chiropractor, masseuse or neurologist?

For the past 13 years, whenever I’ve been lying down for too long (10+ hours), I get a pain in my back, beneath my left shoulder blade. The only problem with that is that I can’t sleep in.

At least, until recently. Now, the pain, or rather, discomfort is becoming chronic. It feels like someone is steadily applying pressure beneath the shoulderblade. But now it’s pinching a nerve. My left arm has a constant tingle, like a low-grade electric current. I haven’t lost any muscular ability or coordination. And it feels like someone is sticking their thumb in the hollow where the arm joins the armpit.

So my question is: is this a muscular phenomenon, easily remedied by a good, professional massage? Is it a skeletal problem to be cured by chiropractic medicine? Or is the (I assume) pinched nerve something that only a neurologist can take care of?

And how would I find this out for sure? Other than asking the Teeming Millions, of course.

Sounds like “bursus shoulder” which is a type of repetitive strain injury, like tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome. But that is just a WAG. I know lots of computer users who developed shoulder pain due to bursus shoulder because of bad ergonomics, usually because the position of their mousepad was too far away. Look in your environment for any assymetrical repetitive use of your arms.
But you omitted some helpful details. Like how old you are, and how old you were when the condition started. Some people develop calcifications in their shoulder joints, but this usually doesn’t cause pain until your 50s.

disclaimer: i am not a doctor.

IANAD, but another option would be to go to a physical therapist. I’m a little biased, because my husband is a PT, but he sees and corrects things like this all the time. I don’t know what the laws in FL are, but you may have to go to a GP and have him refer you to a PT or you might be able to go directly to a therapist and bypass the GP. Call a local therapy clinic to find out.

Physical therapists have more & better (IMO) training than massage therapists and they have a different approach than chiropractors. All what you prefer.

I thought of that. But it started when I spent a year sleeping on a low-quality cot. True, it is on my dominant side, and I am a computer user at work, but it’s been an issue long before I got into the field.

Good point. I’m 31 now, but this started when I was 18 or 19. It’s probably not calcification, since, if anything, I’m calcium deficient.

I just spoke with my husband. He said to put your arm above your head, resting your forearm on your forehead. He said if this relieves the pain, it’s possible you have a disc problem. He said that this is not a true diagnosis and you won’t find it in a textbook, but this is one way he determines a disc problem. Also, if you feel pain from the back of your shoulder, down the back of your tricep to the elbow, and if the pain goes to specific fingers, it could be a disc problem.

In the event of a disc problem, he said a chiropractor probably won’t be much help. If you go to a neurologist, he’ll probably give you an MRI and send you to physical therapy, if he doesn’t think you’re a surgical candidate.

A physical therapist would probably do some deep tissue massage, put you in traction (which is actually a lot nicer than it sounds…my husband does this for me when I hurt my back), and give you some stretching exercises. He said it would probably consist of about 6 visits.
He also suggested going to a PT with at least 5 years experience and your first question to the therapist should be, “How long have you been doing this?”

Again, this is not a professional diagnosis, just me passing along some interesting information.

The “arm above the head” technique does give me some relief. I don’t have any numbness…aw hell. Maybe I’ll just check out what WebMD says.

Tell Mr. C3 thanx for me–I wish I’d known about all this four months ago! He would’ve gotten my business!

You can always come visit!