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Painful shoulder and arm ?from spine????

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, I am just wanting some advice here as i cant get in to see a Dr or PT till monday.
Since i had my lumbar fusion I have had neck problems- not a big deal but uncomfortable but I am also sleeping differently etc.
Earlier this week I had an MRI and to save room in the machine I put my arms above my head. Since then I have had bad pain in my shoulder and arm radiating to my palm.
the pain is also in my neck all on the left side.
I cant lift that arm without using the right arm to pick up the left :))(
I am already taking pain meds and have upped them the last few days but it hasn't touched this pain.
I dont know if the pain is from my shoulder maybe rotator cuff injury or from my neck.
I want to get in to see a Dr before I try for physiotherapy as I think am X-ray would be good. i dont want ot pay for a pointless appointment with a physio if I need an x-ray as I am really short on cash.

Has anyone else had this sort of problem?????

Any advice would be gratefully accepted

Blessings Sara O:)


  • Sorry for your new pain!

    I had cervical surgery July 31st and around October (after new exercise in PT) I developed increased neck pain, inability to lift my right arm and pain in my arm..just like pre-surgery.
    New neck mri did not show any re-herniation of loose hardware. After exam, doctor thinks it might be my rotator cuff. He gave me a shot in my shoulder, which helped, and sent me for an MRI. I see him a week from today.
    I would say give it a couple days, since you were in a akward position in the tube...any maybe mention it to the doctor if it doesn't resolve.
    I find I am getting alot of weird pains all over since my surgery....I am assuming it is my bodies reaction to healing. Good luck, Donna
  • like donna said i would give it the weekend.
    iv been in positions like that.
    EXAMPLE: my angiogram. they had my left arm twisted in a unatural postion. ok not that un natural but enough for it to cause me alot of pain in my arm/shoulder/up into my neck.
    it took a few days for it to calm down. i still have it on occasion and today will be the 7th day. i will move it and sometmes during the day UGGHHHHHH im like what did they do to me!!!! i know if i have to put my arms above me, it causes wicked SPASMS.
    it could just be possibly the muscles causing you HAVIC on your body.
    but of course you know im not telling you thats what it is ;) ;)
    heat heat heat heat and more heat. try to baby that arm for a few more days. then of course if its still HURTING yeah see your gp on monday.
    i know money sucks for sure.

    lots of huggies
    terri >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
    a xray will certainly show if its spazed up etc.

    i wish you the best of luck and i hope you FEEL BETTER LOVE BUGGY >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
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  • I had my lumbar fusion in March. I woke up in August with what I thought was a stiff neck. After a month I went to my surgeon and he did an xray. My C6/C7 looked to have little height and he was concerned that I had a herniation. After the MRI we found 2 slight bulges but no herniation or nerve impingement. Even without direct nerve pinching I still have a lot of pain in my neck, shoulders, and left bicep. Since starting PT the pain in my elbow, arm and hand is gone. I just got a tens unit to use on my shoulders and neck.

    My doctor thinks I also have bicep tendonitis (2 things in same area) I got a shot or cortizone in my tendon last week. It seems to take the edge off but I may still need an MRI of my shoulder.

    So frustrating! Hard to find pain relief when you have had major surgery and been on pain meds for awhile before surgery but I am getting through. I feel for what you are going through and hope that you get it resolved soon.

    Take care!
  • Awww! You've had enough pain to last a lifetime already. I'm thinking you may have pulled a tendon or muscle if the arm pain started right after the MRI. I agree with Terri...heat, heat, heat and rest your arm as much as possible. Hope it lets up some for you.
  • to a medical centre as soon as they open this morning.
    I had such a bad night with about 2 hrs sleep despite taking lots of extra Oxycontin and Endone (perc).
    Even at rest it is so painful that I cant go a whole weekend like this. I figure if I go early I may be able to have an X-ray (only open till 12)
    Problem now is getting dressed. :))(
    I am going to call a friend to help me and take me there as I am a bit too wafty to drive and I cant lift my arm to the wheel.
    Thanks for your responses, I really apprecieate it.

    Yes I have been using heat and ice - funny i never use ice on my back but I felt i relly needed it on my shoulder. Dont think it helped any =))

    Blessings Sara O:)
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  • I saw the Dr this morning. Unfortunately all i could get into is a medical clinic where you walk in one door and straight out the other. Had to virtually nail him to the chair to get any answers.
    His first words were- well you are on enough meds I cant give you more! Gee thanks!!!!
    I said I didn't come for drugs but to find an answer to the pain.
    "well it is either a rotator cuff or your neck- sign here" ~X(
    I refused to sign until he had at least done an exam and ordered an x-ray.
    So had the x-ray and there is some lipping c5/6 and osteophytic enroachment to the exit foramen of c5/6 and c6/7.
    Resylt. He said it is a combination of both. The neck is causeing the referred pain into the arm and the hand and the rotator cuff is causing the pain in arm not being able to be lifted.
    At least now I can see a physio on Monday and get some treatment. I thonk ultrasound would be good but I will leave it up to them.

    Thanks for your responses Donna, Terri and Joy it is so good to know we have support here and I just seem to be going through a difficult patch. I just couldn't cope with the pain mnay more last night it was worse then my lumbar post op pain :''(
    Anyway it is not so bad at the moment and I have just had a long sleep so you always feel better after that.
    5kids it sounds pretty much the same as what you have. I did mention bad neck to the O/S a few months ago but he cant do anything about it as I am workers comp for my lumbar and that is all he can advise on.

    Thanks again

    >:D< >:D< Sara
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