Is this frozen shoulder?

by Evie
(Chesterfield, VA)

I was involved in a bad rear end collision 4 years ago and suffered shoulder pain along with neck (whiplash) and back issues (three torn disks).

Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel gets the grease so I had to focused on my back for well over 3 years. Each treatment for my back would temporarily alleviate my neck and shoulder pain, ie pain meds and finally steroid shots in my neck and back. However, once that wore off my shoulder finally froze up.

Went to a specialist who gave me a cortisone shot and then physical therapy as per protocol I guess, with no relief. He refused to request an MRI to see if something else was happening. So I went to another specialist who did get an MRI and said he saw several bone spurs and some shredded bursa tissue. I had surgery to take care of that and he said he saw no damage to rotator cuff. I am now 5 months after surgery and the same amount of PT with no relief.

My shoulder hurts worse now when I try to raise my arm above my head or push my arms back. I have pain moving in all directions but those movements are the worst and it just won't go back at all. I am continuing my pt exercises at home, as well as having dry needling done and working with my chiropractor to try and fix this. But it seems like there is minimal improvement at times.

Two steps, forward 5 steps back. I just don't know what else to do. My doctor wants to shoot me with cortisone again but I do not want that (it raises my blood pressure). I am not sure if I should continue with the needling, get more PT, or what. I do know I am tired of being in pain and lack of sleep, as well as spending tons of money in medical treatments! I go to my chiropractor weekly due to my back and neck so now I just added my shoulder into the mix.

Hello Evie,
Those bony spurs would have predated the accident, so I doubt they are the cause of your pain.

Let me ask a few questions. With your elbow bent and at your side, grasp your wrist on the naughty arm side with your other hand. Press inwards and then pull outwards without the arm moving. It's called a resisted isometric test, meaning using the shoulder muscles but with no movement of the arm. Is there pain with either action and where? If you are unsure, ask your chiropractor to help you.

Give me an answer, and I'll pose the next.

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