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Getting headache and constant pain on shoulder blade and arm. Are they related?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2010
Answered : 726 Questions
I have been having constant pain on my left side just under my shoulder blade which radiates into my armpit and down my arm. It is very tender on palpation. This started 2 days ago and nothing seems to releave it. I have tried muscle relaxants, tylenol and heat. I have also be getting headaches which started about 6 months ago, mainly in the morning before I get up and are usually worse during my menstral cycle, I don't know if this could be related or not.
Posted Fri, 15 Feb 2013 in Headache and Migraines
Answered by Dr. Kulbir Singh 10 hours later
Hello and thanks for posting the query
I have read your query with diligence. The shoulder pain radiating to the arm can be related to the Cervical spondylosis. The pain of cervical spondylosis radiates form neck to shoulder and to arm and forearm. Neck pain may or may not be present it depends upon the severity of the disease. Other reasons can be muscular spasm, Joint arthritis, minerals deficiency neurological pain.

Now about the headaches, in 90% of the cases if radiating pain to arm is present the headaches is mostly caused and related to the cervical spondylosis. In my personal opinion if you are not diagnosed before than get your X-ray cervical spine done and consult your doctor and physiotherapist for proper treatment and exercise. Other causes for headache are anxiety or stress, migraine, associated diseases like high blood pressure and anemia.

Meanwhile to get rid from the pain:
Use hard bed to sleep, Avoid pillow.
Restrict the movement of the neck and spine.
Take anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs like Ibuprofen to reduce pain.
Take complete rest till the pain subsides.
Do alternate Ice and hot fermentation.
Consult your physiotherapist and proper physiotherapy and exercise.

Hope this will help you. Write back for any follow up query.

Best Wishes
Dr. Kulbir Singh
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Getting headache and constant pain on shoulder blade and arm. Are they related? 2 hours later
Ok I have reviewed cervical spondlosis and this does not appear to be my problem, I do not have neck stiffness weakness tingling or numbness in my shoulder or arm and there is nothing wrong with my bowel. You have not addressed the fact the most of the pain is UNDER the shoulder blade just beside my ARMPIT (axilla), the pain RADIATES into my ARMPIT and painfull on palpation. Secondary pain radiates into my forarm. The tenderness just below my shoulder blade and beside my armpit is very tender and feels like a medium sized knot, I do not feel lumps or pumps just this knot. Also, the whole arm is sore only when I palpate it, I found this out while I was trying to massage the pain away. I can not sleep due to the pain, nothing releaves it and I have started having restless leg while resting on the couch and at night while sleeping. I only mentioned the headache to see if it could be related to this and I am know starting to have nausea toda as well.
Answered by Dr. Kulbir Singh 19 hours later
Hello and thanks again for writing in
Neck stiffness, weakness or numbness are not always present in cervical spondylosis. In my opinion you must consult your doctor before getting to any decision.
But as you have explained that there is pain while palpating than there must be muscular spasm or due to neurological pain. If the pain is chronic than is could be neurological or spine related. If it occurred in recent time period than it would be muscular spasm. Do not massage it as it would increase your pain.
Other reason may be anxiety or stress, you can better decide for it. Consult your doctor so that clinical examination can be done and with the help of some investigations your doctor will get to a diagnosed. Further treatment can be planned according to that.

Dr. Kulbir Singh
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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