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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 1985
Experience:  Neurosurgeon - Brain, spine, and peripheral nerve surgery
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Dr., I have been suffering from muscle spasms that run along

Customer Question

Dr. Jones,
I have been suffering from muscle spasms that run along the bra strap and run between the shoulder blades and under my back right rib cage that can run around into my chest causing constant debilitating burning and hot poker like symptoms. I know that my posture is part of the reason I'm sure. I am in physical therapy at the present time which does not seem to be helping. In Sept. of 2016 I had a cervical neck fusion which was successful between c-5, c-6. Since then my surgeon had me have an MRI of my shoulder region which shows significant inflation. Just to note, I had this pain prior to my surgery and we were hoping this would resolve this pain. My latest MRI also revealed a small budge in c-4, but not enough for surgery. I have had an epidural and it did take away the burning sensation but the muscle spasms keep occurring. On March 10th I am seeing a shoulder specialist for the inflamation. My mother had the exact same symptoms that began around the age of 60, I will be 59 in March. I witnessed her health deteriorate eventually being bed ridden in her 70's and passed away at 82. It was then we were told she had emphasima and I didn't understand this but a leather lung. I was a smoker and had quit for 7 yrs. then smoked again for a year and am again 7 yrs. free from smoking. I am also a recovering alcoholic and addict. I have been clean and sober for 9 years. If you can help me to find a possible answer as I am tired of treating the symptoms but not trying to find out what is causing the problem.
Sincerely,
Cynthia Putz
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. David replied 9 months ago.

This is Dr. David

it doesn't sound like your C5-6 neck fusion surgery was a success if you are still having upper chest and shoulder burning pain and muscle spasms.

you might benefit from nerve pain medications like neurontin or lyrica to help decrease nerve pain.

your shoulder inflammation could be compensation for your back and chest muscle spasms.

you most likely are still having impingement of nerves coming out of your lower neck and upper spine area

you might need to try a TENs stimulation unit to distract nerves or an implanted spinal stimulator to see if that helps decrease pain.

you said that the epidural did help take away pain.

so the pain is coming from pinched nerves close to the spine