Shoulder/Arm-Please Help

I am so happy to have found this list and other resources on the net. Early this year, January 2nd to be precise, I developed very sharp jarring pains in my right shoulder and the top of my right arm. I could not move the arm very well (including driving). The whole area was in spasm. I was advised to take brufen and I continued to work. When the physio came through, they said it probably postural and there was nothing they could do. So I looked at my posture, tried chiropractic and ultrasound, to no avail. I have had two cortisone injections in different spots.

The biggest problem has been that no one seems to listen properly to my symptoms. At the moment the shoulder is a lot better than it was but I still get problems. The whole area is tight and I have symptoms down my arm and into the thumb, and the under arm area to. There is often a burning sensation, weakness and trembling. I just wish I could pull my right arm off some days. I saw an orthopedic surgeon who said I must have supersprantous tendonitus although I can move my arm everywhere but only recommended exercises to build strength. Then I saw a rheumatologist who gave me an injection in another spot (the first given by my doctor), but I have symptoms over such a wide area, that they did not do the trick.

I have rung up computability for their advice and information pack, because my symptoms are so directly related to the computer, but I don’t know exactly what the problem is and what causes it. Some days, my thumb hurts, other days my forearm and almost always my shoulder. There are things I am not sure about and no one to really ask about. Can I start lifting weights to build strength? Will that make things worse? Which alternative treatment to try first? (I have tried chiropractic but that did not work). I am going to try acupuncture now. I am also trying to use the mouse with the left hand as that I think adds to the problem. I do stretches every hour at work and take breaks.

The whole thing is depressing. I have an opportunity for another job which is a promotion but I feel I have so much less energy than before this shoulder problem, although it is better now but some days seems to be worse. It seems as though I injured it through lifting a heavy bag (it happened like that) but because of the constant use of my right arm due to computing, it has become RSI like. I am reassured that so many people eventually manage it. I would be so grateful for other people’s experiences with this sort of thing and for any advice you can give.

Comment : If your physio says it is probably postural, the whatever you do, do *not* start lifting weights. You will certainly make matters worse. General aerobic exercise is one thing – it’s good for your cardiovascular system and will make you feel less depressed, because of the chemicals which are released into the bloodstream. My physio has – astonishingly – even got me playing squash: it is good exercise for the upper limbs but does not put the mechanical strain on the nervous system that weight-lifting would. Swimming also is good, but *avoid* breast stroke – it puts stress on the lower back anyway, and if you have a postural problem then it will strain the upper vertebrae. Cortisone injections are fun, aren’t they? For me, the local anesthetic was great relief, but when that wore off the pain came back. The pain is caused by the nervous system being excessively physically tight, because of incorrect posture; the remedy is to stretch the nerves again – a long, slow but ultimately successful process.

If your physio says there is nothing he can do, *change your physio*. His ego may be bruised, but it is *your* lifestyle and *your* body which are at risk. Nearly three years ago, I was told that if I continued to use a keyboard then I would lose the use of my hands. Fortunately the physio whom I first saw had the sense to realise that she did not have the experience to treat it, and the professionalism to refer me to a specialist called Mark Silvester, who practices in London. For over two years now, Mark has been treating me almost weekly, with great success. His repertoire includes neural stretching, acupuncture, deep massage, and other things which I think he learned from the Spanish Inquisition! Contact his very nice Practice Manageress (Lorna) for a chat at Physioworks on 0171 409 1539

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