I am a 48 year old, very active professional with a large family who has always been in excellent physical condition. After playing basketball one Friday, I began to feel some pain in my right shoulder the next day.
The pain settled in my shoulder and upper arm and became almost unbearable on Sunday and Monday, at work, I was almost in tears. I saw an orthopedic surgeon that afternoon, who x-rayed my shoulder and informed me that my bone structure was abnormal, so that my shoulder joint had inadequate space, and that I most likely had been straining my tendons my whole life and now had a rotator cuff tear. He immediately administered an injection to relieve the pain, and advised that we would then monitor to see whether the pain would return.
Although I did not think it possible, the pain only got worse. His office advised that we would have to wait until the following Monday to schedule an MRI. I could not sit, drive, or lie down without intense pain. I was sleeping only a few hours a night, on our living room couch. I called a spine surgeon friend on Saturday who prescribed Vicodin and an anti-inflammatory. No relief at all, even with double doses of the Vicodin. I saw him on Monday, and he suspected that the problem might be coming from my neck because I had decent range of motion in my shoulder. He prescribed Prednisone, which reduced the pain a bit. I went for the MRI on Tuesday, and saw my family doctor for the results on Wednesday. The MRI was torture because it hurt to lie flat on my back.
The MRI showed a supraspinitus tendon tear, a torn labrum (SLAP tear), bone spurs in the joint, and bursitis. My family physician was nevertheless skeptical that this shoulder pathology was the source of my pain, which he accurately described like a rotten toothache deep in my bone. The pain was in my shoulder at night, and in the middle of my upper arm and moving below the elbow during the day. I put my computer atop a box on my desk so I could stand at work. Driving and sleep were almost impossible. He felt that the pain was nerve pain, possibly from shingles, and prescribed Neurontin. He suspected that the shoulder might not be the cause because I had some range of motion, although somewhat limited. When he tested my range, I advised him that several of the movements had been difficult for years. In any event, he sent me for PT and asked me to watch for a rash (shingles often causes pain before the rash develops).
The physical therapist also found that my range of motion was not consistent with an acute rotator cuff tear. He then found limited range of motion in my neck and very diminished reflexes in my right arm. He gave me some neck exercises. They caused even more pain and spasm and I did not sleep at all. Two weeks had gone by with severe pain and I returned to my family physician. He pushed on my head with my neck in different positions and one of the positions immediately intensified the pain all down my arm. He scheduled a neck MRI (more torture lying on my back), which showed some disc protrusion on the left and some foraminal stenosis on the right, but no apparent acute problems. He advised that he was stumped, and wrote a script for neck PT. I went to that Friday and got some relief from electro-stim and ice, and slept reasonably well that night in a hotel room when we traveled out of town for a sporting event for one of our children. I used a pillow to help me drive and a special arrangement of pillows to support my neck in bed.
But the pain returned in full force by Sunday night and I did not sleep again. The physical therapist had mentioned that disc injuries can sometimes result in disc materials breaking loose and causing chemical irritation to a nerve. I began internet research into this condition, known as "chemical radiculitis," which results in ischemia, or a lack of oxygen, to the nerve. I had now been three weeks with unrelenting pain, almost no sleep, and no real end in sight. Thankfully, the research led me to this site and I ordered the book. I received it on Tuesday, read the entire book, and immediately began the healing process. I slept for almost 5 hours that night. By Thursday I slept through the night, and I canceled my PT appointments. The pain is essentially gone and I feel as though I have an entire new lease on life. The results are astounding! Thank you very much for making this information available.