Shoulder Inpingement Along With Cervical Radiculopathy

by Tina S
(Buffalo, New York)

I have been diagnosed with a right shoulder inpingement and cervical radiculopathy. I have been off work for 4 months now. I have had 4 cortosteroid injections-with only one of them giving good relief for about 3 months-but never taking the pain away entirely.

I am in so much pain right now I could pull every strand of the hair on my head out.

I am scheduled to see my MD this Thursday and he will give me another injection. This MD is actually a new one for me, and he is also an ortho surgeon-a great DR, I'm just upset right now, because I couldn't get in to see him before my appt, and the pain is excruciating, I haven't slept more than 3 hrs a night, for the last 2 wks.

I have started in the last week experiencing severe pain in my neck on the right side, radiating up to the top of my head on the right side, behind my this normal? Could this pain be from the inpingement? I can barely hold my head up without a splitting pain radiating from the neck to the top of my head-it feels like a terrible cramping sensation.

HELP...I know surgery has been mentioned to me from the Dr I am seeing, but is there anything else? Yes..I'm in therapy now...and it barely helps.


Joshua Answers:


I feel for you Tina. Almost 2 years ago I was on the floor for two months with a ruptured L5-S1. One day I had the privilege to have the experience of screaming in agony into a pillow until I passed out.

Fun stuff.

No, your symptoms are definitely not from a shoulder impingement.

As I'm sure you know, cervical radiculopathy is a term for having pain down the arm from an inpinged cervical nerve root.

The best thing I can do right now to help you get out of pain is to demand that you have someone run right out and get two books.

'7 Steps To A Pain Free Life' by Dr. R. Mckenzie.
'Healing Back Pain' by Dr. John Sarno.

The first book is horribly missnamed, in my opinion, but it was the book that got me up off the floor and onto my feet (all day long) in three days.

It talks about spinal issues including acute and severe pain and gives exercises for back and neck.

Let me say again. That book got me off 2 months of being on the floor and only being able to be on my feet for 10 minutes at a time, and in 2-3 days, depending on how you
think about it, got me up off the floor and onto my feet such that I could be on them all day long (still hurt, but...).

I trust it has the ability to help your neck much more than corticosteroid injections, and I would absolutely follow it's instructions before I let a surgeon cut into my neck.

Also, statistically, people that get surgery for disc issues, 12 months later, are almost exactly the same as people that didn't get the surgery (better. maybe not perfect, but better).

Meaning the surgery isn't necessarily a fix.

The 'Healing Back Pain' book is just as valuable, but a bit less cut and dry. Or at least, you will either believe the theory and go with it or you'll think it's stupid and you won't.


1. What therapy are you doing now that isn't helping.

2. The shoulder impingement is either part of the problem, or just a side effect of the dynamic in the neck that is causing pain.

3. I'm not an expert in cervical disc pain, but the pain and symptom you describe is not surprising to me. Extreme pain fits the bill.

4. Extremely tight neck muscles compress everything. Muscles and connective of surrounding areas (shoulder and clavicle) are connected and respond with more tightness.

That will need to be dealt with too, but won't be by surgery.

5. Supplement with Magnesium, as described on my Kerri's Magnesium Dosage page.

Magnesium controls muscles relaxing (and you sleeping), basically. Depending on the extent of how magnesium deficient you are (you are) this may very well drop you pain levels significantly by decreaising the spasm dynamic in your muscles.

Partly they are tight because they are trying to 'protect' the source of the pain. Which ironically compresses the vertebrae even more. At a certain poin, you burn through a lot of magnesium and then have a hard time of one's muscles being able relax.


Right now. No kidding.

I'm here for you. Ask any questions, and you'll get answers to the best of my ability.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Sep 15, 2009
PART 2 - Thank You - Shoulder Inpingement Along With Cervical Radiculopathy
by: Tina S

Thank You Joshua,

Today, the MD office called me back and told me they called in a script for Lortab for me..I took it, didn't help, just made me feel a little strange..I won't be taking anymore. I'm going back to the Ibuprofen-at least with that it seemed I was able to sleep for a couple hrs.

However, I've been taking more ibuprofen then I'm supposed to, but I'm desperate..I really thought the Lortab would help..It's the pain in my neck and head that are worst.

I will be getting those books tomorrow...I am going to pray that the information I obtain from them helps me..I've tried just about everything else.

In therapy, he used a machine-is it a Stem? Stim? I'm not sure how it's spelled, but it sent electrical waves into my shoulder-it helped some. He is also doing massage on me. He has me doing exercises for my neck/head to help relieve the pain, and other exercises for the inpingement.

The massage feels great while he's doing it, but 20 minutes after he's done, it starts all over again.

I'll also get the magnesium..should I ask my MD about muscle relaxants?

I do so appreciate your fast reponse to my problem-it means a lot...thanks again for your time and help

Tina S


Joshua Comments:

The problem with anti-inflammatories is...they aren't really going to help the problem, because they don't target the problem. Maybe some pain relief, depending on the situation.

I've never heard any of my clients over the last 11 years report anything beneficial about muscle relaxers. If they actually relaxed muscles, that would be AWESOME. But they don't seem to.

I took some powerful muscle relaxant with my back thing way back.

In hindsight, I alwmost drowned in the hot tub a couple of times, I hear stories from my mom that I got into an argument with a doctor she took me to, of which I remember nothing except laying down on the waitng room floor in front of people, and something about thinking he was stupid for prescribing me Physical Therapy when I couldn't even stand up for 2 minutes without excruciating pain.

Fun stories, but ultimately it didn't help my disc dynamic at all.

Having said that, maybe it's worth a shot to try. Pain sucks. (and maybe you'll get a fun story out of it:)

I didn't know about Magnesium at the time. I'm curious what the effect would have been if I had known and had gotten my levels up.

Your muscles pop right back to being super tight because the trigger hasn't been effected by the massage or the ibuprofen.

Magnesium may or may not help a lot. I trust that the Mckenzie book will.

If you can type, tell me what exercises he's having you do. If it hurts, don't worry about it, it's just for my curiousity. Ultimately all my suggestions will point you to the Mckenzie book.

And, you're welcome. Keep me updated.

Oh, and don't forget to drink a lot of water (and get some good sea salt). Chronic dehydration can play a role in disc stuff.

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