Patient: I have a burning in my shoulder blades and my spine all the time. It at times travels to my right arm. I have to wear flextor patches just to tolerate the pain.
Doctor: The pain in your spine and shoulder as you described it might be due to a cervical nerve compression, but it would be i important to rule out also an inflammation of the peripheral nerves at the level of the arm and hand. In the younger patients, cervical radiculopathy may be a result of a disc herniation or an acute injury causing impingement of a nerve. In the older patient, cervical radiculopathy is often a result of spinal canal narrowing from bone (osteophyte) formation, decreased disc height and degenerative changes due to aging process. The treatment strategy usually includes: physical therapy program aimed to reduce pain and inflammation, and the use of anti-inflammatory medication (as “Motrin”, “Aleve”), also a re-education of your habits and posture, you should be independent in a stretching and strengthening program and continue with these exercises under the periodic supervision of a physical therapist initially and then completely on your own. Often, you should show progressive improvement over the first 6-8 weeks with conservative treatment. If there is no significant improvement in this time frame, consider a surgical evaluation.