Q. I have had pain in the back of my left shoulder for a month. I did not injure myself; I just noticed it one day. When I move my neck or arm, the pain shoots down my upper back and in the back of my shoulder to the elbow. I can only sleep for about two hours before it wakes me up. I took Tylenol and Advil and it helps only a little bit. What should I do now?
It is difficult to tell from your description whether the problem is coming from your neck, upper back muscle (Trapezius), or your shoulder. Most likely this is related to a nerve problem in your neck resulting in muscle spasms and a trigger point that causes your symptoms. This is usually treated with anti-inflammatory medications and a muscle relaxant. Physical therapy to decrease pain, spasm and improve motion may be helpful. However, since there are a variety of possible causes for your symptoms and an accurate diagnosis is important, I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon as quickly as possible.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net