I went through a very similar situation than you have over the past two months before I finally found an answer to what my problems were.
I am or was a weight lifter and one day on the middle of July, I was performing an exercise (shrugs) that contained more than 300 Lbs. During a set of the exercise I felt a slight pull in my left Lat. area feeling no pain and thought it was nothing. After waking the next day my neck was a little sore from my workout and I assumed it was from the incident I mentioned. The next day after waking up my neck to my Lat. was sore. I was certain I had pulled a muscle because in the following days my traps. Were hurting. I had pain that stemmed from the left side of my neck all the way into the back of my left shoulder.
After dealing with what I thought was a simple pulled muscle for two weeks I decided to go to a local doctor hoping to receive some non steroidal anti-inflammatory meds to try to heal the muscle faster because I was anxious to get back into them gym and start lifting again. The DR gave me some NSAI's and a prescription of muscle relaxers. She also too me that I needed to go to physical therapy. I continued to go to work while enduring a lot of pain. Approximately two weeks after seeing the initial doctor I decided to go see another in hopes he could help me with my issue. Again this doctor agreed with the first doctor and told me I needed physical therapy as well. I asked that doctor if he thought an orthopedic doctor might be able to give me some type of cortisone shot in the torn muscle so the pain would subside, because the pain I was going through at this point was unbearable. The doctor told me the orthopedic doctor might be able to help me so he set up a referral and an appointment for me to see one.
After consulting with the Orthopedic doctor about all of my issues and explained all the incidents that had occurred that led to my injury he quickly decided that I had an issue with my shoulder and collarbone. He gave me a cortisone shot in the left shoulder. After leaving his office the pain that I had been enduring was very minimal and seemed that it was going to go away. I also more than once told him my neck was in pain but he seemed to brush off what I was telling him. He did tell me before I left that if my neck continued to hurt let him know. So three after getting another appointment with the orthopedic doctor he came into my room where I was lying on the patient bed, in complete misery from the pain that had spread down into my left arm. He asked me if I was still hurting and obviously told him yes. He immediately said come out here we need to get an MRI in you. His office set up an appointment for an MRI to be administered on me for the next day. After arriving and before getting onto the MRI bed, I told the Radiologist Tech. that my pain was in my neck on the left side as well as my shoulder. She told me they, being the Radiologist I guess would take a look at that region and work their way around.
The next day I received a phone call from the orthopedic doctors office. The lady told me the doctor wanted to let me know that my left shoulder looked good and there were no problems with it. I then asked her if that was all that was ordered/viewed on the MRI, and she said yes. I was more or less told by them, sorry we can’t help you good luck.
I was in so much pain and had already seen three doctors with one being a specialist. I was very lost, not knowing what was wrong with me, who else should I turn to, and how long am I going to have to endure this beyond miserable pain. I decided to set up an appointment with a chiropractor. The chiropractor listened to all the events that had taken place as well as from me initially feeling the pain to all of the doctor visits I had been to in search of an answer. The chiropractor did a numerous amount of motion tests with my left arm and immediately after he completed the tests, he determined that he thought there was an issue with a disc in my neck. The chiropractor called the initial doctor I had seen and told her what he had observed and let her know that the pain meds I was on were not helping me at all. The initial doctor called the local hospital and got me in STAT for an MRI.
I was administered an MRI on my neck and spinal area. I went home and about an hour later I received a call from the initial doctor’s office telling me the MRI had been read and I had a large herniated disc in my neck. The next day I went to the hospital and got a copy of the MRI on a compact disc as well as the radiologists report. The report stated in my C5-C6, there was a large posterolateral to lateral soft disc herniation. The report also read there was compression of the left side of the cord and severe compression of the C6 nerve root was expected. I took the compact disc to the chiropractor the next day and after reviewing it, he said he didn’t think there was anyway I would be able to have the disc fixed other than surgery. The chiropractor set me up an appointment with a fantastic neurosurgeon in Memphis and after consulting with him; I was told he highly recommended me to under go a surgery called Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion (ACDF).
I had surgery one week ago and I was completely relieved of the all of the pain in the recovery room. I’m one week into my recovery and other than not being able to lift anything heavy I feel like a new person.
I guess my point in all of this is that it seems the general family doctors, at least the one’s I endured, are in to big of a hurry to right a prescription and move on to the next room without paying much attention to us. I am a firm believer from now on to request an MRI because the spinal cord controls everything.