Tracy has been suffering from intense pain in her arm which the Guru believes is from an impingement

August 5, 2015

In October 2014, I suddenly developed pain in my dominant shoulder. I seemed to lose power to my arm, and I couldn’t lift my arm, even to peg my clothes on the washing line! I put it down to my dog pulling on the lead a bit too strongly, and left it to rectify itself. Unfortunately it never did.

Eight months on, I can now lift my arm, but have reduced movement, and if I put my arm behind my back, for example, I get intense pain in the top / front part of my arm. The pain is so intense, that it almost paralyses me, but passes off after 20-30 seconds. Now at night, I am finding it increasingly difficult to sleep because of numbness down my arm, and pain in my elbow – which may be completely coincidental. I finally relented and went to my GP, who just said he thinks it is a tendon problem, and has put me on the waiting list for physiotherapy.

Is it as simple as this? I am concerned that now 10 months on, I feel no better off, and even taking the Naproxen prescribed, it does little to ease things.

Should I pay for a private MRI scan in case there is something more to it?

August 5, 2015

Hi Tracy

Long time, no joy, not good!

It sounds as if you’ve got an impingement – where either a tendon, bit of tissue or a bursa (fluid filled sac) gets uncontrollably pinched between your humerus and shoulder girdle/blade. It’s fairly common and pretty easily resolvable.

First up you need to know why. An MRI or US scan will give you a probable diagnosis, but it won’t tell you why. You’ll have made plenty of adaptable changes over the last 10 months (and I think that the numbness at night is part of that – you’ve changed the way you move to protect your shoulder and in doing so have pulled your neck into a silly (!) position. You’ve got an issue with your neck, due to your shoulder).

Your GP is probably correct but you need to allow the tendon to heal by allowing yourself to move better and then get better control, endurance and strength of your rotator cuff (muscles that surround your shoulder – this is the tendon bit) and scapula stabilisers (you need to keep your shoulder blade in the right place when your arm is moving).

The naproxen is a good anti inflammatory – helps with the “inflamed” tendon or bursa, but if you’re not moving well, the pain will return.

Getting your thoracic moving will certainly help…..see a decent Physio and get back out there!

Good luck.

The Guru

Guru Responded

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