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Feeling weakness and pain in shoulder. Concerned about rotator cuff tear

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 9086 Questions
I am having an issue with my right shoulder. I have severe weakness and pain. I have to use my left arm to move my right because the weakness is so severe, especially when I first wake up in the morning if I have slept on my right arm. Lifting my arm at all hurts badly.

I am a yoga instructor and practitioner. Sometimes the practice helps it sometimes it hurts it. When the pain is as it is now, I can't even try to do any kinds of exercise.

At times my neck is bothered as well, feeling tight and rigid.

Some people have mentioned bursitits, arthritis. Don't know if I should use ice or heat. And am very concerned about rotator cuff tear.
Posted Fri, 26 Oct 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 49 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
From your description it seems that the weakness and pain is related to a pinched nerve either at the level of axilla or at the level of cervical spine.
An examination by an orthopedician is required to pinpoint the diagnosis. The rotator cuff injury is less likely as the pain and weakness lessens as the day progresses.
Here are some general treatment measures which you can follow:
1) Provide complete rest and avoid overhead activities.
2) Apply hot fomentation and take some anti inflammatory pain killer after consulting your doctor.
3) Avoid using a pillow.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Feeling weakness and pain in shoulder. Concerned about rotator cuff tear 36 minutes later
Thank you, Dr. Tayal. If an orthopedist does indeed diagnose a pinched nerve, in addition to the recommendations you have made, what might be a course of action? The pain and weakness all resonate in the shoulder itself, but from what I understand from your response is that a pinched nerve could cause that build up of pain and weakness. And what about numbing? At times, after I lower my arms from over my head (while practicing or teaching) my right arm floods with sensation as though it has been numb or asleep.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Thanks for writing again.
The numbing sensation is again suggestive of a pinched nerve. The treatment depends on the site and extent of nerve compression. Usually muscle strengthening exercises and physiotherapy along with muscle relaxants and methylcobalamin supplements help in relieving the symptoms.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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