My shoulder hurts!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Please post ideas but going to the dr is out. My shoulder - actually it's the muscle in the upper arm- has been hurting badly for weeks now. And I'm feeling tired and foggy an awful lot. I'm thinking there is more than one thing going on.

    As far as the shoulder, I thought it could be too much time on the computer and haviing it in the same position too much, so now that I've gotten a lot of paperwork and resumes completed I've been spending less time on and changing positions, etc. It still feels like a knot is in it. It hurts so bad I wake up during the night because of it. The only medication I've taken for it is advil and that was only last night. Honestly, it didn't help. The only time it isn't hurting is when I put my arm in my lap in a completely relaxed position and when I'm in the shower, not moving it, and letting hot water run on it. There are certain simple movements (changing pull-over tops, putting seatbelt on in car) that cause a sharper pain and makes it feel so tired that I can't move it all for a few minutes. I can't get things done because of it. Suggestions?

    The foggy feeling- I think maybe it's this bad tooth. I tried stopping my typical couple of beers in the evening, getting back on a better sleeping and eating schedule, amount of caffeine I used to drink when difficult child and I had a normal life, and have taken my temperature. It can't be any of those things- they all checked out ok. I don't think the tooth is iinfected but I've been brushing my teeth about 3-4 times a day now instead of once or twice and rinsing with a peroxide mouthwash. I still feel tired a whole lot more than I should. In a way though, it feels like I'm regrouping and catching up on sleep and my mood is much better- I'm pretty motivated whereas I sepnt months feeling completely overwhelmed.

    Could stress be doing all this or making it so bad?
  2. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    The shoulder sounds a lot like tendinitis of the deltoid muscle where it attaches to the shoulder joint as part of the rotator cuff.

    The tooth? could be experiencing systemic side effects if it's infected. You can't play around with this. It may very likely need to be filled, need a root canal, or be extracted.

    Root canal or extraction are the only real treatments for an infected tooth. It is very important to get this taken care of because infection from the tooth can spread via the bloodstream to the heart or kidneys. In very rare cases, the infection can spread to the brain.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    And what can make the shoulder feel better if that's what it is? This is right about the area where one would get a shot in the arm. What causes it?

    I know the tooth needs to come out because I was told 2 1/2 years ago that it's barely hanging in the bone. It isn't rotten but has been infected in the past- about 2 years ago. That cleared up with antibiotics and there haven't been any signs of infection since- no puss, swelling, bleeding, pain in that area, or fever. It had gotten infected after being knocked out of alignment (by me gritting my teeth so much 24/7 during the custody case), but then it somehow went back into alignment.

    I can't afford to have it extracted which it hasn't been done.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I have had periodic shoulder problems, which is bursitis/tendinitis and I get a cortisone shot every two/three years. If going to the doctor is out, try taking Aleve or ibuprofen, regularly, according to the directions. Don't skip doses. Everyday for several weeks. Then the other thing to do is ice it, 20 minutes on, several times per day.

    I have a can get strips of them at a surgical supply store. They really aren't expensive. Start out with the weakest one (I think it's the yellow one). Tie it to a towell rack or something around that level pull it. Here are some instructions
  5. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    KLMO. I think if you are an honorably discharged Veteran, no matter what branch of the service, you might be eligible for some basic dental care through the VA. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask.

    The tooth obviously has to come out. You can have an infected tooth without tasting pus, etc. The infection gets deep into the bone and isn't visible from the outside.

    Also, check for dental schools. You can usually get an extraction done for around fifty dollars as opposed to the hundred dollars or more you would normally pay.

    There are also many low-income dental clinics that will see you on a sliding fee basis.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks Ladies! I'm not going to be on much for a while this evening. I starightened the kitchen a little and now am going to lie on the sofa in front of a fire and read for a bit. I'm going to see if I have any ibupofrin first. I'm going to look into that, Loth!

    I might have to go to my dr and just pay out of pocket but I'll try something OTC for a few more days first. I'll need a rx for more allergy medications soon and have to go see the dr for it this time.

    As far as the tooth- for some reason I can't have it done by a regular dentist. My dentist sent me to a specialist and the spec gave me an estimate. Even when I had dental insurance (that I don't have anymore), it was going to cost me about $1000. Part of that though was a couple hundred more for enough medications to make me sleep thru it- I have a phobia about dental work since a dentist hit a nerve when I was a teen. I get zero health bennies from VA because I served in peace time in between viet nam bennies and gulf war bennies. But thanks for trying-

    I didn't realize that some sort of infection could be going on without any outward signs that are typical of infection. All I know is that I'm feeling like I just need to catch up on sleep, even when I've just slept 6-8 hours and drank some coffee. It's really getting on my nerves now that mentally I'm motivated to dig in and accomplish some things.
  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I understand about the dental phobia; for many years I had my work done under IV sedation.

    I was recently "forced" to have an extraction done without sedation because the rules require that you have someone home for the rest of the day to watch you for bad after-effects.

    I was very surprised at how painless the whole thing actually was. They've come a long way with local anethesia, including a topical applied that numbs the area the needles are going.

    I forgot that you served in peacetime. husband was a combat veteran and yeah, that did change what would've been his standard bennies had he not been already been disabled
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    This could be connected.

    If you have an infected tooth, it could be making you feel 'blah'. It could also be triggering a generalised inflammatory reaction which could be affecting the joint in your shoulder. I know you feel it is in your muscle, but where you feel it is right next to the ball and socket joint of your shoulder.

    Or it could be connected to fibromyalgia - again, possibly inflammatory and also often associated with 'brain fog'.

    I've recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I don't agree with the label in my case, but I understand why they threw it my way.

    I also have been diagnosed with bursitis in all four major joints (ie both shoulders, both hips). Right side is always worst with me.

    I call it my "teddy bear joints". If you see a jointed teddy bear (or make one, as easy child 2/difficult child 2 did for school) you will see that the joints are all attached (hips and shoulders) with big scxrews that go into the joint. My joints feel like my arms and legs have bee nailed on, or screwed on. I can feel a point of pain as well as the area where the muscles attach to the edge of the joint is very painful. Not only painful to move (especially with load, such as shutting a tight drawer) sometimes, but painful with pressure. That pressure pain is apparently a dead giveway to this sort of problem.

    Treat the underlying problem (the tooth) and the rest of the symptoms may ease. Failing that - try antiinflammatories. But see the doctor before you mask your symptoms, because there are other things to be considered. if you just mask it, it will come back.

  9. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Marge, have they checked your Sed rate? Typically when all four major joints are involved the docs will check for Polymyalgia Rheumatica. If they haven't checked that, then have them check for it.
  10. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    No advice but I was interested in the thing with your shoulder because I think I have the same thing. If I stretch or reach up high or behind me or even flex my muscle, I get a terrible pain in the muscle of my upper arm. One day I thought I was going to have to call difficult child 2 to come over and help me get my pull over top off because I absolutely couldn't do it. He would have been mortified; I did finally manage. Putting on my coat is a problem too. Sometimes I have pain in the shoulder too. I can't afford a doctor either and have been living with this for a couple of months. I thought it was better last week but then I slipped on the ice a couple of times and jerked it and now it's worse again. If you find out what it is, or if you find a cure, be sure and let me know.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm up from my rest- no reading done, I couldn't hold my eyes open but never went to sleep. I just kept my arm relaxed and rested and feel a little better.

    MM- what you are describing is EXACTLY what I am experiencing. I had a strained/pulled muscle in my neck once and honestly, it reminds me more of that than anything. Although I can't quite figure out how on earth I could have pulled a muscle in the upper arm, I guess it's possible. I did see a dr about the pulled muscle in my neck and he rx'd me a strong muscle relaxer- I think he said it was precription strength motrin. He told me the mistake most people mmake when they have a pulled muscle is to give into the tendency to keep it in the position that it seems to be pulling you. He said the best thing to do is to lie in the straightest, most relaxed position for as many hours a day as possible so it could heal itself. I told me to keep either hot or cold off it- although I don't remember which one. LOL! One of them makes the muscle want to contract, which he said was bad for healing it. I would normally assume that would be cold, but in a way I think he might have said heat. I'm just not sure.

    I know I need the tooth taken care of. If I end up going on medicaid, does it take care of dental? Evaen though I need a specialist, both my old medication insurance and dental insurance told me this was not covered by either as a medication procedure- they said it was like a dental procedure.

    Marg, what you are saying makes sense, too. And I still think stress is not helping any. Of course, it excaberates any physical ailment it seems.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Stress makes you tense your muscles which will aggravate just about all the conditions that have been suggested here.

    Loth, my ESR (sed rate) is fairly normal. However, I've been told that in long-term inflammatory conditions, your ESR often does return to normal. And mine is definitely long-term!

    I will ask my GP to add ESR to the list for my next blood tests (due Feb).

  13. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    KLMO, yes Medicaid does cover dental work...HOWEVER, you may have major problems finding a dentist who accepts it.

    You'll want to double check overall with Medicaid as my info is really old. It may also be that only children are covered these days.

    You'll need to check with your local resources (social svcs) as Medicaid is partially administered by the area you live in.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok- I'll just have to see how things play out in the near future. I hadn't applied for medicaid as of yet, exxcept for difficult child. I guess I looked at it like if they would just cover him I could do without and wouldn't ask for myself. But if this gets worse, I'm not going to be able to offer anything to anyone under any circumstances.

    Thanks all for the suggestions!

    Looking back on it it's almost humuorous. I thought I was just depressed until I really made a lot of effort to address that. Then I realized that no- I really am in pain and feel physically horrible and can't sleep. HA! I guess it works both ways as far as feeling bad- it can cause it, but it can mask it, too. LOL!

    Marg, I hope you can find some answers that lead to you feeling better, too!
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  15. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    K -

    I have the thing in my shoulder, too. Taking off/putting on tops can be torturous and I've even had to have a friend come over to help me bathe because I just couldn't use my arm.

    Ice is the best thing, but there are time where you just need pain relief and then it's ok to use heat. I use ice during the day, but if I want to sleep at night, I have to have heat. I'm up now because of my shoulder. We are a pair, huh? And keep up with the NSAIDS. Around the clock. You need to keep it in your system so it can bring down the inflammation. You're not just using them for pain relief, but also to bring down the inflammation. If ibuprofen doesn't seem to be helping, try naproxen (Aleve).

    There are also some stretches that I do that help temporarily. These are the two I've found to be most helpful:

    One I can't find a picture of....with your arms at your sides, bend your elbows and bring your arms back. Kinda like chicken wings. When I do those 3 together, I get relief. I have to repeat them several times a day.

    However, if they cause you more pain, don't do them. It might be a little uncomfortable the first time you do it, but when you release the stretch it should feel better. If it doesn't, don't do those particular exercises.

    Also, about the tooth infection... I had a wisdom tooth extracted a couple of months ago. It was infected and I didn't realize it. I noticed that along my esophagus, lower on my neck, that it was tender. I just kinda wondered, hmmm, wonder what that is. Later I had the scheduled extraction. After the extraction is when I started with the swollen lymph nodes, pain, etc. And after the antibiotics that part on my throat wasn't sore anymore. I had that going on for quite some time.

    One thing to remember is that if there is any infection there, it's going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to get you numb. They were unable to get me numb. That's not something I want to do every day. :surprise: If it's loose in the bone, it's actually *much* easier to get out and you may be able to cope without IV sedation. I think you're going to have a hard time getting medicaid to pay for IV sedation for an extraction that doesn't require surgery. You could still get the sedation, but you'd have to pay for it. I have dentist anxiety (though, much better than it was before) and it's really not bad. The anticipation is much, much worse. Then, after, you end up feeling silly for getting so worked up. At least, I do. :)
  16. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    That is really interesting. I hadn't heard that before. My sed rate is barely elevated - not enough to be clinically significant - but I clearly have inflammation. My doctor couldn't get through the inflammation to do a steroid injection in my shoulder.

  17. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    K -

    Also you can take NSAIDS (advil, aleve) and acetaminophen (tylenol) together if you're not getting enough pain relief from the NSAID alone. You need the NSAID for the inflammation, but you can take tylenol also for more pain relief.

    How I do it is alternate every 2 hours. So take the NSAID, 2 hours later take the tylenol, and so on. You won't want to do it for more than a few days, but it might help get things under control.
  18. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    With my muscle disease I found that the over the counter Theragesic worked to help when an area of muscle was extra sore and acting up. It did not take all the pain away, but it did help to loosen it up and the penetrating effect worked well for me. I did not find that other topical rubs like bengay or such worked nearly as well as the Theregisic rub.

    Give it a try,
  19. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    I take 4 of the 200mg ibuprofen that are over the counter. I normally take an 800mg precription strength tablet 4 times a day. Working around precrips filled by insurance, I am Using the over the counter pills, 4 of them 4 times a day right now. Don't be afraid to take the extra amount occasionally as needed. If the 800mg combo over the counter helps, you might ask a doctor for a precrip for the scipt for the other. I recommend not taking them on an empty stomach though. My mother takes them, but if not on an empty stomach, otherwise it tends to bother her stomach.

    Try it,
  20. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Actually, the issue with numbing a dental site that is infected is not such a big deal anymore. It's related to the PH of the infected material not allowing the local to work properly.

    Worst case scenario is that you'll have to take a course of antibiotics before they pull the tooth. (penicillin is fine, and is on pharmacy 4 dollar lists).

    They are probably recommending an oral surgeon due to the position and condition of the roots. That might reqiure a bit of digging and quite a lot of dentists just feel more comfortable referring cases like that out to specialists.

    For the shoulder, I'd recommend somehow getting into physical therapy, There is a condition called "frozen shoulder" where the connective tissues scar to the bones and to each other.

    It is not at all uncommon in women of a "certain age".