shoulder pains, possibly caused by neck one can diagnose me, why?

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 1/23/2012 11:04 AM (GMT -6)   
HI my name is RUMONDA, i have had a acdf surgery but has also had problems with my shoulder. my specialist gave me a cortisone shot that did not help and im wondering why he just cant tell me what the problem is im having. he first said it may be mild capsulitis and then said rotator cuff tendonitis. i have already had 4 weeks of therapy which seem to have made it worst. one arm hangs longer in length and the use of my shoulder and arm is becoming limited daily. my shoulder now curves outwards as if it is deformed now and i dont see how therapy will correct this. the strength in my arm is very poor also. i experience numbness in my legs and arm. at times my hand and in my specialist says he sees no structual damage to my shoulder through my testing...(xray/mri) so what is wrong with me? confused mad tongue

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 1/23/2012 11:17 AM (GMT -6)   
What type of specialist are you seeing? maybe you need to go
and see an orthopedic surgeon that only works on shoulders...
and you might want to see a neurologist and get an emg tests done
to see if nerves are being pinched...Others will come by with
better answers so listen and pay attention to them....
Hope your feeling better soon, many well wishes and prayers
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16416
   Posted 1/23/2012 11:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rumonda, I am sorry to hear you are having such a rough time. Please keep in mind none of us are drs here at the forum, we only speak from our own personal experiences. You really have a situation where your neck problems can cause your shoulder to hurt, or you could have a separate problem with the shoulder itself, but only a dr can make a diagnosis for you.

Since the dr did the injection I imagine he thought it may be some inflammation in there and many times a steroid helps calm down inflammation. it is not always a 100% that an injection will take care of the problem. Adding physical therapy to the mix is pretty much standard when a dr is treating someone conservatively. Have you had an MRI of the shoulder, if so do you know the results of the MRI?

You may want to consider getting a second opinion with a dr that deals with shoulders only instead of the entire body. I find that many times if I have a situation such as yours its best to see someone that only treats one area of the body only, its their specialty. You could probably go online in your area and look and see if you can find one and then call and find out if they accept your insurance and what you would need in order to get an appt with the dr. If you cannot find a shoulder only dr then look at maybe a sports medicine dr.

Good luck and keep us posted on what you find out.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 1/23/2012 1:38 PM (GMT -6)   

I too have shoulder/upper back/lower back pain associated with my neck problems...

Because of all the damage I had on the right side of my neck... I tended to hold my head over to the right and in turn my right shoulder was raised higher than the left....

Every single Dr... I went to made a comment on the way I held my head... I was never aware of it... one of my Dr's told me I had: spasmodic torticollis- is a painful condition in which your neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing your head to twist or turn to one side.

Of course this radiates down the back and into the shoulders... I was constantly having muscle spasms.... it's more a body mechanic thing so nothing will show up on MRI's.

Botox was the only procedure I had to relieve the symptoms... as a matter of fact... I just had the injections 3 months ago and I can tell they are wearing off as I am starting to wake up with a pulled neck & shoulder strain.

My physical therapist told me my shoulder blades "winged" out... to correct this I had to re-build my muscles.... I did physical therapy for two months 3X's a day and it was hell...

Like I said before to you... I wish I could tell you I am without pain 10 months post op... I am not... but I think I had a lot more done to my neck... it was and still is very, very painful... I am sorry for what you are going through... take it day by day.

I was in a hard collar for eight weeks straight... it NEVER came off.... I had to sleep and shower with it... then after 8 weeks I went into a soft collar for 4 weeks... it was hell because all my muscles were not used to working holding my head up...

Still by 5-or 6 every night I HAVE to lay down... by neck cannot hold up my head... I get out of bed around 10.... I spend most of my day in bed.... but try to remain as active as I can.
Posterior cervicothoracic decompression and instrumented fusion (three levels) for spondylosis and stenosis with severe radiculopathy.. surgery performed 3/31/11

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 1/23/2012 5:46 PM (GMT -6)   
I am seeing a neurologist and an orthopedics specialist. i know you guys are not doctors, just seeking stories almost related to mine. thanks for your input. by the way Draka, did the physical therapy help.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5013
   Posted 1/23/2012 6:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi nanase,
X-ray only shows bone, and MRI doesn't show everything in the shoulder either. My X-ray showed bone spurs, nothing more. My MRI didn't show the chondromalacia, rotator cuff tears, my tear in the biceps or synovitis, although it did show bursitis and tendonitis.

PT only made my inflamed and impinged shoulder worse. A lot worse!

Steroid injection didn't work the way the first doc did it. The second and 3rd docs did it differently and it stopped pain for a month or so each time. But all you get is 3, so after that it's surgery or live on NSAIDS, which don't work very well.

Surgery isn't a lot of fun and so far hasn't relieved much of my pain. But part of that is because I had so many problems the shoulder was "irrepairable." The parts that were fixed are better, but now there are more pains from different parts. If you don't let it go you can have better results. I recommend getting another opinion. I needed 4.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 615
   Posted 1/23/2012 10:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Rumonda...I am so sorry you are in such pain. My son had similar problems with his shoulder and seen several docs but the one who was able to help him was a sports med. doc. I hope you get some good advice that will be of some help to you. Keep us posted as to what you find out.

Take care, Amy
Chronic Pain(nerve), fibro, mild depression and a few others

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3696
   Posted 1/24/2012 12:52 AM (GMT -6)   
nanase every since I have had my first disk fusion I have had problems with my right shoulder drooping a couple of inches lower than left shoulder. I am not sure if it is from the actual disk fusion, or possibly from my other disk problems as no one has been able to give me a answer as to the exact cause. Anyway I tend to lean forward and to the right, so I use a cain to help with my balance when I walk.
 I know well,  the frustation one can have with not getting a firm diagnosis, I have a group of symptoms that tend to come and then go and when they leave I am often left with some type of deficit, some doctors have suggested they think I might have MS, one doctor a neurologist even told me I had Parkinsons and had me on Parkinsons medications for over two years. A different neurologist disagreed and sent me to a movement disorder clinic in Chicago, they said I did not have Parkinsons and that I should be weaned off the medications I was on. But they said I had some kind of movement disorder, and further tests should be done. I have seen two other neurologist since that time and they say everything is caused by my back, and refuse to do further testing, ie test the spinal fluid and other test, I did convince one of them to do a MRI of my brain and it showed spots but my doctor does not believe it is from MS but does not know what it is! And refuses to do anything more to find out!  So I continue to continue, is all my symptoms from my back? Is it from MS? or something else entirely? This has been going on for many many  years. So I do know what it is like to live with somethings that seems to have no explanation. Over time I have lost strength in both my arms and my legs and my reflexes are not right. Some movements in my arms I can nolonger do. That is why I gave up sculpture.  I started having severe charley horses in not just my legs but arms hands and feet and neck and back, I get them every where! So my spinal pain management doctor,  put me on Baclofen, which was a real Godsend, he had to titrate the dosage up to the maximum,  I take 30 mg every eight hours, but no one has given me a reason for me having the spasms. It is just one of those things I guess?????
Anyway I tell you these things,just to let you know that you are not alone, and it is frustrating sometimes not to be able to get answers! So I can empathize with you!  I really can! As trite as this might sound, I will say it anyway. Hang in there, and keep pressing for answers! I do wish you well!
White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!

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   Posted 1/24/2012 5:20 PM (GMT -6)   
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Post Edited By Moderator (Screaming Eagle) : 1/24/2012 3:42:08 PM (GMT-7)

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