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  • Pain in left shoulder blade

    Hi, On March 6, I awoke to severe pain my left shoulder blade. I used pain patches, Tylenol and rested on heating pad for 3 days. On wed., MArch9, I went to see my GP. She said that I was Swollen across my upper shoulders and sent me for X-rays. She also, gave me Celebrex and because I have stomach issues, to take the Celebrex with a full meal. The following Friday I called and was told the x-ray showed nothing. They suggested physical therapy. I asked them for Flexeril and told them I could hardly take a shower, let alone go to therapy. Anyway, 10 days later and I have not improved. I called my Rhumy yesterday to see if I could get a Cortisone shot and was told not in that area. He suggested I double up on the Celebrax.It seems to me that when the x-rays show nothing, the pain is not valid to the doctors.
    My question to you is does Bursitis and inflammation show up on x-rays and have any of you experienced this type of pain? If so, what did you do and how long did it take for you to get it under control?
    Thank you, Rosie

  • #2
    So sorry Rosie that you are experiencing that pain! I am all too familiar with pain in that area.

    If anti-inflammatories such as Celebrex are not working and the pain is unrelenting, I have found relief with a TENS unit. Can you ask your doctor about getting one? I have been to physical therapy for pain in my neck and shoulders and you essentially get a good stretching and are taught stretching exercises you can do at home if you start to tense up. Heat helps me in the moment, but sometimes it gets all knotted up and it seems hard to shake it loose. The tens unit helps stun it into submission quicker than anything else. Of course, massage helps too, but when I feel as badly as you describe, I feel like I need massage daily and who can afford that! Once you are loosened up, massage can help you keep those muscles more relaxed on a less frequent basis.

    If you can get a referral to a physical therapist, I think they can try to set you up with a tens unit. But, you better ask your doctor first about how to get one. My insurance and medical savings account covered the cost of it.

    In the meantime, try a warm/hot shower on the area and stretching afterwards before sleeping. The goal is to stay more relaxed while you sleep so you get relief for a good 6-8 hrs (or whatever you sleep).

    Let us know how it goes.



    • #3
      Hi, I have had bursitis in my shoulder. I couldnt lift my arm, the doc just pressed in a certain place on my shoulder and I nearly hit the ceiling!! They gave me a steroid injection into the joint and it helped.

      You really need to be examined by the rheumy, I am unsure whether inflammation shows up on x ray. I think you would need a more detailed scan for that such as mri. There could be so many causes. Have you tried muscle relaxants??? When the muscles go into spasm it is really painful. Are you managing to get sleep?? I get my hubby to massage the area when I have neck and shoulder pain, and I find heat helps.

      I would be going back to my gp for further help, maybe physio or actually seeing the rheumy. Especially since the area is swollen.

      Take care


      • #4
        Hi Rosie,

        I agree with Monica for physical therapy. I had similar pain in my shoulder blade and neck. They gave me a tens unit and massaged it every time I came in. As the pain lessoned we started simple exercise. That was before the lupus dianoses.

        Hope you feel better soon, Jill


        • #5
          Hi Rosie..

          I had pain like that in my mid shoulder blade. It is probably the more painful of things that I have had. Anways...doc and rheumy basically blew it off. I went to a real great physio i had heard good things about. He said my rib was out of place. He has more advanced special manipulation training..more than what the usual physio can do..and closer to what a chiropracter does. Anways.. he cracked it gently back in place and gave me exercises and i couldnt believe the relief i FINALLY had...and pretty much immediately. I had it for sooo long...over a year, and massage therapy had only made it worse and he finally was able to tell me what it was. Anways..when i told my doc he looked at me like i had two heads..saying that is not possible for a rib to do that, but i know the physio was correct. The sad part of it was..that it keeps popping out, but then again i havent been the most compliant with my excercises. When its out i can tell right away as that same pain comes back. It may not be what you have, but if it is...a chiro or a good physio will be able to help it (most likely a chiro)

          good luck..i hope you find out what it is and get relief soon



          • #6
            a few years ago i couldn't lift my right arm because it hurt so bad and i had xrays and the doctor told me i had bursitis so it must show up. you can get a shot in that area, i've had 3 of them. i hope they figure out what is wrong with you asap and you feel better soon.

            take care