Hi Guys! I am Kushal, 29 years of age. Generally, I have quite a comfortable lifestyle without any hectic schedule or long working hours. Also have proper sleep at night and take care to have good nutrition in the form of balanced, timely meals. My occupation does not require me to sit continuously or work on the computer for extended periods of time (I get up from my chair at office an average once every hour or at times, more frequently).
I have been doing gym workouts regularly for more than six years now. My workouts have always been moderate, not heavy (lifted a maximum of 45 Kilograms on bench press and my workout would last not more than 1 hour). I would add here that I had not made any sudden or abrupt change in my workouts just before the problem occurred.
On the night of June 9, 2010, I woke up from sleep experiencing extreme pain in the left shoulder. I would emphasize here that the pain I felt was very clearly not in exactly the middle in the vertebral column but rather towards the left in the muscle close to the shoulder blade (this point seems to have been missed by all the doctors/physios I have consulted, except one). I applied a topical pain relief solution on the effected area that night to reduce the pain and somehow be able to sleep.
In the first few days after the pain started, I tried to not push myself and took as much rest as possible by working only a few hours in the day and returning home early from office to just lie down and rest. I used hot water bottle fomentation and applied topical pain reliever on the affected area three to four times a day. By the second or third day, the pain gradually spread to the left arm in the muscles all along the radial nerve. I experienced numbness in the top part of the index finger of left hand.
On the 5th day (on June 14) I consulted the doctor who diagnosed cervical spondylosis after examining me externally. I took physiotherapy for three days (June 14 to 16) continuously (diathermy, some massage and TENS) and got some relief from pain. I thought the pain would go away on its own gradually, but it didn’t.
At this point I had to discontinue physiotherapy and did not get any kind of treatment for 15 days for some reason. But during this period, I took rest mostly and didn’t over exert myself. I also consulted a senior orthopaedic surgeon and he also called the problem “cervical spondylosis”.
Finally I consulted a sports physiotherapist on June 29 (a gap of 15 days after the first 3 days of physiotherapy that I got). He diagnosed “prolapsed disc” to be the cause of pain and nerve compression in the cervical region, which in turn was causing the referred pain in left arm. Starting June 29 I started to get physiotherapy treatment everyday regularly (a combination of diathermy (heat), cervical traction, IFT for initial few days only, TENS, Ultra Sound and some Isometric exercises at home).
After 17 consecutive days of physiotherapy I was still experiencing mild pain at the same point in left shoulder where it originally started sometimes in the day. Also, a mild radiating pain was still there in the left arm- not in the entire length of the arm like before, but in just a small segment of the Brachioradialis muscle. Numbness in the uppermost segment of index finger had reduced considerably in the initial 7 to 8 days of physiotherapy, say, from 100% to 10%, but beyond this the numbness seemed to not go down any further.
At this point, I felt that the physiotherapy and cervical traction that I have been getting is not working. So I consulted another physiotherapist. This guy listened to my case history and pain symptoms and diagnosed muscle injury (of Levator Scapulae muscle or some other shoulder muscle) as the cause of pain and also resulting in the nerve pinch which in turn, caused referred pain in left arm.
He has advised me several stretching exercises at home (to be done three times a day) and he says the remaining pain and numbness would go away very gradually with these exercises alone.
What do you guys think the problem actually was, injured muscle or prolapsed disc or cervical spondylosis? If it was muscle injury, please elaborate what might have caused the injury. Could it be because of improper form while lifting weight during workout?