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Shoulder pain extending down the ribcage

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I went to my PCP today because over the weekend I started having pain in my left should that eventually ended up extending down my rib cage towards my hipbone. I am in no way concerned that it has anything to do with a heart attack, but more so I'm trying to identify if I have a lung infection, chostrochondritis, or something wrong with my shoulder. I've actually been in quite a bit of pain since last night and can't get into a position that feels comfortable or eases the symptoms. I almost feel as if I've been hit in the side with a 2x4. During my exam nothing was tender to the touch, no wheezing, or coughing. The pain is constant and gets sharper when I do cough, take a breath, or hit a bump in the road while driving (driving is quite painful for some reason). My doctor gave me Aleve for the pain (which has honestly not helped) and sent me to a radiologist for X-rays. As her office hours are now over I'm confident I won't hear back from her until tomorrow afternoon, but have shots of the X-rays and was hoping someone could give me some insight as to what is going on if it shows in the scans.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 22 Doctors Online


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After careful review of the x-rays, they appear to be normal. It is possible that you have musculoskeletal soreness, but without an underlying serious condition to be concerned about. There is no fracture, dislocation, arthritis or inflammation of your shoulder joint, and your lungs appear normal. Shoulder pain as you are describing can come about by repetitive movements or single traumatic injuries causing muscle strain, due to poor posture during standing sitting or sleeping affecting muscles and the surrounding nerves.

I would advise you to make an appointment with a locally reputed physical therapist. Work with your therapist in learning and doing exercises daily upon waking, to ease pain throughout the day and work on strength and flexibility (to increase your range of movement). Doing exercises daily can help your body and joint become more resilient to stresses and daily wear and tear of joints. If pain is too severe for movement and exercise, use heated pads or packs before starting exercises to reduce the inflammation and assist in ease of movement. After exercise and when necessary, sometimes ice packs can offer some temporary relief and help speed recovery. Your physical therapist can also offer therapeutic massages to assist in recovery as well.

If the pain is severe and the Aleve is not providing you any relief, then your local physician will be able to provide you with stronger pain medication such as morphine or codeine tablets until you recover from the pain. Corticosteroid injections are reserved for severe pain that does not get relieved and you can discuss this with your doctor if this is right for you.

Take care and be well. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions, if any.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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