Shoulder blade pain, burning

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Hey I am desperate for some help. Since I was 8 weeks pregnant with my daughter (now 3 years old) I have had a severe burning pain on my right shoulder blade. I've had my gall bladder checked and all ok. It's sensitive even to touch gently. Tens machine, pain killers do not work. Neither do hot or cold compress. It actually feels like sciatica pain but I know it's too high up for that. I feel like I am getting nowhere with the gp. This pain is 24/7 and it not agitates me which is affecting my life. I don't know where to turn! 

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  • Posted

    Hi Mechelle - is the only place you have that type of pain? I'm imagining you've been tested for fibromyalgia? My long history of fibromyalgia started in the shoulder blade and then widespread pain began to hinder my other muscles. Does heat or massage help? Have you been checked for a tear in your rotator cuff?

    I hope they get to the bottom of this dilemma for you. 

    Wishing you the best!

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    • Posted

      Hey Glenn06752, 

      I haven't been tested for either but I have been concerned that it could be fibromyalgia. I am nervous to ask the doctor in case they think I am being dramatic. Maybe I need to be brave and do it. The pain can be so severe and it makes me so irritatable with my family. 

      I did get a couple of weeks release from it last month for the first time but the pain is back and worse. I find the only thing that helps is being in a hot bath, but I can't live in the bath-if only!). It is far too sensitive for my tens machine. If I ask my partner to press on it with his hands firmly, that can sometimes help a little.

      Thank you for your advice I will go back to my GP!

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  • Posted

    Hi Mechelle - is the only place you have that type of pain? I'm imagining you've been tested for fibromyalgia? My long history of fibromyalgia started in the shoulder blade and then widespread pain began to hinder my other muscles. Does heat or massage help? Have you been checked for a tear in your rotator cuff?

    I hope they get to the bottom of this dilemma for you. 

    Wishing you the best!

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    The sciatic is a nerve that runs from your back down your leg but there are other nerves that run from your upper back or neck, down your arms. Those nerves can be pinched in the same way that the sciatic nerve is. From your description I would tend to agree with you that it is a pinched nerve that is causing the pain. The first thing that should be done (assuming it hasn't been done yet) is an MRI of your neck and upper back. It takes an MRI to find a bulging or ruptured disc that could be pinching the nerve. The normal treatment for this type of pain would be something called Gabapentin (AKA Neurontin) or pregabalin (AKA Lyrica). Both of these drugs are the ones that people either hate or love. They do have their side effects but sometimes those side effects of very manageable if they help relieve the pain. Pain medicine does not do a very good job of controlling this kind of pain so it's no surprise that you did not get much relief from the pain meds that you took. You also don't mention what kind of pain meds you tried. It might be that they just weren't enough to control the pain. If you live in the US you will never get enough pain medications to control much more than a bee sting. That's because in the US and in Canada and to some degree Great Britain have severely restricted the use of opiates because of the incorrect assumption that chronic pain patients are the leading cause of opiate addiction.

    Did anyone go over pad placement with your TENS unit? Placement of those pads can make all the difference. There are several sites online that will suggest pads placement depending on where the pain is felt. The instructions that came with your TENS unit may also have suggestions for pad placement. You don't just put a bunch of pads where it hurts you need to put them along the muscle or nerve line that is causing the pain. The other thing about TENS units is that it only works while it's on. II you turn it off or remove it, the pain will return. The way a TENS unit works is by blocking the pain message from being received by the brain so once that sensation stop, the brain will start receiving the pain message again.

    You put up with this long enough. 3 years is entirely too long to have no answers. You need to advocate for yourself. If you don't think you can manage that on your own you need to bring someone with you to your doctor's appointment that can advocate for you. Don't feel bad if you can't advocate for yourself, a chronic pain patient will often feel like they're being seen as a hypochondriac simply because there is no outward physical evidence to justify the pain. And we are often times told to "suck it up."

    Continue to use your heat and ice as you can tolerate. And keep us posted on how you're doing.

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