Sharp pain radiates from collarbone to jaw also dull ache in shoulder and down arm to hand

by janet
(united kingdom)


I have had an ache in my shoulder, arm and hand (left side) for months; then three weeks ago I had a severe pain in my neck (same side as shoulder pain); it was that bad I couldn't turn my head to the side of the pain. I went to my doctors who said I had a trapped nerve in my neck and it was causing pain in shoulder,arm and hand; I was given anti inflammatories and gabapentin for the nerve pain.

Also I was referred to a physiotherapist who said it was not a trapped nerve but inflammation that was aggravating the nerves; by this time I had swelling at the top of my back and around the left collarbone and a tingling across the top of back. He gave me exercises to do; that was two weeks ago. I am due to go back in a week's time.

But in the meantime the neck pain has more or less gone apart from a sharp pain every now and again that goes from collarbone to jawline, but the dull ache is constant in my shoulder down my arm and hand. I don't get numbness but do get a tingling in shoulder and fingers (all of them).

Oh and to top it I am now getting sciatica down the left leg with a really sharp electric shock, kind of pain in my groin that prevents me from putting weight on this leg.

I hope you can shed some light on what all these symptoms could be as I'm not convinced it is all down to inflammation; my doc just says it will take time to settle down and when I asked for a scan was told it was too early to go down that route and anyhow it would be an ultrasound scan on the shoulder not an mri (don't know why).

Hello Janet,
There are some unusual symptoms in your presentation. Let me list them.

* Pain in all fingers. That means it's not a pinched nerve root. The whole brachial plexus is affected.

* The swelling around the collarbone.

* The pain in your left leg.

* It started in your arm and only later presented in your neck.

All of this suggests this may not be straight forward, and hence a need for extra vigilance on both your part and your doctors, all of them.

I'm surprised an xray of your neck hasn't been ordered, and to that I would add a chest xray. There is a strong possibility that you have what is known as "thoracic outlet syndrome."

Are you a smoker, and do you feel unwell? Cough? Obviously you are in a lot of pain, and the pills may be having side effects, but do you feel sick?

You either have two different conditions, one causing the pain in the neck and arm, and a separate problem in the hip. Or they may both be caused by the problem in your neck. Only a careful and thorough examination by a specialist will confirm the diagnosis.

How old are you? It's rare for a problem in the neck to cause pain in the leg in a young person. It's not even common, but does occur in older folk.

Three little tests;
1. When you have pain in the arm, raise it and place your hand on your head. Does it relieve or increase the pain in the arm?

2. Turn your head to the left, and then simulaneously look up. Does it immediately cause pain your arm?

3. Go to Chiropractic Help home page, find the search this site function in the navigation bar, and type in "upper limb tension test". With the help of a friend, do the test and let me have the result.

Keep to this thread, and please answer from a regular computer. It's tiresome having to correct your grammar!

My initial thought is this may not be a case for a chiropractor. An ultrasound scan of your shoulder is likely to be little value from what you've told me.

One of the tests that needs to be done is called Adson's test. Simple, but takes a clinician with a lot of experience at doing it.

Dr B

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Jan 26, 2017
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Same pain
by: JT

I'm having the same issue.

Pain on left side of neck, from jaw to collar bone...
This particular pain in this area, comes in waves from dull (an annoying irritant) to sharp (excruciating to the point of tears and nausea)! This pain started yesterday. I want it gone!!!

I had another pain (dull or light tingle) also on left side, preceding the other (formally mentioned) for about 2 weeks, it's no longer there (or maybe less noticeable along side this one). It was in my upper arm (deltoid muscle) and occasionally I thought it was bouncing down to my lower arm (brachioadialis muscle). I'll take this one back over the former.

No leg pain...
Except several months ago (~3 months ago), on my right side (joint, where thigh meets hip) I had excruciating pain (0-10 scale...10!!!). It caused me to walk one sided, but the pain did not run down my leg, it stayed in that general area. It lasted a week, then disappeared. Thank GOD!! However, I don't believe it's related. I'm glad it's gone, hopefully never to return.

I wonder what it could be?

Hello JT,
Severe pain like you are having should always be persued; nausea may from the pain, but a heart condition needs to be considered too; see your medical doctor.

Try and work out which movements of your head and neck provoke the pain; do it gently. It's good that it's not in your arm.

There are many possible causes; I'd recommend an x-ray of your cervical spine if the pain continues.

That was quite likely a hip issue in your leg and like many conditions resolved spontaneously. Good. Every morning before getting out of bed, pull your knee to your chest, and then make a circle in the hip joint; gently.

Dr B

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