Past three months every day I have a constant dull ache in my shoulder and in my left arm. Sometimes it varies to where it feels sometimes like it's in the top of my shoulder/collarbone to sometimes on top of my arm, sometimes it's around my elbow and can even go as far as my wrist especially when I'm driving.
It first happened when I was at work because I'm a nurse and my day to day involvement includes moving and handling, however even after taking 2 week off work to rest I'm still no better.
I cannot lay on my left arm as the ache gets more intense, when I stretch out my arm underneath feels a pulling sensation. I've have been to doctors 3 times and still not resolved this issue. First doctor said it was strain and to take anti inflammatory medication (doesn't help); the second doctor said it was a trapped nerve and prescribed me medication which hasn't released it and the third one now has referred me to physio which I'm so worried about as nobody has actually sent me for any tests or scans; just checked my range of movement in my arm which I have full range and checked for arm swelling which there isn't any. I'm only 23 I shouldn't be feeling like this for such a young age.
Hello Katie, I'm reminded of a Punch cartoon showing four doctors standing around a hospital bed; one lifts his head and remarks, 'Well, we've narrowed it down to one of four things.'
Three months is certainly a long time to have no diagnosis; especially of a nurse; I'd assume they'd take special extra care of their own.
Katie, you make no mention of neck pain; if you turn your head to the left and simultaneously look up, does it provoke anything? This is called Spurling's test.
Do no movements of the arm and shoulder provoke the ache? Did any of your doctors take a reflex in the arm, or test for numbness? Prick you arm with a pin, and compare with the right arm.
The test for a pinched nerve in the neck is called the upper limb tension test; type that into the Site Search function at Chiropractic Help; you'll need a friend to do this test. Let me know the result.
Locate the radial pulse in your left wrist with your right hand; turn your head to the left, look up and take in a deep breath; does it change the pulse?
With your left elbow at your side, bent at 90*, press in and pull out against the resistance of your right hand; without moving the arm. Does it provoke pain? This is called an isometric test for a muscle tear, or tendonitis.
These are the kinds of tests that a chiropractor would do; they should be done first before expensive tests or x-rays requiring the use of ionising radiation. Let me have some answers.
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1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.
2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.
3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree.
Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.
4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.
He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.
5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.
6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.
7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.
8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.
9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.
10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.
11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.
12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.
13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback
since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he
has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments
he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?
And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.
Greetings, Dr B. You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.
Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.
You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.
The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.
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Issue #47: Life without medication/ Eight coloured foods
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Issue #45: Tingling, weakness and malaise/ vitamin B1
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