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Shoulder and Arm Pain

Fay A.

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I am NOT a physician, and I am not trying to practice medicine without a license (let alone without the benefit of having attended medical school!).

But I will share with you my own experiences with intense shoulder and arm pain.

I do not have mets to the bones in my shoulder, clavical, humerous. I do, on occasion, have lymph nodes in the right axilla (arm pit) that show up on some scans. I can feel them, but many times the docs cannot. I no longer have a right lung. I've had three of the big thoracotomy surgeries, so there are cut nerves, partially healed nerves, etc., and I think that my last thoracotomy involved anchoring some of the structures of the chest to the muscles in my shoulder, but don't quote me on that. That's a guess based upon the way it felt, and being told not to move the arm or lift anything at all for a period of time after surgery.

If you've ever had a serious bronchitis or pneumonia you may have experienced intense pain that ran down your arms and into your fingertips when you coughed very hard. The reason for this is because nerves come off the spine and run across the chest, under the shoulder, into the armpit, and down the arm and into the fingers. If you have infection and inflammation or a physical defect in the chest (like a tumor that is taking up space and pressing on these nerves) it can result in intense pain that you will feel in the arms and hands. It's a bit like someone who is having a heart attack...the pain can be felt in the arm and hand, but the problem is in the chest.

Like I said...I'm not a doctor. But for me there is a direct relationship between tumor size, number of tumors, location of tumors, and increase/decrease of the shoulder and arm pain.

Right now I take Oxycodone when the pain is more than I can handle. And it helps some. I tell myself that I am glad to be alive even though I hurt. I don't have bone mets, folks. So I don't know how I would handle that kind of pain. I do have a lot of experience with broken bones, and I know I can deal with that level of pain on a chronic basis.

So this is my take on the subject. If the pain levels increase I get it checked out. Just because I don't have mets to the shoulder, et al, right now doesn't mean it won't happen at some point. I'm vigilant.

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Thank you Fay for your insightful post. I'm one of those with rather intense shoulder pain right now. I'm home right now after having gone to get my pre-bone scan injection. I go back in 3 hours for the scan itself. My Onc. thiinks I may have spinal mets causing the pain. I'd prefer a fractured rib if I had a choice. I had a fractured rib (from bone mets) once before and it felt a lot like this does now. I know that doesn't count for much.

I got a PM from another caring person here urging me to get a PET but I'm concerned about being able to lie flat for that amount of time. Plus my ins. is pretty picky about the frequency of PET scans so I'm trying to save that for later if needed.

It sure is nice to be able to come here and exchange thoughts and ideas like this. What would I do without this board????

Best Wishes, Dave S

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Guest Phyllis

I get shoulder pain that radiates down the arm. I had almost all of my nerves cut in my left shoulder during surgery. They said I would never use the arm again. I was using it just fine by the time I got out of the hospital.

I think sometimes the pain is from neuropathy. Sometimes I am sure it is the tumor in my right upper lobe pressing on a nerve. For some reason it is not bothering me now. What is frustrating is when docs say "Don't know what is causing that" Have you ever tried heat wraps by Thermawrap? Does help me a lot. Something new every day.

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Thanks Fay, I have a lot of pain in the shoulder / arm area has actually started to migrate to the other side also. I had a ct yesterday hopfully that will explain a few things. Your #1 Michigan fan David

GO PISTONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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