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DrThomasMd
DrThomasMd, Board Certified MD
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 64072
Experience:  Internal medicine doctor, diagnose and treat neurology patients, many years
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I've been having my current problem couple weeks. It

Customer Question

Hello! I've been having my current problem for a couple weeks. It started with my left thumb shaking when bent when I was sitting/had it bent at times and then my arm muscles started feeling achey and tense as if they wouldn't relax. This went on on and
off for about a week and at times my left bicep muscle still feels achey/tense. Now, most of the discomfort is near my shoulder blade area between that and my spine on the left side of my back. I can sometimes feel this discomfort right below my arm pit as
well. The only noticeable difference is that my left side of my back is considerably to tighter/tense feeling. I went to the rheumatologist last week who don't think it's anything major and gave my baclofen and atotalac. The pain is worse in the morning recently
and at night/feels weird to sleep on. I also had x rays done of my thoracic/cervical spine and everything showed up normal. I am worried that I have lung or breast cancer as the discomfort is in the shoulder blade/rib cage area or that I have some sort of
neurological disorder such as ALS. Recently, I have noticed the discomfort is worse when sitting and in the morning/sleeping at night. I am not sure what would cause this sort of tension in my back/discomfort as well as the bone/muscle right on my side under
my arm. Your input would be greatly appreciated. I should also mention that the last few weeks I would get the occasional twinge in that area of my back but it has now progressed into this.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 1 year ago.

any other medical issues?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No other medical issues
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello !

It sounds that you may have a pinched nerve or a couple of such on the affected side. I think you may benefit to see either a neurologist or orthopedic specialist . This does not strike me as a presentation of ALS or lung cancer or breast cancer. You may have benefit of an MRI of the cervical to upper thoracic spine ( plain xrays are more more limited in the information they provide) I think the Etodolac (anti-inflammatory) plus baclofen is a reasonable place to start ....

I hope that this information is helpful for you

Let me know if you have further questions or concerns

I will be happy to get back with you

If my answers have been helpful and to your satisfaction then please remember to leave positive feedback

Thank you and Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would a massage help? I am worried it is related to my brain or something scary. Thanks.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello--

It May help some. You need more definite diagnosis of cause if it is ongoing...since it has bothered you for a couple of weeks it may settle down for you in just a little time too...No I don't think it is brain related condition....

I hope that this is helpful.Let me know if I may be of further help

Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yea I was worried it was lung, breast, bone,brain cancer or maybe a neurological condition as the one side of my back in that area is stiff and hurts in one particular spot which would radiate into my arm. My arm pain has gotten better. I just don't know what else it could be.bthanks.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

It sounds that you may have a nerve impingement causing the discomfort ...lower cervical spine I suspect ....MRI may help to diagnose the cause ...it's good that arm pain has been getting better ...no I don't think it is cancer related!

Take Care!

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What do they do for impinged nerves?
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

Well often it may relate to a neck or back injury where tissues get inflamed and put pressure on the nerve so in such a case an anti- inflammatory and time may be all that you need.It depends on the exact situation...to the other extreme a ruptured disk may cause nerve impingment and might require surgery ....so there is significant range in the possible source of the trouble and the needed treatment.....

Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Your symptom description seems more to mild side ( not excruciating pain and not disability of function) so these factors would make it seem less likely for you to need surgery for example ....

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi dr bray! Thank you for your answers. I got a therapeutic massage earlier this afternoon but now my left arm is hurting more than it did. The pain is a discomfort that is on the left side of my upper back and wraps around my rib right under my arm in that muscle. It is a little discomforting to sleep on that area at night. You really think this is just a pinched nerve?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just don't get how I can feel discomfort/tension as if my muscle won't relax right under my arm and then in my bicep plus some pain in my shoulder blade area. This makes me worry about cancers or neurological type stuff.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I recommend follow up with your doctor or orthopedic specialist. I think a course of an anti-inflammatory would help ( over the counter Aleve 2 tablets twice a day with food or Rx Iodine or Celebrex as examples ) Perhaps a mild muscle relaxant ( Skelaxin) Perhaps med for nerve caused pain (Lyrica)

Yes I think it is related to spine and likely nerve impingement but not any cancer or other serious type condition.

I hope that this is helpful .Let me know if you have further questions or concerns

Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you! I am worried it is breast cancer or something related as what often hurts is the very outside of my arm pit on the side/behind my arm. For right now, I am on baclofen and etotalac. But anyway, I am worried it is a cancer causing it or spinal tumor. I had an X-ray done of my spine but am worried an MRI will show lung or breast cancer. I feel better during the day but not as good in the morning and especially at night. I am also still having my thumb tremor occasionally and this can last for several minutes but is more present when bent. Anyway, my big problems are pain on the side of my arm pit and pain in my back/shoulder blade/tension.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again!

The distribution and quality of pain does not suggest to me any suspicion of breast cancer as cause at all. So you have family history of breast cancer? What is your age? Any prior scares such a need to have a biopsy? It seems that you have this health anxiety as to breast cancer.. .

Your symptoms seem more back/ spine/ musculoskeletal in nature

I hope that this is helpful for you

Let me know if you have further questions or concerns

Please remember to leave positive feedback on this thread

Thank you!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had a biopsy in the summer on a thyroid module but that was fine. No breast cancer concerns. I am worried because I have the aches/discomfort/tension in my shoulder blade/back area near my spine/area on the outside of my arm pit, and then some tension that comes and goes down my arm. I also get thumb shakes that are intense enough to see and if I extend my arm when it is happening you can see my muscles shaking nearer to my elbow in conjunction with my thumb shaking/hand so I am worried about brain related stuff or ALS or Parkinson's since my thumb will shake and then cause my whole arm to become sore (not sore to touch but referred pain). I am just worried In general that all this is something serious like a neurological disorder or cancer. I just can't see what would be something normal causing this especially my thumb shaking and the discomfort/fatigue feeling in my arm afterwards. No weakness but my arm does feel funky while it's going on.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

Well pain or muscle fatigue may cause some tremulous symptoms at times.

Your symptoms do not seem to fit with concern for breast cancer not ALS nor Parkinson's disease. The symptoms you describe do not suggest any of these disorders.

I hope that this is helpful for you.

Let me know if you have further questions.

Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is it normal for my arm muscles to feel not relaxed of that makes any sense and then to cause my thumb to shake and in turn for my muscles to then feel sore/tired/irritated. A nerve impingement would likely be the worst thing?
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

No I would not say "normal" as to the sense of muscle tension...

It seems that your symptoms seem most consistent with a nerve impingment problem...this is not any official diagnosis of course... Seeing your doctor for exam and follow up is advised. The fears that you have expressed do not seem to fit with your symptoms however...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I appreciate it. What do you think of the muscle tension/feeling that muscles won't relax? Indont know if you really understand.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello!

Yes I understand what you mean....we see this common symptom with problems such as a back injury...a muscle strain or a muscle guarding response due to pain are the common reasons for this symptom....

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I also am having pain in that side of my neck a little. It's just strange. I felt fine most of the day and now my arm is acting up. So basically, you don't think it's anything life threatening like a spine tumor or something or ALS? Like I said, I had an x Ray but I realize that doesn't show anything. I've been feeling better compared to last week with the drugs but still I get these tremors that come and go and the arm tension/pain on my left side.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

No I don't think that it is anything that serious or life threatening....No I don't think that you have any spine tumor...No to ALS...

Feeling better vs last week is reassuring ...

It sounds that you may have injured the lower neck/ upper back....

The gradual improvement would fit with that...

I hope that this is helpful for you. Please remember to leave positive feedback. Thank you...Happy Thanksgiving!

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm happy to rate you! My only other question is just that the bAse/lower part of my neck is bothering me on that side with pain that comes and goes and is sometimes a little sharp when I turn my neck plus some pain in my shoulder near my neck plus the pain in my back. I'm just worried my neck could be something horrible. I am gradually getting better o guess but I still have days where things get pretty bad like today. I'm not sure how I could have injured anything. I am worried because I did have a little twinge of pain near my shoulder blade that has now developed into this. Thanks!
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello!

Well most of us will go through neck and back injuries during our lives actually. It is common for a lower cervical injury to also project pain to the inside of shoulder blade on affeted side. Most of these injuries will settle down with time as it seems that yours is doing. It can be a simple as an awkward sleep position one night. It can be easy to cause such. So the time going forward should be helpful to define the nature of your condition. The short duration to date of your symptoms is in favor of a better prognosis. I can only give you General information as I don't have the benefit of being able to examine you of course.

I hope that this is helpful.Let me know if you have further questions or concerns.Best regards!

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand what you are saying. Some days I don't feel so bad and other days my shoulder blade area is uncomfortable and my arm is tense/achy. When I type my arm muscles get tighter on the left side. Last night my rib cage area and the bone/muscle again right behind my arm/on the side of my arm pit was hurting. Again I'm just worried it is something like a brain tumor or neurological. I am worried because this got like this gradually, I had some tightness in my arm that would come and go for awhile and a twinge here and there of pain in my shoulder blade area which makes me worried that it's not an injury that caused it.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

The ache/ or tightness with typing sound that it may relate to muscle fatigue as possible. If you had a neck level nerve impingment then leaning forward may aggravate that.It does not strike me as an ominous warning sign at all however.

Let me know if you have further questions or discussion.

Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Im just worried about muscle fatigue in terms of ALS or something similar. I'm just worried about why it's happening.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

You seem to have some health anxiety here

You have some very common type symptoms...

There does not seem reason here at all to worry that ALS is cause

I hope that this is helpful

Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. I am only worried because my thumb has been shaking a lot the past couple days.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I have had thumb shaking on occasion myself. This is not that uncommon. ALS has incidence of 1 in one hundred thousand ...so that condition isms rare. Your symptoms together so not fit ALS

I hope that this is helpful for you Let me know if I may be of further help Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there! I'm a little concerned. I am having a discomfort/twinge a little bit up from my knee on the inside of my left thigh. It's not so much painful as an uncomfortable twinge.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

It sounds minor and transient in nature... you like all of us will have occasional aches and pains .. it does not sound to be of anything of a significant or worrisome nature with the twinge that you describe..

Let me know if you have any further symptoms of concern or further discussion. I will be happy to get back with you. Please remember to leave positive feedback. that would be much appreciated. Best Regards,Happy thanksgiving !

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there! Thanks for all your help! I'm just a little worried because in addition to the arm pain and back pain in my left shoulder blade I have a little bit of a cough today. I'm sure I'm worrying too much about lung cancer and stuff like that.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

I think bit of cough today is not related to your earlier onset symptoms. NO to concern for lung cancer ....

I hope that this is helpful.Let me know if you have further questions or concerns.Take care ! I hope that you had nice Thanksgiving !

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks! I am concerned because it has been ongoing today and my throat feels itchy and like I have to clear my throat a lot. I'm just worried since my pain is pretty much isolated to my one shoulder blade area.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

You just brought up the cough today . Respiratory infections are extremely common this time of year.

The other seems like common musculoskeletal symptoms.

These seem unrelated

I see absolutely no reason to jump to worry of lung cancer ....

I hope that this is helpful

Let me know if you have further concerns

Take Care!

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there! So I have noticed that the achiness in my shoulder blade/shoulder area/under arm area is more sore to move (not sore to touch) in the morning. However, I am worried because over the last couple days I have been having twinges/discomfort in my rib area right under my chest on that side. I know it sounds ridiculous to be worried about breast cancer but these are just strange, one sided symptoms.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

Hurting to move--- more in the morning--- twinges ....

These all seem consistent with musculoskeletal type symptoms...

Try not to worry so much! Nothing is sounding to me as a presentation of breast or lung cancer here ....

Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks! I seem to feel better when I am up and around. When I sit down and especially if I am sitting with my shoulder blade/side area by side/under arm against couch for example everything starts hurting again and my arm feels achey and tense.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello ,

Yes it is common for this type pain to come and go with change in position...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand that and like I said this pain is more of s tension/ache kind of feeling that radiates in my shoulder blade Nd arm. It is also worse when pressure such as the couch is against my shoulder blade. I am just worried something like a tumor or something is causing it.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

You may be examined by your doctor and follow up on this but there is really no reason to worry that these symptoms represent any cancer...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. What do you think is the cause of the soreness/pain in my arm? I am just worried that it may potentially be something pretty bad since it came over time and got worse.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

I have said that I think it falls to the musculoskeletal group which may include spine problems / nerve compression / muscle strains ...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm just worried that nerve compression could be the result of a tumor or something. I appreciate all of your help!
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

The pain distribution is common and does not suggest any particular alarm as to any tumor ...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am worried only because it is in one particular area on my upper back/side and then in one arm. Thanks.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

That is common pattern that may trace back to inflammation of lower cervical spine ...not a tumor as any likely culprit though ....I would suspect that certain positions or movements may aggravate it ...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did have X-rays done on the cervical spine. I don't know if tumors would have shown in that but it was all normal. I just don't understand why inflammation would happen. The positions that seem to aggravate it is laying down or sitting sonxe that area is being bothered
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

Plain xrays would pick up a tumor of any size ...the inflammation can be small in actual scale but still cause trouble. .imagine the swelling that you see with sprained ankle ...now similar ( but not so dramatic ) swelling may occur at any point of the spine ...it can be holding an awkward position too long for example

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But would that affect my shoulder blade area, the bone/area behind my arm and then down into my arm? Sorry for all the questions. Thanks.
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

The area medial to the shoulder blade is common to hurt with lower cervical spine inflammation --- Yes to that

Please remember to leave positive feedback on this thread Thank you and Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Why would that happen? I'm just worried it's something serious and what gets done to fix that
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 1 year ago.

Usually mild/moderate injuries are the case. These most often settle down over days to weeks. Using an anti-inflammatory helps. It is not that difficult or unusual to see sprain type injuries of the neck or back. (Wrist, knee and ankle also very common)

It may be as innocent seeming action often times and may not be felt at the time. The next day is more common for noticing that type injury .Take care to avoid extending injury . Watch your neck and back position. If it persists then get it checked.

It is not an ominous type of pain distribution ......

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. I am worried because it has been going on on and for a couple weeks despite medication which makes me think it is sometning more serious beyond pinched m
Nerves. Iike I said, my shoulder blade is where it hurts and then into my arm and at times right near the bone under my arm pit/rib area so i worry that it isn't going away
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It also does hurt a little when I cough (which isn't a whole lot) on my upper side nearer to my under arm on the left side and on the side of my rib cage/back near my shoulder blade.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there! I'm sorry to keep bothering you. I also have been having what I guess are occular migraines every 2-3 weeks or so. It starts as a squiggley/flashy lights in my peripheral vision on one side. I went to an eye doctor when this first started and she checked my optic nerves and all was fine. I just had one this korninf. I am worried that this is caused by a brain tumor or something brain related and is also causing the pain/soreness/achiness in my shoulder blade/under arm/side area.
Expert:  DrThomasMd replied 1 year ago.

Hello

the other expert has opted out

What is your question?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there! My question is whether or not my symptoms are concerning and whAt could possibly be causing them. A few weeks ago I was having my left thumb shake and it ultimately led to my entire arm especially my bicep muscle being achey/sore...not to touch and tense. I was also having a small pain in my shoulder blade area near my spine on my back. This has become worse and radiates at times into the bone/muscle behind my arm on the outside of my arm pit/side area. It is worse when I am laying down or sitting down and comes and goes. In addition, I have also been having what I think are occular migraines about once every couple of weeks that I have never had before. They start as just as a wavy line hat affects one side of my peripheral vision and then leads to a head ache. I had it this morning but it didn't produce a headache. Anyway, I saw an eye doctor and she said my optic nerves look healthy. In terms of my back/shoulder blade area I saw a rheumatologist who made me take z rays of my spine which where normal and put me on baclofen and etotalac. It hasn't gotten a whole lot better. I am worried that perhaps a brain tumor or something really serious is causing all of this. I also see a chiropractor.