Ask The Doctor > Questions & Answers > Shoulder Pain and tests show nothing

Shoulder Pain and tests show nothing

Patient: I had no traumatic injury to my shoulder, but it started to hurt and then slowly wasn’t moving as far as it should. Not only did my shoulder hurt, but pain went down my entire arm. So I went to an Orthopedic who diagnosed me with Frozen Shoulder. After an x-ray came back normal, he injected me with a Cortisone/ Lidocaine shot and prescribed PT. I had been going for three weeks with no pain relief but some range of motion had returned. So he set up an MRI. The MRI contrast hurt so bad. It hurt going in, but once it was all in and they tried to set me up, the pain level in my tricep was a 10/10. I wouldn’t let them touch me and said a few choice words I am sorry to say, but it hurt really bad. Then after i recovered from the pain they moved me to the waiting room only to take me to the MRI table and when they laid me down on it the pain started all over again. Not as bad, but it was very difficult to lay still for images. They did manage to get some. After all that, they showed nothing. No tears to anything. So my doctor decided we could either run more tests to my neck, I could see one of his partners, or we could try an Ultrasound guided Steroid shot. I was suppose to get 3 hours of pain relief, followed by some discomfort (usually around the injection site), then in 24 hours relief. Well, I didn’t even make it home (less than 1 hour) before the pain began. And it wasn’t at the injection site, it was at the base of the shoulder blade and then I couldn’t bend my arm at all because my bicep hurt too bad. I have been rubbing on the Ben Gay just so I could get some sleep and use out of my arm. Any thoughts on what this might be or what I should do next would be appreciated. I will add that due to a pre-existing chronic cluster headache condition for which I am on medication to prevent, my other doctor and I are against any oral pain medication that would cause rebound headaches to occur.



Symptoms: Limited use of arm, Pain in various parts of shoulder and arm that varies at times. Pain has been steady in the tricep region but also occurs in bicep, forearm, wrist, hand, elbow. Any attempt to use the arm in a way in does not want to be used results in a sharp shooting pain throughout arm. I usually grab and hold the tricep until the pain goes away.




Comments / Follow Ups

Patient: Update on my condition… The steroid shot offered a few days of relief, but I am now experiencing pain again and the limited motion seems to be returning. Physical Therapy was not helping and so I stopped going because the copay was not worth the results at this time. I did some research on the web and came across Parsonage-Turner Syndrome. I fit all of the symptoms, but I have not discussed it with any doctor. I am very discouraged at this point and I just don’t want to be stuck like this the rest of my life. I am thinking about going to my chiropractor and see if an adjustment would help. I have been scared to do that thinking that I might have an injury and any attempt to adjust me might result in greater injury. I haven’t had any scans of my neck, so I don’t know if there are any injuries to my neck or spinal column.

Patient: I will not be paying for a response. So you can either answer or not, but 7 days of waiting has turned into a month. I am still in pain. I went to see my chiropractor who adjusted my neck, knew something was wrong with my shoulder because he could not move it, but didn’t know what was wrong. He didn’t think it was neurological or that an MRI pf my neck would show anything. He said he could not move the shoulder out of the socket at all when he tried to pull down on it and he said he when the muscles were relaxed, he still couldn’t move the arm.


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Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. He currently operates Infinity Health Centre, a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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