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Sore collar bone, no breakage in x-ray, lymph node swelling

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Practicing since : 2001
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My left collar bone is very sore. Has been for > 6mos. It feels like it is broken halfway between my shoulder and the tip. But xray says no break or anything unusual. The tip(inside end) has gotten very enlarged - very dense like bone. I cannot move it. It is very noticeable with or without my clothes. When I look down and look at my feet, for example, my chin hits this protrusion. It is uncomfortable, is getting worse, the doctors say they have "no idea" what it could be. But since I don't have insurance, no one wants to figure out what it is that is making this happen. It goes up and down in size and usually gets worse when I'm stressed. The pain goes into my shoulders and then splits and goes both ways, to my neck and head and then down my arm and back. It gets so bad that I cannot pick up a glass of water. I am 56 year old female, with a history of broken right leg compound fracture of femur and tibia, crushed right hand, lacerated liver due to a car accident at 15 yeas old. Several surgeries later, my right leg is still very painful resulting in lower back problems,etc. But never before has my collar bone hurt me! Nor have I had this kind of enlargement of any bone. It is painful and frightening. Especially without health insurance. Any ideas? Oh, I take Prozak for depression - helps some, and advil or aleve for pain. I was on Norco for several years before I figured out that it wasn't really helping me live my life well - the vicodin fog was ruining my life. thinking clearly is much better! I stopped taking vicodin on a regular basis in 2005. Once in a while I will take some to help with an extreme pain, but never for more than 2 or 3 days.) No other medications, 1-A-Day for women over 50 is the only vitamin I take.

I am 5 feet 2 inches and weigh 140 pounds. I fluxuate between size 8 to 14 which is about 25 pounds quite regularly. Lately I am gaining in size but not is pounds - which means that I'm getting fatter an losing muscle, I guess. I do exercise on my Wii Fit Plus frequently. I am very active and strong.

Can you help me figure this out or point me in the right direction? Or do I have to pay a bunch of money? I am unemployed and waiting (for over 2 years now) for SSDI, which leaves me at the mercy of the kindness of my family and friends.. ie: no money at all. does this leave me left out? Thanks for your time so far. Sincerely, Ronda
Posted Thu, 3 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 15 minutes later
Thanks for writing to us.
The swelling on the inner end of your collar bone with no abnormality found on an X-ray suggests it to be a lymph node swelling. These are supraclavicular lymph nodes which are swollen.
Lymph nodes swelling are one of the things which inform us about the breach in immune system. It could have been breached by micro-organisms that is infection, continuous inflammation, hypersensitivity or uncontrolled production of WBC's like in cancer.

These are all the possibilities.

Even viral infections which doesn't have specific antibiotics can cause this if your body's natural defence is week.

Few autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto's Thyroiditis can cause swelling of the neck which is most often due to an ear infection and fever earlier.

Similarly the cancerous cells grow in this pattern.

For diagnosis, a FNAB (fine needle aspiration biopsy) of the lymph nodes and swollen glands is the best test. FNAB is aspiration of the material of the glands which is done by a fine gauge needle (22 or 25 gauge) and a syringe. This will confirm the diagnosis if the swelling is due to an infection, allergic reactions, cancer or metabolic diseases.

I hope my answer and recommendations are adequate and helpful. Waiting for your further follow up queries if any.
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