What's your opinion on my shoulder impingement, neck pain, and bone spur?
by Arlene Y
I'm curious about your opinion on my shoulder impingement.
New Dr. points out something to me on my mri...calls it a bonespur and says he is convinced that THIS is what is causing me all my pain(I was in severe pain for 2 weeks that radiated to the neck and back).
Now he wants to schedule me for surgery and all...but FIRST, cause of neck pain associated with this now, he is sending me to spine/neck dr.
This gets more and more complicated.
I did attend physical therapy for awhile, but it barely addressed the pain area.
Massage and ultra-sound did more than their exercises.
And I always wondered....if certain movements cause pain and inflammation because of the impingement, weren't we just setting me up for more pain and inflammation in doing exercises?
Help...I certainly DONT want surgery, shots or pills.
I want to stop hurting that's all.
Sounds like you're having an adventure of sorts......
So let's see. I'll ask you some questions in a moment, but let me comment on a couple things.
Bone spur included, whether you have actual Tendonitis or not, it's safe to say that you have a Tendonitis Dynamic, which is a progression of muscles getting tighter, connective tissue shrinkwrapping, and pain mechanism (including inflammation), increasing.
Too much pull/pressure/tension, and bone spurs can develop. Removing the bone spur may or may not reduce pain, because the dynamic is still in place.
1. Pain and such could be due to the bone spur. And, bone spurs don't just show up for no reason. So, something caused the bone spur.
Maybe it's a good idea to remove it. But lots of people have bone spurs and no pain. And even if it does get removed, the original problem/cause of your neck and shoulder pain will still be there.
Also, if the bone spur was -the- problem, then wouldn't you -still- have severe pain like you did those two weeks?
Also, my first thought is that you're having a lot of pain in a big area, and I'd want the doctor to explain to me/you -exactly- how that is causing it.
Doctors tend to look for -the- isolated cause of pain. But that's not how the body works. There's always multiple factors at play.
2. There is a RIGHT tool for every job. It sounds like Physical Therapy isn't the right tool for your particular job.
And granted, I'm biased towards skilled massage therapy, and I see pain and injury partly as a function of tight, overworked muscles. Working them more rarely helps, in my experience, until other factors are resolved.
Ironically enough, sometimes exercising a muscle is -exactly- what it needs to make it feel and work better.
Doesn't sound like that's the situation in your case.
Was the PT setting you up for more pain and inflammation? In this particual case, it looks like the answer is 'yes'.
3. I get what you're saying about just wanting the pain to stop. Pain sucks.
I work under the premise that most anything can be made better, if you figure out the dynamic that is causing the pain and problem, and then reversing that dynamic.
It will take some work and diligence on your part. There is no magic pill.
And maybe we can't get you back to 100%. But I have no doubts that we can get you to 80% plus better and show you how to stay there with minimal effort.
I'm happy to help you out to the extent that you are willing to be motivated to reverse the physical dynamic that got you where you're now at.
4. I'm guessing that you've experienced the usual procedure from the world of doctors, which is rest, pills, maybe corticosteroid shots, prescription for PT, and a push towards surgery.
Good news/bad news, it's all they have in their tool box, and the results you have experienced are unsurprising.
5. Also, as you are looking for an opinion about 'shoulder impingement', I'll have questions about that.
Did you see the Shoulder Impingement page?
A. Do you have a history of whiplash injury?
B. Why do you think you have a shoulder impingement? Please explain, and describe your symptoms, including, can you lift your arm over your head, is that limited, what other range of motion do you have with your arm?
C. Please describe all your pain and symptoms in detail, including what makes it worse or better, and including how long it's been, did it start out as an ache and progress, or just suddenly appear.
D. Did you do anything in particular that started this?
E. Your age and general activity level, including what are the specific activities you have done regularly with your body over the past decade.
F. What else has the doctor said?
G. What else have you tried, other than PT?
H. Big bone spur, little bone spur?
I. Anything else that may or may not be relevant that would be good information for me.
Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert