Shoulder and Joint Pain Getting Worse


Q: I've had pain in both my shoulders and neck for the last 16 months. In the beginning it came in waves, lasting a week to two weeks at a time and then going away completely. I also had other random and inconsistent pain; jaw, knees, clavical joint. I went to my doctor, a Rhumetologist, and an orthopedic doctor. The Rhumetologist seemed to think I had some type of degenerative arthritis but couldn't pin point anything with blood tests. They tried a few different medications that didn't help. After multiple appointments with no result I gave up. I tried this stuff I saw in CVS called Osteo Bi Flex. After about a week I noticed improvement and after a month the pain was tolerable! I recently stopped taking it. I don't like the idea of being dependant on medication and wanted to see it things had improved. After a week or so the pain came back and it was awful!! I've been having spasms in my neck and shoulders and getting migraines pretty frequently. I'm not sure if this is related at all but I have a small cyst at the base of my neck and shoulder. I was told many years ago that it was totally harmless. With the shoulder pain it's become extremely sensitive to the touch. I've begun taking the Osteo Bi Flex again which eases the shoulder pain a little but I'm becoming afraid I'm just band-aiding up a bigger problem. I'm generally very healthy! I'm 5 foot 7, 128 pounds, and very active. I've always been athletic and it's extremely frustrating to be handicapped in this way. If you have any idea what this could be would you please help!!


A:   It would be impossible to give you a diagnosis without examining you but there are some relieving points in your story. I see you have been seen by a few specialists and blood work was normal. This helps to rule out systemic chronic conditions.  Other tests that should be ordered include x-rays and ultrasounds of the shoulders as these seem to be the worst hit areas of your body.
If imaging reveals anything, you may have a diagnosis to work with.
If imaging is normal, I would consider pursuing a 2-3 month trial of chiropractic therapy with a strength and stretching workout regime (I recommend Yoga and Pilates). It is not uncommon for non medical therapies to give better results then medication or surgical options.
I hope this helps.

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