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Swollen right forearm, left shoulder, neck & upper back pain

I've had ongoing back problems for the last 2 years and have had all manner of investigations; blood tests, xrays and MRI's and all that has appeared is a slight degeneration in some discs in my neck which doctors say is nothing to be concerned about. I went abroad last June and on the flight my left shoulder and right arm swelled significantly and despite taking anti-inflammatories, the swelling has never disappeared completely. The last few months I had seen a remarkable improvement with my back and despite the slight swellings of my arm and shoulder (to which my GP just shrugs his shoulders) I had been regaining some normality to my life. Last weekend, I felt the pressure in my upper back (between my shoulder blades) return and my arm and shoulder started to swell to quite a worrying size. I visited my GP who agreed that is was not right and prescribed yet more anti-inflammatories. The swelling reduced somewhat but again has not gone completely and I now have such pain going up my neck with a feeling of pressure at the base of my head. Certain movements of my neck send sharp shooting pains up my head. I visited the local A&E department last night and was made to feel like I was wasting their time and that all I was feeling was 'aches & pains'. I'm at the end of my tether - I know that what I am experiencing is not normal yet I have just been passed from doctor to doctor and given more and more pain relief, which really don't help very much and am made to feel that it's all in my head. Some advice would be much appreciated as I don't know where next to turn to!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I was getting shrugs and "don't know" responses and getting no where largely because I have fibromyalgia and every symptom I have gets tied to the fibro. When the pain and symptoms where having a major impact on my quality of life. I finally insist on a MRI. When my GP read the MRI report she wasn't concerned at all.

    I finally made an appointment myself with a spine specialist who could actually VIEW and UNDERSTAND the MRI images. I've had two opinions and both recommend surgery.

    The GP typically doesn't have the qualifications to understand the MRI report and mine had no interest in the images. Yours is probably the same.

    Sounds like you will need to advocate for yourself and pushed the issue, so you can see a specialist.
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