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Common Household Remedies Request

I've had a steady pain in my left shoulder for a few days (no numbness or tingling, nothing in my chest (fortunately). The pain seems to be running along my clavicle, i.e. it's "on top of" my shoulder and not deep within it.

Naturally, I Googled on this and found -- d'oh! -- computer usage to be one common cause, and since my MacBook Air is momentarily hors de combat, I've changed to a different computer,. and perhaps I have changed my posture, to the detriment of my shoulder. Also, I've been doing a lot of painting, and carrying heavy gallons of paint in my left hand, and though I don't to think of myself as physically unfit, I surely am.

Anyhow, this doesn't seem acute in any way, just chronic. But I've been waiting, and it hasn't gone away. Any suggestions on what to do?

Ibuprophen?

Acupuncture or massage?

Work on through it?

It's an age thing, get used to it? Needless to say, if this ends of interfering with my ability to type, I'm in trouble!

NOTE It gets worse as the days go on. Last night it was hard to raise my arm to get my shirt off.

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Submitted by hipparchia on

that sounds like it could possibly be from painting (or from sitting in a different posture at a different computer).

the last time i painted a bunch of walls and had a similar issue, i was living in a place with only a shower, no bathtub, so i didn't get a chance to try this remedy, but i've used it for general did-too-much-yardwork aches and pains: http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/epsom-uses-benefits.asp

eta: don't buy the fancy expensive salts. ordinary epsom salt is cheap, and you usually find it in the laxatives section of the drug store or grocery store.

also, if this is from your painting spree, it's not necessarily a sign that you're generally out of shape. it could just mean you don't normally make those particular motions and so your muscles aren't used to just those particular motions.

Submitted by lambert on

... but my father used to use Epsom salts, I believe for exactly this sort of thing. I'm about to go off and prime another wall, so we'll see how that goes.

TheMomCat's picture
Submitted by TheMomCat on

So long appears to be muscular/skeletal and not cardiac related, start with 400mg of Ibuprofen (after you've eaten) and moist heat (15 minutes on/15 minutes off). At this point ice most likely is not indicated. You can take the Ibuprofen every 4 to 6 hours to a max. dose of 2400 mg per day.

And yes, it's an age thing. ;-)

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

getting old isn't for the weak. There are things you cn do so this doesn't happen in the future. Work Out and do I listen to my own advice, No. TheMomCat has it down and rest when your done painting.

Splashoil's picture
Submitted by Splashoil on

Speaking as a retired tradesman (pipe fitter/welder) I am familiar with your symptoms. The cure is elusive and even the cause may be something different than you would think. I have a decent TH health plan to go with my Medicare and thus have access to a chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncture, and a doctor who may refer me to a specialist.
For most of last year I suffered from achilles tendonosis-both tendons were inflamed and very sore. It now seems likely that the cause may be related to a past use of antibiotics go figure. A very good PT spent months working on the tissue using heat, ice, electro stimulation and deep tissue massage with scant progress. The specialist then recommended direct application of an anti-inflammatory agent using iontophoresis battery powered bandaids on the sore tendons. The treatment is considered "experimental" thus not covered by insurance. But it worked after a dozen applications and now I am almost whole once again.
I bring this up to show there are many roads to the same goal. If I had more limited resources I would probably see an LMT or PT first who had experience with this. Then go from there. The "patch" I used may help too I would ask them about it.

Splashoil's picture
Submitted by Splashoil on

Ibuprofen and ice at the end of the day can really help. The "patch" is imo very good because the application is more direct and may limit unwanted side effects.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

I've got no solutions, just one big fat warning. I had a similar issue from computer use about a decade ago. I worked on through it because these stupid aches go away, right? Well, they did. Once, twice, three times. I don't remember how long I ignored it. Turned out I couldn't do that when I was getting older by the day. At a certain point it flared up and stayed that way for -- are you ready for this? -- over five years.

It took mainly exercise to strengthen muscles and physiotherapy, also a few visits to a chiropractor. I can't say enough for physiotherapists. They're not cheap, but if there's any way, any way at all, you can afford to see one, go do it. It'll be the best few hundred dollars you've ever spent on a medical professional.

So my big fat warning is this: Don't keep aggravating it. Do not. Really. Don't.

When it flares up, use rest, ice, and compression, if you can figure out how to apply compression around the clavicle. When it settles down, the right targeted exercises deal with the actual problem. RICE, they call it. Who knows why :P

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Yeah, that was exactly my reaction to my neck-shoulder computer issues. "Whuuut!? I'm just using a mouse a bit. Can't be that bad." And then I could barely move my head for five years.

Like the guy says in House of the Rising Sun: don't do what I have done!

TheMomCat's picture
Submitted by TheMomCat on

It sounds like a combination of physical exertion, using muscles in you shoulder that you haven't use in awhile (painting), the computer change plus aging joints.

The hard reality is that none of us are as young as we think.

I hope you've found some relief from the suggsetions.

Submitted by lambert on

Yes, it's recovered almost entirely, though I feel it was rather like a sighting shot...

Ibuprophen plus time seems to have done the trick; I primed a stairwell today and haven't seized up. However, I'm taking the physical therapu suggestion very seriously, since anything that affects my ability to type is dangerous.

I'm also wondering whether it would help if I could bring myself to stand up at a desk, instead of sitting down, I've heard people swear by this, and it might eliminate the hunching over thing....

NOTE I'm sure this is trivial by the side of people who've had real medical issues, but then on the other hand it is not trivial to me!