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Old 03-05-2008, 08:41 AM   #1
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Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

Hello everyone, I have had alot of problems with my shoulder & rib cage all on the left side, I recently went through shoulder decompression. Still alot of pain in both the shoulder & especially the ribs. Hopefully is will improve over time. I had a phone call from my daughters friends mother telling me she has been diagnanosed with arthritis, DDD in the cervical spine, I believe c5,6 & 7, same as me, & she indeed is experiancing alot of shoulder pain. I found that to be ironic. So I was wondering if anyone else is experiancing the same.
This leads me to believe I may be having a harder time with my recovery due to this. although there is also arthritis in the shoulder. I was told based on my MRI me cervical spine was not bad enough to cause me all of this but indeed could be contributing to some discomfort such as aching, headaches & so forth. Now I am beginning to wonder. Heard to many cases of MRIs & other tests not showing the true extent of the problem, as with my shoulder an MRI was done ended up having more decompression done then orginally anticipated. also has any one tried any supplements that have helped with the aching, such as calcium, magnissium & so forth? I would appreciate any opinions & experiances. Sammy
Marcia if you see this how are you doing? Well I hope. I am trying to go with out the sling more to get some movement in that arm. ON the third morning, before I could not go at all in the morning without that sling, so I am hoping this is a good sign, I have not really been able to cut back on the pain meds yet so I am hoping that will come soon, how about you? Are you able to control the pain more so. Hope all is well with you.

 
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:58 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

Hi Sammy
I had rotator cuff repairs on both shoulders, and decompressions, in 2002 and 2003. And no real explanation why I had so much shoulder pain, and bad rotator cuffs.

My 2003 shoulder surgery pain turned in to more shoulder and arm pain, and I had my first ACDF (C5/6/7) in 2004, and a second one (C4/5) in 2005.

Some of my Drs feel the neck and shoulder problems are related - after all, those C Spine levels do have the nerves branches that service the muscles in the shoulders. The idea is that nerve impingement begins to weaken the muscles in the shoulders so they don't work as well, and the rotator cuff gets accelerated wear and tear because the shoulder joint does not work as well.

Other Drs say it is just coincidence. But I don't have a job that would wear out my shoulders, and I didn't have any traumas that would have damaged them.

My belief is that there absolutley can be a relationship between C spine problems and shoulder problems. But it is diffiuclt to establish the 'cause - effect' relationship, or to prove it.
Bob

 
Old 03-06-2008, 06:02 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

Hi Sammy, I suffer from RSD in both shoulders, my neck and both arms. In fact, I have lost permanent use of my left arm which is now locked in a position where my left hand touches my left shoulder. The only time I can stretch my arm out is to put on my clothes. Even when I get on the computer I have to prop up my arm on something. I also suffer from Cervical Dystonia which is severe and uncontrollable muscles spasms in my neck and shoulder. I also have a pinched nerve in my neck and DDD as well. My shoulder is so sensitive to the touch that when it itches I don't want to scratch it. Anytime you touch like scratching it, it hurts so bad and will hurt for awhile before it stops. I get burning pains in my neck and arms and the pain from the RSD can be so bad at times that it brings tears to your eyes. The weather is my worst enemy because it can cause a real painful flare-up and the muscle spasms are horrible. I've had MRI's, EMG's and NCV and the only thing that showed up was the DDD and that I have two dead nerves in my left arm. Sometimes all these tests can show that nothing is really wrong. RSD is usually diagnoised by the symptoms just like a pinched nerve. The Cervical Dystonia was diagnoised by no matter what they did, I get have muscle spasms that couldn't be controlled. At the time being they stay pretty much under control thanks to taking Soma 350 mg 4 x a day. But if we have severe weather or strong cold fronts come through I get them real bad and all I can do is sit back and relax. I also lost permanent use of my left arm, it is now locked in a position where my left arm touches my left shoulder. Also I can't raise my right arm no higher than my waist, all due to the RSD and Cervical Dystonia and late treatment of both.
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RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystropy)
Cervical Dsytonia- severe muscle spasms in the neck
Arthritis

Last edited by rayefaye; 03-06-2008 at 06:05 AM.

 
Old 03-06-2008, 06:55 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

Thanks guys, that is a big help. I am getting worried, my other shoulder is starting to really bother me. That is the second time I have had RSD brought up, would you mind telling me your symptoms & how you were diagnosed. I am going to have to start looking into that. I am beginning to wonder if there is something else involved here. I know before surgery I has terrable muscle spasms even the PT commented on how bad they were, especially in the chest area.
Bob, did your shoulder problems effect your chest area at all? Also did you have any rib pain, that is really bothering me & the surgeon is hoping it was caused from me holding my shoulder improply for such along period of time. We believe the shoulder was in trouble for along time before it was found to have a problem. All these tests & very little was found to be causing all this pain. Scary. I can't believe how painful & long this recovery is. The surgeon said there can be 4 mnths of pretty nasty pain & 6 mnths for good healing.
Once again thanks guys, Sammy

 
Old 03-06-2008, 07:49 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

Hi Sammy, sorry I didn't back to you sooner. I'm going to try to give the shortest version I can because it all started from a car accident that I had 24 yrs. ago. Unfortunately, I wasn't dx'd until 4 yrs. ago. First the injuries from my car accident were my right arm was broken completely in to and it severed some of the nerves in my arm as well. The turn signal went all the way through my left hand leaving a permenant hole in the middle of my hand and severing the nerves in my hand. I suffered a hair-line fracture on both sides of my pelvis which are still there. This also left a bone chip floating around in my pelvic area that ended settling on my nerves. My ankle was twisted so bad that they told I would have been better of if it had been broken instead.

PS: I forgot the question about having pains in my chest. Yes, I had them in my chest and rib cage as well as muscles spasms in my front chest muscles. There have been times when I have bent over to tie my shoes and move the wrong way and ended up with severe muscle spasms in my chest. They were so bad I could hardly straightend myself up again.

The first problem sign started with my legs hurting real bad and all the jobs I had were stand up type. After standing on my legs from 8 to 12 hours a day when I would get off work my left would be just pure numb from all the standing. Next my feet start burning so bad that I couldn't hardly wear shoes when through numerous pairs. The next thing was my hair, I had real long hair. Then all of a sudden my hair starting thining out and I had little red sores all over my scalp. My scalp would get real tight and my head was just itch all the time, it even kept my awake at night. I would have real bad heataches that would start in my neck and then work their way up. No one seemed to know why and I was just being treated for arthrits.

Then one day at work my left shoulder went to hurting real bad and the next thing I knew my shoulder was drawn all the way up to the point my shoulder was touching my ear. I went home and after relaxing awhile it went down. Next day at work I had to use that arm more and the next thing I knew it was happening again and the pain brought tears to my eyes. I went to ER got a shot and it settle down for about 2 weeks. Then 2 weeks later the same thing happened again so I went to the doctor. He gave some prednisone and muscle relaxers and told me to stay out of work awhile. It never got better. Then my hands started turn red and they hurt and they burnt same with my arm and my elbow. In the end, I went to 3 specialist and nobody seemed to know anything except I had two dead nerves in my left arm and torticolis. Torticolis is severe muscle spasm in the neck and shoulder area. Then my shoulder and arm started hurting real bad and my shoulder was so sensitive to the touch. Next thing I know my arm start drawing up and everytime I would try to stretch it out pain would shoot up my arm. The muscle spasms also keep getting worser and worser. Finally, I saw a doctor who knew what RSD was all about and when I was told I suffered from RSD. He also told me that I had what was call Cervical Dystonia and I could not use my left arm at all and had to limit the use of my right arm to keep from having such severe muscle spasms.

Sorry for the long story but that's how my condition came about and I wasn't dx'd with it until 4 yrs ago. Due to it taking so long to get the correct diagnoises lead to the loss of my left arm. Also forgot to mention that my arm kept getting weaker and weaker. I hope this helps you understand what RSD is like, it is a very painful disease that has no cure for it. If you have any more questions just ask or check out the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Board which also lists the signs of RSD at the top of the board.
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RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystropy)
Cervical Dsytonia- severe muscle spasms in the neck
Arthritis

Last edited by rayefaye; 03-06-2008 at 08:03 PM.

 
Old 03-09-2008, 07:04 AM   #6
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

Thank you for answering, gosh sounds like you have been through alot of pain. I don't know if you have ever seen feelsbad's post she has RSD also & has mentioned it to me. I do not know to much about it or what triggers it. I know that for a couple years I kept getting checked for cardiac problems, doctors kept thinking it was the heart because of so many things in the chest & left arm, neck & shoulder, & or course my vitals would sky rocket. I think perhaps it was fear & the pain. it would strike at times out of the blue & happen so fast it would take my breathe away. Left side of the chest is not where you want to have painful muscle spasms. It was & is strange my upper chest would actually look swollen & feel hard. My pt caught it right away. My breast would even hurt or be tender to touch. I will look RSD up I am still hoping to improve from surgery,some days I think it will get better then some days my chest & ribs hurt so much I don't know. you can see at times a bulge in the ribs, strange. I can't wear a bra & have not since may, it is to painful & anything around that area feels like it gets tighter as the day goes on. I would have these huge indentions only on the left side after taking the bra off, I just could not wear them anymore. Very strange. I had doctors look at me like I was crazy, made me so mad. They never even examined that area, the pt caught alot of things during therapy, he even stopped therapy & told me to get my breast looked at he was concerned. Just a terrable roller coaster. Does any of this sound familier? Once again thank you, Sammy

 
Old 03-09-2008, 08:50 AM   #7
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

Yes, I have area around my chest and shoulder that look swollen at times also all the area is sensitive to the touch. Lucky enough I've been able to wear a bra but for the most part most bras I can't wear. I also can't wear not tight shirts as well. Another thing you mention was your vital when I have a bad flare up and I'm in alot of pain my BP goes through the roof. My doctor told me that everytime I was in a whole lot of pain it raises your BP so if I go in and I'm not in alot of pain my BP is back to normal again. I've seen a many of a time where something sets the nerve off in my shoulder and it feels like my heart is racing and can be scary. But you can tell it really isn't my heart but the nerve because I can press down on the nerve in my shoulder and eventually it calms down. I also have sharp pains that can hit me out of the blue and it does take your breath away. I have seen times where it has hurt in my shoulder so bad it makes it hard just to breathe. I do hope for your sake that the surgery helps you and puts an end to your pain. I would not wish the horrible conditon on no one not even my worse enemy because it can be very painful and there's no know cure for it. All the doctors can do is try to help ease the pain and hope that it don't continue to spread to other areas of your body. I will have my fingers crossed and hope that in the end this surgery will put an end to alot of your pain.
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RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystropy)
Cervical Dsytonia- severe muscle spasms in the neck
Arthritis

 
Old 03-10-2008, 05:32 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

Ok you just described alot of what I have experianced. Feels like my heart is racing & scared the heck out of me. I think it causes my heart to race (what ever is going on). The chest area will just throb along with the ribs. at times like a pulsating throb. Can make it painful to breathe. It can be hard to tell whether it is the heart or in the chest muscles because of being smack in the center of the chest, the worst possable location. I am worried after the four month period the surgeon will decrease my meds & if this does not improve where will that leave me? I will have to address these concerns with my surgeon. May I ask you what kind of doctor diagnosed you? What you described sounds an awful like like what I have went through, it does have me alittle concerned. Thanks you have been a big help. Sammy

 
Old 03-10-2008, 07:27 AM   #9
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

My GP was the one who dx'd me because he knew what RSD was. He told from the begining it was a very painful condition and that there was no cure and it would get worse over time. Basically, all any doctor could do with help with the pain. I know this must scare you because it has me a many of a time and even had spells where it felt like I was about to faint. It also is located in a bad spot of the body especially when the nerve goes pulsating and your first thought is, is this a heart attack? I've had muscle spasms in my chest and shoulder that would be so bad it's like someone is cracking my ribs into. I don't if this would help but if you know for that these are muscles spasms that you're experiencing and nothing else more serious. When I get real bad muscle spasms and the medicine doesn't relieve them I got to the ER. I get a shot of Stedral Medral which is a shot of prednisone and something else mixed in with it. This will at least calm down the spasms and I mean just as fast as they give you the shot, you wouldn't believe how fast. It not a pain medication that makes you loopy or nothing because I have had a many of them and be able to go get in my car and drive home. This is something that might help you relieve the spasms and it will would way faster than the any muscle relaxer. I do hope you can find some relief because I know what it's like to live with pain everyday and severe muscle spasms. I'm just starting to get over a severe round of them that have been plaquing me for over a week. They started in my shoulder and chest then move up to my neck and then back down into my lower back. Today is really the first day that they haven't been that bad so far. If I have to go through another day like the last two previous days, I know I will be in the ER. I hate to go and sit and wait but I can't take another day of them. I hope you're having a better day today.
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RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystropy)
Cervical Dsytonia- severe muscle spasms in the neck
Arthritis

 
Old 03-11-2008, 06:28 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

ray, how funny done that to, went into urgent care. It was a nightmare so much pain could not even touch my shoulder or attempt to lift my arm, my husband freaked when the doc. went to touch my left side, it would set everything off. Anyway they did indeed start me on an IV with the steroids along with a pain med. It did calm down abit but the pain lingered. I have been on the steroid pks. several times.
When I moved in my house I was lifting like you would not believe, I am 5'2 & 108 pds. I remember hurting my shoulder/neck/arm area. It hurt, just ached for months. Then it would calm down & just bother me every now & them. All of a sudden the chest area started, it would take my breathe away, I had no clue what it was. I remember I thought a coulple times that I would pass out. My heart rate would go bonkers, where one point I was transported to ER (had to pull over in the middle of driving) the pain was going from the arm chest up through the neck, it was weird I could barely talk. The paramedics thought for sure I was having a heart attack. This started to occur on a daily basis, terrable, I could not breathe, honest to god. Then they started to treat me for asthma,lots of steroids. finally after a very long haul I got it somewhat under control. The doctors till this day cannot agree as to whether I have asthma. All of a sudden it started back up, at first a couple times a week, I was going to the doctors every week. That doc. thought it was my neck, am mri showed problems but not enough for these symptoms. It was getting so painful & continued to do so. I found myself in ER three times. Noone could figure it out becuase there was so much chest pain & the ribs joined in. Test upon test was finally getting done. went through pt twice.
Anyway ended up with mri showing shoulder issues, still they maintained it should not have been causing all these problems. After all the pt, steroids, meds, cortisine injections, trigger point injections they decided I had nothing to loose by getting the shoulder surgery done. At that point I could barely raise my arm at all, the pain was contant & enough to give me dry heaves. So far they believe the chest & rib pain are secondary symptoms & even that the ribs may have shifted or became out of alignment due to the shoulder being injured for so long, that is the present theory. Now it is a wait & see. The surgeon will treat the pain for a couple more months but taper down on the meds soon, I am scared that I will be left in pain, really scared. If indeed it could be RSD I don't know what would have brought it on. I know I went two years with this problem before surgery. The chest & rib area can just throb & the chest area can get hard. The pt is the one who told me there was muscle spasms going on in there, he was shocked at how the chest looked swelled.
What did your doctor do to confirm it was RSD & any clues as to how this is caused? Sorry about the long post, I am worried about being left in pain & am starting to feel desperate to figure out what is going on. It can get confusing. Thanks for all your help, I appreciate it more then you know. You are the second one to bring up RSD. Sammy

 
Old 03-11-2008, 08:11 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone experiencing problems with the shoulders due to the neck

Hi Sammy, thanks for calling ray in fact, that was what my friends called me in school, my real name is Desiree'. So my friends always called me either raye or rayefaye, especially raye like sun rays because of my lively personality.

Thankfully my family doctor knew what RSD was, he really did do no tests for RSD. There really isn't no sure test for RSD, most doctors go by the symptoms of RSD to dx'd it. Some people have like skin discoloration like it can be real red or in some cases a purplish-blue like it's bruised. The main symptoms for RSD is the extreme pain and the burning feeling you get. The pain is described as out of this world pain and also is compared to a throbbing or stabbing type of pain. The burning feeling is like you skin is on fire or like you have a sunburn on the inside of your skin. There can also be swelling in the areas affected and also joint stiffness. Some people have the discoloration and some don't which means you can have the throbbing pain and the burning sensation yet there may be no physical signs of RSD.

The real cause of RSD is a mystery because doctors don't really know what brings it on in some cases. Like in my case I knew I had from my waist down to my feet due to an injury. But the worse of it is in my left shoulder and neck which has never suffered from any kind of injury which still puzzles me. I can for the life of my understand how my shoulder and neck has to worse of it when the injuries I substain were to my right arm and neck and not my left. Here is a list of causes that can bring on RSD: injury, pressure on a nerve, infection, cancer, neck disorders, stroke or heart attack. These conditions can cause pain which sets of the sympathetic reflexes, causing symptoms of reflex sympathetic dystrophy. There is alot of info on the internet about Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. It would be a good idea to check this out and even copy the info. Then take the info with you and discuss with your surgeon and see if it's possible that you could be suffering from this. If he doesn't want to listen then make an appt. with a neurologist or you regular doctor or any doctor who you think will listen to you. If you were already experiencing RSD symptoms before your surgery then is a strong possibility that the surgery could have made it worse. Alot of doctors feel that surgery will only cause the RSD to get worse and spread. I hope you can find a doctor who will listen to you and want to help you find out for sure if you could suffering from this condition. But the best way to start is finding out all the info you can find on RSD and copy it and show it to your doctor.
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RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystropy)
Cervical Dsytonia- severe muscle spasms in the neck
Arthritis

 
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