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  • Unexplained chronic shoulder pain

    When I was 19 I woke up one morning with pain in both my shoulders. I have never particiated in much sport and have never injured them in any way. Nine years later I still have that pain. I have seen Dr's, physios, osteopaths, taken anti-inflamitries, had cortisone injections and acupuncture. Nothing has worked!! The pain is in both rotator cuffs (worse in the left) and sometimes radiates down to the elbow. X-rays are normal and ultrasound has shown some calcification in the supraspinatus of the left shoulder and slightly thickened subacromial subdeltoid bursa in both shoulders with minor bunching of the subdeltoid bursa with abduction in the right shoulder. My pain is not constant, I have good weeks and bad weeks, night time is the worst, quick movements will cause intense stabbing pain and things like changing gears whilst driving is often painfull. I do have some restricted movement in both shoulders but particularly in the left.

    The reason I am posting this is because I went to see a Rheumatologist today who told me that my pain is not severe enough to do anything about and that I will have to live with it. I refuse to believe this, but I don't know what else to do, I have tried everything to try to fix them and although some things give some relief, the pain has never completely gone away. Has any one else had chronic shoulder pain without injuring them in any way? Does any have any suggestions of where I go from here?

    I would appreciate any help you can give.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Aims
    When I was 19 I woke up one morning with pain in both my shoulders. I have never particiated in much sport and have never injured them in any way. Nine years later I still have that pain. I have seen Dr's, physios, osteopaths, taken anti-inflamitries, had cortisone injections and acupuncture. Nothing has worked!! The pain is in both rotator cuffs (worse in the left) and sometimes radiates down to the elbow. X-rays are normal and ultrasound has shown some calcification in the supraspinatus of the left shoulder and slightly thickened subacromial subdeltoid bursa in both shoulders with minor bunching of the subdeltoid bursa with abduction in the right shoulder. My pain is not constant, I have good weeks and bad weeks, night time is the worst, quick movements will cause intense stabbing pain and things like changing gears whilst driving is often painfull. I do have some restricted movement in both shoulders but particularly in the left.

    The reason I am posting this is because I went to see a Rheumatologist today who told me that my pain is not severe enough to do anything about and that I will have to live with it. I refuse to believe this, but I don't know what else to do, I have tried everything to try to fix them and although some things give some relief, the pain has never completely gone away. Has any one else had chronic shoulder pain without injuring them in any way? Does any have any suggestions of where I go from here?

    I would appreciate any help you can give.
    Hi there,

    I can fully understand how frustrated you are at the moment. I've had chronic shoulder pain for about 3 years as a result of multi directional instability also called MDI. I've tried lots of conservative treatment and am due to have an operation next week to fix the problem.

    Like you I tried all sorts of treatment including physio, hydro injections, cortisone injections, anti-inflammatories, clinical pilates and dry needling. I saw two shoulder spe******ts and have decided to go with the second spe******t I saw that has treated a lot of elite athletes, including the Australian Cricket team.

    I would highly recommend going to see a sports physician. That is based on experience with GPs, physios and sports physicians. They will be able to arrange the appropriate scans and refer on as necessary. I would suggest you go to a sports physician that works with an elite sporting team. I know of some good sports physicians in Melbourne, Canberra and London, UK. Let me know if you want me to send you a private message with the details.

    Good luck and let us know how you are going !!

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi,

      Thanks for your reply. I did see a sports physician about three years ago, all he did was inject a local aneasthetic into my shoulder and send me for xrays that came back normal. He then probably told me there was nothing more he could do because I never went back to see him. It would be great if you could give me the name of a good sports physician in Melbourne. I'm getting really sick of people saying that can't help me, or thinking that I don't have a problem because I have never injured my shoulders and I'm too young for it to just occur.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well as far as I understand and I am no expert, Xrays do not should much for shoulder injuries unless it has something to do with the bones. It would be worthwhile to get a MRI done. And hey I understand what you mean when people say they can't help you, I've had physio's, chiro's and sports doctors say they can't help me or tell me that I need to go get surgery. I know that this does sound disheartening but there is light at the end of the tunnel. A good sports physiician who knows shoulders will really be of benefit.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Aims
          Hi,

          Thanks for your reply. I did see a sports physician about three years ago, all he did was inject a local aneasthetic into my shoulder and send me for xrays that came back normal. He then probably told me there was nothing more he could do because I never went back to see him. It would be great if you could give me the name of a good sports physician in Melbourne. I'm getting really sick of people saying that can't help me, or thinking that I don't have a problem because I have never injured my shoulders and I'm too young for it to just occur.
          Hi Aims,

          I've sent you a private message with the name of my sports physician.

          I agree with Ang x-rays won't often show much. There are better scans depending on your problem. A good sports physician that has dealt with shoulder injuries should be able to help you.

          Let us know how you go.

          Comment


          • #6
            aims,

            i am 100% certain that the sports physician kjwilkin will provide you will tell you the same thing, and not provide anything new. it sounds to me like you have exhausted all avenues of treatment.


            the only thing i can tell u is that my older brother had pain in his shoulders for most of his life but it healed one day and it never came back. i thnk it went away when he turned 40 (mind you he got other pains as well) and he didnt have to see a spe******t or pay any money.

            i guess the morale of the story is that the human body is amazing and quite unpredictable.

            Comment


            • #7
              Aims,

              I think that it is worthwhile checking it out. I thought that I had almost exhausted all possible avenues with my shoulder and then I found an amazing physio and rehab sports physician and things are getting better. The pain sounds like that you could of done something to your shoulder, sometimes just an overstretch of the muscle can cause quite a bit of pain.

              I guess some people may think that it is strange that I always say go and get it checked out by a sports physician who knows and understands shoulders and the reason why is because I have been to many sports doctors and sports physio's who haven't spe******ed in shoulders and have claimed that they had the answer. So get it checked out. I'm sure that they will be able to guide you in how to manage the pain or what things you can try to get some improvement.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Guys for all your comments.

                I will make an appoitment with the sports physician today, and I'll let you know how I get on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Aims
                  Thanks Guys for all your comments.

                  I will make an appoitment with the sports physician today, and I'll let you know how I get on.
                  I hope you get on well. I found a lot of dead ends myself - felt as though Iwas going looney -but I know the spasms and pain is real. Like you i get pain down elbow to fingers but its my right arm and shoulder the problem. I get another verdict on wed.. I take a lot of natural medicine as i am very allergic to 20th century medication as in fish oil ,emu oil and potassium. Just make sure its not with calcium added or you will end up with calcium deposits or spurrs. Good luck. Hope you get a verdict soon.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Guys,

                    Well I went to see the sports physician klwilkin recommended and he was great. I think he was a little shocked that various Dr's have been telling me lately that I'm just going to have to live with the pain and take anti-inflammatries on and off for the rest of my life. Now, I'm no Dr but I do know that that approach only treats the symptom (i.e. tendonitis) and not the actual cause, so its not going to accomplish anything. Anyway, back to the sports Dr; he thinks I have a shoulder instability due to being quite flexible, and the bad posture I had all those years ago led to the pain (or something like that). He also said that my scapulas do not move in synchrony (which I was already aware of) and he made the comment that I'm almost dislocating my shoulders to move them in certain directions. So, his recommendation is that I see a physio who specialises in shoulders and with him I will work on my moving posture as my resting posture is pretty good now. I have seen physios before but I don't think any of them have taken this approach so I'm happy to give this a try and see how I go, my first appointment is today.

                    It?s fantastic that I have finally found someone that is interested in treating the actual cause of my pain and not the symptoms and I find it shocking that so many Dr?s just want to give me pills and won?t believe that they don?t work. A couple of weeks ago I actually took some anti-inflammatries to prove my point that they don?t work. They were a new kind which apparently rarely cause side affects in people, but that wasn?t a concern, as I have never reacted badly to any medication. Anyway, after taking 3 pills in 3 days I got severe pain in my feet, up my legs and into by hands, I kept going hot and cold, feeling nauseous and light headed. These symptoms lasted for over a week. Never again will I take pills for my shoulders!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi Aims,

                      I'm so pleased that my sports physician was able to help you. It really makes a big difference in seeing someone good. I think it gives you new hope.

                      Like you I have loose ligaments and developed poor posture over time. I've had my surgery and already noticing a big difference.

                      Let us know how you go with the physio.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with the no pill opinion. I feel bad enough without getting the neausea from anti-inflam. I feel the best remedy is to have good support and understanding in family. friends, physios doctors and ofcourse its a great relief to know all you guys are out there going through the same experience as I am.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Unexplained chronic shoulder pain

                          Hi Aims

                          I have exactly the same problem have had some Chinese massage and acupuncture with some relief but had to put that on hold because of an appendix operation. The massage is extremely painful as it involves scraping and cupping so I am reluctant to continue with it.

                          My problem has been diagnosed as an inflammed bursa (and possibly low level frozen shoulder). I am going to make an appointment with a sports physician this week to see if it can be treated.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kfw
                            Hi Aims

                            I have exactly the same problem have had some Chinese massage and acupuncture with some relief but had to put that on hold because of an appendix operation. The massage is extremely painful as it involves scraping and cupping so I am reluctant to continue with it.

                            My problem has been diagnosed as an inflammed bursa (and possibly low level frozen shoulder). I am going to make an appointment with a sports physician this week to see if it can be treated.
                            Hi there,

                            I think you're definitely doing the right thing in going to see a sports physician. Whereabouts are you based ? I have a great sports physician in Melbourne. Let me know if you want his details.

                            By seeing a sports physician they will be able to help you to get to the bottom of the problem instead of using temporary measures.

                            Good luck !

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Unexplained chronic shoulder pain

                              Thanks - I live in Sydney. Think I will try Orthosports at Concord.

                              Comment

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