Pain through left trap, shoulder, shoulder blade, arm

by Michael S
(New Orleans, LA)


Just some background; I started experiencing pain in my shoulder joint after a snowboarding accident in early 2013. I was still able to lift weights and play sports with minor pain.

As time went on, the pain started to spread throughout my shoulder and then into my entire left arm in the form of numbness. One day, I was lifting weights and my entire left arm went completely numb. Since the accident I have also experienced tennis elbow. I have been on the road to recovery this entire year, and while I see improvements in some areas (strengthening previously atrophied muscles on my left side and rare left arm tingling or numbness), I feel I'm going backwards in others.

I have had an MRI on my neck with inconclusive results. Doctors have tested me for rotator cuff injuries, disc injuries in my cervical spine, trap strains, etc. No treatment seems to work, and while the tingling in my elbow and fingers in my left arm has subsided for the most part, I still struggle with an extremely tight trap and a deep rooted pain that moves between my shoulder blade and thoracic spine.

I am troubled by what you said about cracking your own neck, as I have sought relief around the bottom of my cervical spine by cracking it by pushing my head down. I only started doing this after a pt had me doing neck extension exercises.

Can you offer any potential thoughts on what other than a disc issue in my cervical spine might be causing these symptoms?

Hello Michael,
The key phrase here is that your "entire left arm" went numb. That leads us away from a nerve root, specific disc prolapse diagnosis, and that's confirmed by your negative MRI.

Three questions for you:
1. When having an attack of numbness in your arm, does raising your arm increase the symptoms, or relieve them?

2. Ask someone to help you do the upper limb tension test; use the search function at chiropractic help to find it. Is it definitely positive?

3. Turn your head to the left and then look up. What happens?

You have obviously been examined by a variety of people; ask if Adson's test has been done. In fact you may know; has anyone tested the pulse in your left arm as you turn your head to the left, look up and take in a deep breath?

Let me have full answers to ALL these questions, and we'll take this further.

Dr B

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