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Upper Left Back/Shoulder Pain that Extends down Left Side/Ribcage & Arm

Mom of 3MMom of 3 Posts: 3
edited 10/25/2015 - 6:50 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi All,

I've been having horrible pain in my mid-upper left back and shoulder for almost 2 years. I swear it all began when I stepped off a curb and felt a jarring sensation in my mid-back because the next day this little tug started adjacent to that spot and it's gotten progressively more painful and frequent ever since.

Where's my pain:
The pain literally runs in a rectangle around my upper left side. If you drew a line from my neck across to my left shoulder, down my side/ribs to my waist, across to my spine and then back up to the starting position, that would pretty much sum up where I have burning/aching/trigger points much of the day. Sometimes the pain's mostly along my side, sometimes at the base of my ribcage, sometimes along my spine and in my traps. I have virtually NO pain at night ever and much of the time I'm OK when I am sitting down (though I do feel it a bit at times but it's not horrible.) I also have intermittent aching/numbness/sensation of falling asleep in my left arm on occasion. The pain is horrible when I have it and I literally feel like I'm dying sometimes when all areas are acting up at the same time.

Tests I've had:
MRI of the cervical spine (showed mild herniation of C5-6 which the spine doc said he felt with 99% certainty was my problem), MRI (lying down) of thoracic spine (showed mild disc bulge at T6-7 with no cord impingement), CT of the abdomen and pelvis (to rule out kidneys and other internal issues), shoulder xray and chest xray.

Treatments I've tried:
PT for 6 weeks, massage, chiropractor, dry needling, anti-inflammatories, pain management (trigger point injections with lidocaine), muscle relaxers, and even essential oils! The only thing I have not tried is acupuncture (which may be next).

- Anyone else have side/rib pain?? I never see that listed when people talk about back pain so I feel alone with this. Pain management doc says it's not caused by thoracic bulge but could that be wrong?? The herniation/bulge is EXACTLY where I felt the sharp pain when unexpectedly walking off the curb and directly across from where my side pain and rhomboid pain is.
- Would a cervical and thoracic MRI rule out any kind of tumors in my lungs/chest or uncover abnormalities in my ribs or intercostal muscles?
- Could this be just an issue with my serratus anterior or lats? Other muscles? Subluxating rib??
- What else would you all try or suggest?

I feel like I'm going insane (I know many of you share that feeling and I'm SO sorry - it's awful!). Pain management doc tells me not to give up hope but I really feel like I'll be dealing with this forever. Would love any advice you all have.

Thank you! And hope you all find answers, too.
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