shoulder were aching like crazy and seemed a bit swollen, even in the hand. Is there a possibilty this could be nerve related or Carpal Tunnel? I've heard Carpal Tunnel hurts the hands, but I really haven't felt too much pain there. I do, however, wake up very often with numb arms and hands.

Two other quick things I've noticed that seem a bit strange. When I get VERY anxious my hands, particularly my pinkies and area from my pinkies to wrist go numb and tingly lol. This also seems to be happening when I'm not feeling anxious. It happened the other day when playing Ultimate Frisbee. I ignored it and moved on.

I also still have this very strange tightness in my left eye area. Extending more towards my left temple and around my eye. I've seen a retinal specialist as well as an eye doctor who said I was fine. I do have some floaters in the eye now, but nothing bad at all. The tightness remains.

Oh one last thing! I still get silly heart palpatations from tiem to time. Nothing to serious, but I never had them before (not anxious when tehse happen). I've also woken up pretty dizzy a few times over the past few months. It took almost a day each time to feel like everything around me wasn't spinning!

Well so there's my update! I really and absolutely confused where to go from here. I generally feel pretty good, but these aches and numbness are scaring the heck out of me.

Does any of this sound like diabetes? What about Lyme?

Any thoughts?

And thanks again!

Last edited by TheCiscoKid78; 06-25-2008 at 11:24 AM.

 
Old 06-25-2008, 11:51 AM   #12
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

Everything you are describing happens to me as a result of muscle tension in my shoulders and neck. There are other explanations, some worse, but there's mine.

 
Old 06-25-2008, 11:57 AM   #13
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janewhite1 View Post
Everything you are describing happens to me as a result of muscle tension in my shoulders and neck. There are other explanations, some worse, but there's mine.
Jane,

Thank you for the reply. I just thought of trying out a few chair messages to see if it helps at all. I would much rather this only be muscle tension.

 
Old 06-26-2008, 06:24 AM   #14
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

well thats good,except the no real explanation thing. did they happen to also check out your C and upper T spine while doing that MRI? this just could be another possible trigger area for what you are describing as symptoms,thats all. do you actually have a copy of your MRI results that you could look thru and see just exactly what was mentioned and what wasn't? its just good to always get your very own copies of all testing results done anywhere on you just for your own medical files. if that c and t spine area has not been really looked into at all,it needs to be. it would be the next most logical spot for the symptoms you are having so it needs to be ruled out or in as the culprit.

trying to actually diagnose or track back to the source,anything that may be wrong in our bodies is kind of like playing detective here with looking at all 'suspects' til you find the evidence of something that may be involved in your process. it comes down to simply testing and ruling out til you find it. hopefully they can do that c spine MRI if it was not at all even looked at or noted in your MRI report. if this were me,this is what i would be pushing my docs to obtain. you just don;t know what is actually going on in any area of our body til you take a much deeper look into it ya know? please keep us posted, FB
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9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 06-26-2008, 07:07 AM   #15
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Re: Left Shoulder/Arm/Chest Discomfort/pain ... heart ruled out.

cisco, I'll join in here & hopefully not confuse you more (ha). what ever is going on dont let it go. You have alot of the same symtoms I have & let me tell you it can get worse. I did have a shoulder problem & had surgery but the pain & symptoms remained. Let me tell you I did not start out with alot of pain when this started, in fact I started out alot like you. Now I am in pain you could not imagine, I let it go & let the doctors keep pushing it a side or made is sound like it was no big dea. Wrong thing to do.
It does sound like there could be something in the shoulder or spine. Sometimes it takes awhile for things to become clear on tests & so forth.
you could be tensing up & causing any issues you have to act up abit more. I had the heart palpations & all that good stuff, all the cardiac tests to, over & over. I think because I was having problems in that left chest area it made me nervous & kicked everything into high gear, even acouple doctors & EMS thought I was having a heart attack, so I dont feel to dumb.
Just trust me if this continues dont let it go & dont let the doctors blow you off. I have chronic pain every single day, all day. You dont want to go there.
If it was me I would start with the shoulder & then look into that c & t spine. I am still having some of the same problems you are experiancing & my doctor is doing just that, looking into that area of the spine. This is of course just me putting my 2 cents in. good luck, Sammy

 
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