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Determining the exact cause of nerve pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Why is this so hard?

Originally my pain began in my shoulder, halfway between the outside of my arm and my neck. It started when I was leaning my weight on my left arm and reaching for something and I heard a rubber-band snap like sound. After that my shoulder got tighter and tighter, and then the tingling began.

I went to the ER because everything from my neck to my arm was pins and needless, scared me...didn't know if it was a stroke or what.

Ever since then it's gotten worse, but multiple MRI's showed narrowing of the C6-C7 disc space, but an EMG and Myleogram(sp) seemed to show nothing. I had epidurals and cortizone injections that did nothing to my neck and shoulder respectively.

I'm having another EMG done soon, and I just want this solved. My shoulder is still immensely weak, twitchy and sore with nerve symptoms and headaches down to my shoulder blade and left hand/forefinger side.

I just hope they can pinpoint what causes it, as I've been told everything from subacromical bursitis to cervical radiculopathy. Does anyone with experience in a similar issue know how they solved the source of your pain?


  • Another diagnostic test is caused a selective nerve root block. It works if the PM has an idea of where the pain might be coming from. If it works the information is helpful, but if it doesn't work less useful. Its best done when the pain is at its worst, and they inject local and sometimes steroids. I think I may have messed mine up since I laid flat afterwards (non-movement makes my pain better). Because they inject right into the nerve root area, it is a little riskier in terms of potential to aggravate pain (hit the nerve directly) and actually do some real damage. Only really confident PM's will do it.
  • I have the same pain. I have cervical stenosis, and the pain is caused from a pinched nerve in my neck caused from the stenosis, but I also have bone spurs on my neck and degenerative disc disease also, so it could be a combination of those. They found my stenosis from an MRI and xrays. Did you try Ibuprofen, if that doesn't work, ask your dr for Celebrex and see if that helps, or a muscle relaxer. Also, Physical Therapy can help the pain also.
  • Yeah I don't need medication, already on opiates for that.

    I asked because I'm looking for people with experience trying to determine the cause, and source of the pain. Mine began in the shoulder and moved to the neck, when doctors check out both they don't think either is the cause.
  • Hi CP,

    I am surprised you've not gotten some good answers. I wish I had something helpful to say, but I logged in to suggest you write the subject line differently like:
    "Neck pain that starts in your shoulder?" - or something like that. Maybe those in your shoes can help out.

    I have nerve pain issues, but mine started in my neck and traveled outward to my right hand and then back to my right shoulder - all of it over many years. After three surgeries, I have more pain and no improvement, plus I'm told I have nerve damage and sorry we can't help.
  • Sure sounds like a pinched nerve or something somewhere.
    But the noise you describe is a bit unusual.
    I'm wondering if something like a joint or ligament has popped out of place, is now unable to function properly, and is causing those symptoms.
    I'd be heading for a physiotherapist lickity split.
  • Yeah Peter, it started with a pop/crack sound from my shoulder and spread to my neck and arm.

    They've never done extensive MRI's or anything on the shoulder, but the spinal ones seem to not show a problem that could be bad enough. Thing is I get tingling down to my shoulder blade as well.

    I'm hoping it's just the shoulder, but it's been 2+ years of intense pain that I can't solve. I'm at the end of my rope so to speak, and I can't take it anymore.
  • But you haven't tried remedial massage yet, have you?
    I had very similar pains and she found the culprit muscle knots immediately. She is now gradually untangling them.
    The shoulder blades muscles were the ones that gave me the neckaches, headaches, sore arms and shoulders.
    I still have neck pain from arthritis, but with the other now under control I can tell which one is causing the pain.
  • I agrree with Peter that massage is the best..its just alot of money when your out of work...
  • I think this is TOS, or Thoracic outlet syndrome. i had the same sensation in the same location as you- like a rubber band. I've been in pain ever since. I'm just starting the process. They checked for Shoulder impingement, and cervical impingement and sent me to PT. It didn't help.

    Now i'm seeng a new PT and she seems to be treating me for TOS (but hasn't said so).

    My Symptoms

    -Pain, tightness in back if neck, back of skull, left side of neck, left shoulder blade.
    -Sometimes aches in bicep and outer shoulder region.
    -intermittant numbness and tingling in pinky, ring finger and thumb.
    -wake up during sleep trynig to find comfortable position.
    -Pain is sometimes minimal, sometimes really bad.
    -stress or lack of sleep makes it worse.

    Do you have these symptoms too?

    Maybe we have TOS.
  • I found way b4 I even had surgery that if I slept with soft collar on that I didn't wake up as much during the night with all the tingling and numbness. which meant I was able to sleep a bit better and that made 4 a better day.
    I find myself even 6 months after surgery that when I feel things getting worse I will wear soft collar to bed and it helps some of the time.
    hugs to all...Patsy
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