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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Neck and Shoulder Pain...

 ajpviau - Thu Mar 31, 2005 2:49 pm

Had no luck in the General forum so thought I woudl try here...

Over the past few years, I have had an increasingly painful neck and shoulder problem on the right side. Here is a list of the injuries I have had to this area...

1 - hit back of head (base of skull, right side) on the corner of a table, very hard (2000)
2 - tore the deltoid in my right arm (2003)
3 - cracked rib, right side (2002)
4 - hyperextended my right arm at the shoulder, believe it was the trapezius I strained (2001)

So, as you can see, I have had a fair bit of trauma to this area. I wake up every morning with a very stiff neck and it takes a few stretches to loosen it up enough for me to continue my day. As the day goes on, it get stiffer and more painful, sometimes causing headaches. At times I get a bit of numbness in my right arm and fingers, the odd time it goes to the left hand and fingers. On some occasions I get very sharp pains shooting through my head and neck area when I move or turn a certain way.

I am at my wits end as I have seen about 4 different doctors and specialists for this and they all tell me it is nothing serious and I just need to do some physio to fix it. This is where the problem lies, I have done Physio for months at a time on two seperate occasions to no avail and now, at the point my pain is at, I can't handle doing any type of shoulder or neck excercises at all as it hurts and I get a headache the next day. I've had massage therapy, chiropractic work, used NSAIDS, etc. and nothing helps it. I have had x-rays which show nothing and physical examinations which reveal nothing.

My last resort is to request an MRI to see what's going inside my neck and shoulder. Seeing as it will take about 3 or 4 months before that will happen, I was hoping someone might have some ideas or suggestions as to what I can do to help the situation. Or thoughts on what might be living inside my neck and shoulder!!

 Theresa Jones, RN - Sun Apr 03, 2005 6:01 am

User avatar Hi ajpviau,
It sounds as though from your list of injuries that at some point you may have caused some compression of the nerves which would explain your symptoms of numbness and pain. A MRI should be able to identify and locate compression.
 ajpviau - Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:30 am

Thanks for the info, I think I will ask my doctor if I can get an MRI to see what's going on. If they do find a compressed nerve, what are the treatment options?
 drgreghaitz - Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:57 pm

User avatar No doubt the truamas have caused excessive scar tissue formation and ahdesions even to the nerves in the neck and muscles. I have found that an advanced form of myofascial release works wonders for this type of problem. Active Release Technique (ART) is a specific type of myofascial release that addresses the scar tissue in particular. The website for ART has a provider search. Look at and click on provider search. The treatment protocal is usually around 4-6 visits. Give it a try!
 ajpviau - Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:29 pm

Thanks for the info! I will look it up and give it a try. Anything at this point to help relieve the pain! At least to hold me over until I can get an MRI or a more thorough exam of the area.

Thanks again!
 ajpviau - Mon May 02, 2005 7:59 am

Update...I'm getting an MRI, within the next couple of months hopefully. My doc feels I have had so much trauma in the area, there is probably some sort of scarring in there, same as what "drgreghaitz" said!! I'll update the progress for those with similar problems.
 ajpviau - Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:07 pm


I saw a rheumatologist a week ago and he can also be added to pile of doctors that think I am fine and nothing is wrong with my shoulder or neck.

I sat and told him the exact information from above and he simply said that 90% of my problem is my pillow!!! He gave me a prescription for an orthopedic pillow (which I've tried before, but he ignored that bit of info) and sent me on my way. All he did for an examination was bend my arms and legs a bit, turn my head, tap my joints and listen to my breathing. No x-rays, nothing else. He completely ignored what I said about my years of pain in this area and brushed me off like I was nuts.

Needless to say, I will not recommend him to anyone as his bedside manner is horrible. He is not compasionate to the pain one might be going through and acts as if he knows everything about you just by glancing at you.


I will be getting that MRI on August 6th and hopefully it will reveal the cause of all this pain I have. I will try the pillow again, but I find it hard to believe this could be the cause (90% worth) of my pain!!!

Is it possible that with all the above injuries, numbness, tingling, stiffness, etc., etc. my choice of pillow and sleeping habits is the cause of all this pain?? I know for a fact I don't do any acrobatic moves while I'm sleeping!! Or any head stands, head buts, heavy lifting wife says I am a relatively calm sleeper (once I fall asleep, I do tend to have trouble getting comfortable, but that is another issue all together).

I'll post the MRi results in August...any ideas about my pillow would help.


 Theresa Jones, RN - Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:50 am

User avatar Hi ajpviau,
If you have tried an orthopedic pillow in the past and it proved to be unsuccessful, I would find it difficult to believe that there would be any significant difference if it were used again although you may still want to try it. I would very much appreciate an update with the MRI results.
 ajpviau - Tue Jul 05, 2005 9:06 pm

I will definitely post a reply once I get my MRI results.

I have tried an orthopedic pillow before and it did not work, in fact it seemed to make my neck worse. I will give it another go, just so the docs can't say I didn't try.

I'll keep you all posted!!


 4PtSake - Sat Jul 23, 2005 2:15 am

Sorry you're having so much trouble. I can empathize...I've been dealing with a case manager and orthopedic doctor for 6 months because of a fall I took at work. Talk about being brushed off and people not hearing you! Keep trying, there are good health care folks out there. The physical therapist I've been going to is GREAT! She found some things the doctor didn't.
Anyway, have you ever tried acupuncture? I've been going to an acupunturist for quite some time (until I went on WC anyway) and it can really help with pain. I was nervous at first because I REALLY hate needles but once I had my first treatment I was able to really relax and enjoy not only helped with the pain but helped my energy level and mood as well. It may not be your style but it's something to consider.
Hope your MRI gives you some answers and you can find a treatment that helps.
 ajpviau - Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:21 am

Thanks for the advice. I think I will wait until I get my results from my MRI on the 6th and then decide on a course of action. If they find something, then I can get a specific type of treatment for whatever the problem is and if they say they can't see anything, then I will try anything and everything out there that I already haven't to get rid of this pain. After several years in pain I have forced myself to get some treatment and not take "nothing is wrong" as an answer. Over the years I have just dealt with the pain, becasue I am always told it is my habits and that nothing is wrong inside my shoulder and neck.

We'll see in a few weeks!!
 sissy - Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:08 pm

Dear ajpaivu,
I am so sorry you are having this problem. I have been where you are at and suffered many years until I found the right doctors to diagnose properly my exact problems. I had to leave my home state and move to another, but it was worth it. I am now post-op 9 weeks from a C6-7 discectomy and fusion with instrumentation.

I woke up from this surgey minus all the pain and other symptoms from my problem. I was losing the use of my hands. I would drop everything I tried to hold. I am so delighted that my team of doctors found the problem and gave me way to iliminate all the symptoms. I am now without the pain and able to use my hands again. I am an artist and this was important to me.

I am sure this MRI you are having will give your doctor a good picture of your problems. I also had a CT Myelogram to further diagnose the disc and nerve involvement. I also had an EMG to diagnose the amount of nerve damage.

I am being followed by a Neurosurgeon, an Interventional Pain Management doctor, and I will see the physical therapist as soon as the Neurosurgeon says to. I follow his orders to a tee. I am still wearing my neck brace as well.

It took me years of listening to doctors who told me my pain was in my head. I made a concerted effort to locate these doctors I now see, even leaving my home and relocating in another state. I had spine problems all my life, and only after a bad car accident did I require the additional surgeries. I have had 4 altogether. My pain mgt dr gives me transforaminal nerve blocks, and I am on medication to insure some quality of life.

I am interested in the results of your MRI.

Please remember, there are solutions to your problems, you just have to locate and treat with the right doctors. Please hang in there. I know you are taking a proactive approach to this and you will succeed. I did !
 ajpviau - Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:35 am

Thanks for the support! It's always nice to know you're not the only one going through a certain situation, although I don't wish my pain on anyone! My MRI went well (on the 6th) and it has been just over a week, so I hope to get the results sometime this week. I'm very anxious to see what they found and worried at the same time. I now have some new symptoms which worry me as well. The other day I was having coffee with some friends and asked one of them to pass me the creamer across the table. I took it in my hand and it began to shake so much I just about dropped the creamer. It's not like it was heavy, it was a creamer for pete's sake!! I guess it was jsut the way I was holidng it or something, but I am sure it has something to do with my head and neck.

Well, we will soon find out!! I must add that my current family doctor is great and is the main reason I have gotten the appointment with a rheumatologist and my MRI. He is very proactive as well when it comes to finding out the problem. He wants to learn what it is is almost as much as I do.

Keep you posted!!! (Hopefully soon!!)
 ajpviau - Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:40 pm

Finally had my MRI on August 6th and I just called my doctor's office today to see if the results were in. I was told the report came in and said "no significant abnormalities were found". My doctor has yet to actually take a look at the full report though. If it says no significant abnormalities, does that mean absolutely nothing was found, or just nothing majorly serious? I hope to have a follow up with my doc once he has looked at the results, but it sounds like nothing was found. I'm kind of relieved and upset at the same time. Relieved that nothing major is wrong in there, but upset as this just means I still have no idea what my problem is. Neck pain this bad can't be nothing!! I'll post again once I get more info on my MRI results.

 Theresa Jones, RN - Tue Sep 13, 2005 5:35 am

User avatar Hi ajpviau,
"No significant abnormalities found" would indicate to me that nothing of an outstanding nature is present but by no means does it imply that there is nothing wrong. The entire report needs reviewed by you and your physician to identify the anomaly not just the statement at the end of the report.
 ajpviau - Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:38 pm

Thanks for the info! I'm jumping the gun a little I guess...just want to get all this over with and figure out how I can get rid of the pain. I'll let you know what my docotor says as soon as we meet up.

Thanks again!
 ibcruella - Tue Nov 08, 2005 1:18 am

Please check out this web site. ... /chd1.html

I had similar problems and found my symptoms and a lot of answers here. My pain began in July beginning in my left shoulder.

My Diagnosis and Treatment:

X-rays of wrist, arm, shoulder, and neck ordered.
Result: pinched nerve two areas – C4 & C6

Pain medications ordered. Day time and evening – Morphine, Lodine, Darvon. It takes all of this and a heating pad to make the pain tolerable for a couple of hours.

MRI ordered
Result: confirmed above, due to bone spurs

Dr ordered intravenous medication to knock me out for a couple of days to give me some relief from the severity of the pain.

Treatment: Spinal epidural injection of cortisone to relieve pain and inflammation in a series of 3 injections 2-3 weeks apart. I had 2nd injection done last week.

1st injection resulted in 20% relief of pain in left arm but pain developed in neck and shoulder, and headaches.

2nd injection resulted in total 80% reduction of pain. However, pain has started in right arm – wrist and elbow area, more headaches, pain still in neck and shoulder.

New sharp stabbing pain on right side under rib. Research on the internet indicates spine and neck involvement.

Dr said pain was present in other areas but the severity of pain in the left arm masked the other areas. I was beginning to think I was crazy.

3rd injection scheduled next week.

Today I opted to schedule surgery to remove the bone spurs in December. I don’t want the pain to come back ever. I am tried of the pain and drugs, not to mention the emotional and physical toll this has taken on me.

Best of luck to you!! Hope it helps.
 ajpviau - Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:52 pm

Sorry for the long delay since the last update...I've been very busy and finally got to see my doctor for 5 minutes the other day.

Apparently, the MRI showed nothing at all wrong inside. My doctor said that this would indicate a muscular type of problem if nothing showed up. What does this mean? I have to visit him again as I only got to sneak in to see him for a few minutes. I really am beginning to think I am crazy and all this pain is in my head? What does muscular problems mean? Are they torn or strained. I don't think it is a weakness problem as I have very muscular and broad shoulders. What kind of tests can be done to the area to see what's wrong with the muscles?

I am guessing that I will be told to do physio again, but what do I do if physio makes the pain worse? Do I fight through it and hope it gets better?

Well, I will send through another update once I finally get in to see my docotor for a real visit. This is really starting to take it's toll on me mentally. I just bought a house and I am having trouble renovating because the pain forces me to limit the time I spend there.

Thanks for the web site info ibcruella!

 sneakerlady - Sat Nov 26, 2005 8:23 pm

FIrst of all just because a muscular injury doesn't show up on an MRI doesn't mean that it is all in your head. Not everything can show up on tests. I have been fighting with a hip/leg pain problem for 3 years that is undiagnosable, physio doesn't work, but the pain is real and reproducable.
Your pain is very real and you need to be treated for it. This isn't my specialty, so I am not going to suggest specific diagnostic tests for you, but I would definitely suggest consulting a pain clinic. Even if your doctor is unable to diagnose exactly what is happening muscularly, the experts at a pain clinic will be able to help you to significantly reduce your pain. Keep going to your doctors and working for a diagnosis, tell them about your episode of weakness with the creamer, and also try to hunt out a pain clinic. Don't give up. Keep us posted.
 wwe52 - Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:17 pm

i was wonderingwhat is a torn rotater cup in a shoulder,is there surgery for this and is there surgery for torn mucsell and ligiments

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