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Back/shoulder/neck woes - still battling on

  • 26-10-2016 4:00pm
    Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 15,001 ✭✭✭✭

    So just over 2 years ago I woke up one day and couldn't get out of bed - my neck was frozen and excruciatingly painful. Did physio for a while but the pain, while less severe, wasn't going away, so I went for an MRI which found I had a slightly herniated disc at c5/c6. Recommendation was for more physio, which combined with several months of postural work, eventually sorted out the pain.

    However to this day I am still unable to do any back/shoulder exercises without the issue (or AN issue at least) flaring up. I've spent large amounts of time with two different physios (and saw a third once who didn't have any fresh ideas), have had multiple dry needle sessions on problem areas, trained with a PT with experience in shoulder/back injuries, but have been unable to identify or remedy the problem.

    I went for a second MRI on Saturday, haven't received the results yet though. Am also waiting on a call-back to see an orthopaedic surgeon in the Mater who specialises in spinal issues.

    In the meantime, I'm starting a log to track the issues and progress (hopefully). Also having a written list of the various pains will be useful for when I see the surgeon.


    Back or shoulder exercises – Pull/row exercises, reverse fly, shoulder press, lateral raise, pull-down, pull-ups – result in moderate-to-severe pain emerging the day after exercise. Pain radiates away from spine (in thoracic spine area directly across from problem trigger point where the levator scap meets the scap). Issue occurs on both sides of the spine, although it is typically worse on the right side. Neck rotation becomes reduced significantly, again on both sides but typically rotation to the left is impacted more than rotation to the right. Pain will typically be a combination of dull, throbbing ache, and burning electrical pain. No pain referred down arms or elsewhere. Takes 1-4 weeks for pain to fully recede and ROM to return, depending on severity of flare up. Anti-inflammatories and heat patches required to manage discomfort during flare ups. Issue is recurring for 2+ years now and completely prevents me from progressing beyond anything more than extremely low intensity, light back/shoulder work.

    Other common issues noticed:
    - Bending head down to chest and to pulling head to left – tightness and occasional stinging in same place mentioned above, or running slightly up neck from same place. Painful stretch sensation. This issue is ALWAYS present to varying degrees.
    - Right shoulder blade sometimes stiffens up in gym when performing certain exercises (e.g. pull down), which is alleviated by regular ‘horizontal pull away’ stretch of Lats
    - Jogging (30 mins+): soreness and stiffness common on right shoulder blade at levator scap (as above). If left unchecked the pain gradually spreads across the top of the shoulder blade until the entire shoulder blade becomes very stiff.
    - Walking (60 mins+): same as jogging, but issues occur only occasionally
    - Constant stiffness in thoracic spine


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 15,001 ✭✭✭✭Pepe LeFrits

    MRI report has come in and my GP says I have very thin discs throughout my cervical spine, a slight bulge at c4/c5 and a tear in the disc at c5/c6. Da fuq? A slight bulge at c5/c6 had me in agony two years ago and I've no day to day pain at all these days. I don't get how that's possible.

    ... I really wish the surgeon's secretary would call me back so I can make the appointment.