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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Shoulder Blade Injury
January 2000

Q. About two months ago, I injured my right shoulder blade. It feels like a muscular knot that won't go away. I have been taking 3 or 4 Motrin 800mg for two weeks with no relief. Now the pain has travelled down the outside of my right arm. I have no medical insurance and am out of work. Is there anything that will ease or eliminate this pain?

A. It sounds like you may have strained your upper back muscles. However, the pain that is radiating down your right arm could represent some nerve compression in the neck. Without examining you, it is difficult to elaborate much more. However, treatment for this usually would include anti-inflammatory meds like Motrin, although, you need to take Motrin 600 mg three to four times per day with meals.

Often, I prefer Aleve, which is a longer acting anti-inflammatory in which two tabs twice per day with meals often gives good pain relief. A muscle relaxant can also alleviate pain associated with muscle spasm, but they are prescription drugs such as Norflex or Flexeril. Heat can be helpful with hot compresses. Ideally, it would be best if you could be examined especially since the motrin has not helped. Physical therapy with certain exercises can also be very helpful, but again, often x-rays are first done. Hope this helps some.

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