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Old 02-07-2009, 07:58 AM   #1
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Left shoulder and upper arm pain

For weeks now i have had pain just behind my left shoulder travelling down my upper arm, i can describe it as muscle ache (like having done excercise and over doing it). I have tried creams and pain killers and now my GP is sending me for some pysiotherapy, i've had this for weeks now, also i have noticed a bit of swelling just behind my left shoulder by the GP thinks it's just fatty tissue, does anyone have any idea what it could be?

 
Old 02-07-2009, 09:16 AM   #2
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

it could be alot orf different things,thats why some testing really does need to be done here in order to better pinpoint the area/s of affectation. getting MRIs done on mostly that shoulder but also possibily the c spine area really would help here to either rule in or rule out certain types of problems that can give you the ongoing symptoms you have described. you do have to start somewhere ya know? this could simply be a nerve impingement within that shoulder itself somewhere,or something a bit more in depth, but by not actually giving that whole area a really good in depth look,you really wont know a whole lot. while any good physio can run you thru ROMS,it wont be able to detect something like a partial tear in any of the tendons within that rotator cuff area. as long as there is indeed some level of attachment,your ROMS could still may be okay/normal, but any partial tear will eventually progress to a complete if not interveined upon at the earlier stages. this is what happened to me last year. and if i had just gotten my MRI when the pain started to really become much worse,that final snap would not have occured out of the blue one morning while simply lifting my purse off the top of my fridge that morning, it just decided that was enough and completly snapped on me. the earlier you can catch a partial the much easier it is to fix and also the post op pain and rehab is no where near what you have to deal with from a complete tear. i wish i had known earlier now. any other symptoms besides what you described here already? does this just stop at your elbow or are fingers being involved in some way too? does that area within your shoulder actually "feel' somewhat 'cramped up' in some way?

but we are getting way ahead of ourselves here. just try like all heck to obtain that MRI just to really 'see' what is possible to see in there with MRI. that would dictate your next steps much better than merely 'guessing' as to what is going on in there right now,ya know? tell your physio that you would feel a whole lot bettter just knowing what that root casue actually is by MRI than hoping it isn't something worse which in some cases,certain types of PT could actually make things alot worse for you in the long run. better safe than sorry here, when there is a way to really look into that shoulder,it should be a no brainer for most docs to simply 'do' for you,but for some reason,they prefer to still "guess' and hope they are right. i would push for that MRI rihgt now just so YOU know whats going on and your physio too. this would help with setting up a real good appropriate plan of action than hoping he is guessing right. i do hope this is simply an impinged nerve that can be corrected with the right therepies( i am actually dealing with the impingment crap myself as we speak right now). please keep me posted as to what you find out,K? FB
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:37 AM   #3
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

when i lift my left arm up to a certain point then it starts to hurt and when i am putting my coat on or cardigan on and putting my bra on it i have to be careful as it hurts (with the bra as i'm twisting it round i have to do it slowly). At rest it doesn't hurt as much but i would say it is a muscular problem but why i don't know. I think i'll wait for my pysio appointment and see if that improves it, if it doesn't then i'll definately be back to the GP.

 
Old 02-07-2009, 12:38 PM   #4
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

Sounds a lot like the symptoms I had with my Shoulder Impingement. Upper movements and movement behind my back were the worst. They continued to get worse over the course of a year. I also developed bicep tendonitis because my shoulder was so out of whack. I had mine diagnosed by a PT, but it was confirmed by a Surgical evaluation and eventually an MRI.

If you want more information, try web searching "rotator cuff", "rotator cuff injury", "shoulder impingement", "tendonitis" or "bursitis".

For many people PT helps a lot. For me, I have another underlying cause that can't be fixed and I ended up needing some surgery.

Make sure you are icing down regularly and taking an anti-inflammatory too. That was what my docs originally recommended when I started having the pain. That and PT.

 
Old 02-16-2009, 07:29 AM   #5
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

I have had my appointment through for my first pysiotherapy which is in March. I can't understand what has caused this. I have seen 2 different GP's now and they don't think it's anything sinister (thank god) but when you have an unexplained pain that won't go away it does concern me a little.

 
Old 02-16-2009, 09:32 AM   #6
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

for some stupid reason i forget to address that "fatty" area you mentioned behind your shoulder area before? this could very well be what is called a trigger point? it is kind of a small wad of muscle/tissue that develops when an inflammed or impinged nerve triggers it(kind of like a small 'cramp" in the muscle). it could be a possible impingement issue given your symptoms. luckily,any good physio should be able to tell you what it is,at least if it is an actual TP there. just what does it feel like when you actually press into it,any pain? FB
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:32 PM   #7
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

Two very different things that can cause the symptoms you describe are medication side effects (blood pressure meds/diuretics for example), and lyme disease.

If you doctors don't have a clue despite tests, I would definitely consider one or both of the above possibilities.

 
Old 02-17-2009, 02:55 AM   #8
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

No it doesn't hurt when i press on it. One of my GP's who i saw thinks i've only just noticed it since i've mentioned my arm, i don't know but it's mainly my upper left arm that hurts when i move it at certain points. When i saw 2 GP's they made me move it in various directions and i could do as they asked without it causing me much pain but it seems to be when i lift my arm at a certain point ie when i'm putting a coat on or twisting my bra round when i put it on, there is obviously a weakness there that has been created but not sure how i did it. I'll see what the pysiotherapist says about it all. It's not ruining my life at all but it is just annoying that my left arm is not feeling the same as my right so there must be something not right.

 
Old 02-17-2009, 07:08 AM   #9
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

I have the exact symptoms you describe and my problem is in the rotator cuff, verified through an MRI. You could have a bone spur there and/or bursitis/tendonitis. With this problem the symptoms are exactly as you describe, ie. trouble hooking bra, putting on a coat, lifting things ... I am now scheduled for arthroscopic surgery but I went through all the less invasive procedures first. If you have an orthropedic shoulder specialist in your area that would be a good choice.

 
Old 03-20-2009, 01:39 AM   #10
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

i had my first psyiotherapy appointment this week and she said it is probably to do with the rotary cuff and has given me some excercises to do but to be honest they are not really doing anything. I'm going back next week so not sure what happens now, i've also noticed that the pain comes from the neck and travels down to my left shoulder, it's annoying really more than anything.

 
Old 03-20-2009, 07:56 AM   #11
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Re: Left shoulder and upper arm pain

honestly,i would REALLY push your docs for that MRI on your shoulder BEFORE going thru the PT thing. in some cases, and given just what could be going on in there(given your symptoms), it "could' possibly make things worse if there IS some level of actual tear within that rotator cuff area and you are told to do some level of PT that could simply make things much worse for you,ya know what i mean? i would just push very hard for that MRI of the rotator area first if i were you. you need to know what you are actually dealing with before attempting something that has the possibility of making things worse,thats all. i do wish you luck with this. please continue to keep us posted. 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.

 
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