25 y.o. with ongoing shoulder/ back pain

by molly

Hi there.

I am 25 years old and have been dealing with ongoing shoulder/ back pain for the last year.

It started last August and I felt a burning/ constant pain behind my right shoulder blade. I went to a chiropractor and she said everything was really inflamed and she wouldn't work on me until it all calmed down. I did PT/ treatments with her for 4-5 months with a little improvement.

I then started rock climbing again and working a physical job and the pain came back but this time with tingling down my arm and in my thumb and first fingers.

Following this I went to see my primary care doctor and got a referral for PT. Did PT sessions for 6 months. Moderate improvement at best.

Throughout this time the pain has been in the back shoulder blade area with several big knots in that area, rib tightness and side pain (sometimes when breathing), the front of my right armpit, sometimes in the collar bone area, neck and trap tightness as well.

A few weeks ago I put my right hand on the roof of my car behind my head in an effort to relieve the pain and that is the ONLY stretch that has given me multiple completely pain-free days in a row. the pain is still aggravated by repetitive motions (mixing paint in front of me on a table, etc.) and I am still dealing with large amounts of pain and tightness.

Somewhat of a loss at where to go next from here and desperately want to rock climb and do the things I love again.

Hello Molly,
You have a classic C6 nerve root neuralgia; the next step is an x-ray of your neck, or better still an MRI but they are very expensive.

Raising your arm above your head is classic sign; it's called the shoulder abduction relief sign; you have a pinched nerve in the neck.

Then, in my book at least, a series of chiropractic adjustments of the lower neck is what is needed; this is a difficult problem at the best of times and having it so long makes it doubly difficult.

If turning your head to the right, and then looking up provokes pain or tingling in your arm and hand - Spurling's sign - then there are no easy solutions; it will take time and patience to get better.

Have you had any old neck injuries?

Let me know what the x-rays show.

dr B

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