July 6, 2008 6:04 PM Subscribe
What have I hurt in my shoulder/arm, and what should I do about it?
posted by bad grammar to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I know there are a lot of "shoulder pain" questions on AskMe, and most of them refer to rotator cuff injuries. I'm not sure that's what I have.
On Saturday I did a fair amount of heavy lifting (boxes filled with books). On Sunday the pain in my left arm and shoulder became apparent. I am able to raise my left arm in front of me, to my left, and across my body. I can't move my left arm back behind me and raise it without causing pain, and I can't "pull up" from my side with the left arm without causing pain. "Pulling down" motions also hurt. Moving the left arm from the elbow downwards does not cause any pain.
In terms of everyday activity, I can put on a T-shirt without pain, but pulling up my trousers with my left arm is agonizing. I'm learning to do it one-handed. Lying down on my back in bed also hurts unless I lie absolutely flat.
In terms of the degree of pain, this is the worst pain I have felt in recent years (I have not had sports injuries). It is knife-like and makes me feel sick for a moment.
I am 37, Asian/white, female, reasonably fit, but much stronger in the legs (I walk a lot) than in the upper body. I haven't done any upper-body workouts for several years, aside from housework and minor lifting at work (I am a librarian). I am thin and not very muscular.
Should I try to not use this shoulder and arm for a few days and see if it goes away? I am taking Advil and using a cold pack though I'm not sure where to put it; right now the cold pack is in my armpit so I can type. I would prefer to keep going to work, as long as I don't lift anything.
I have a reference to an orthopedic surgeon, though the patient didn't like him much (I have the impression that nobody likes orthopedic surgeons, since they torture their patients). Is it worth trying to get an appointment? I also have a primary care physician. I will be going on vacation in 2 weeks.