General Question

rachelmusil's avatar

Can sciatica pain be in my right shoulder?

Asked by rachelmusil (40points) April 1st, 2009

Like, I know the sciatic nerve is lower, and I have pain there as well, and in my legs too. I have already had my lower back pain confirmed by my doctor, but with my last flare up my shoulder started hurting too. I’m just wondering if it’s the same deal.

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9 Answers

chicadelplaya's avatar

It is probably nerve compression (or something similar) of the brachial or axillary nerve (or one close to it) of the shoulder region. That doesn’t sound fun. Be sure to let your doctor know about it and see if you can get some physical therapy if the symptoms persist. Oh, and I would avoid sleeping on it if you can.
Hope you feel better soon!

rachelmusil's avatar

Thanks for the info.
What do you mean try not to sleep on it? On just that side or should I try to sleep sitting?

Amurph's avatar

I have the same issue on and off – well, it ended up being an inflamed nerve in my elbow. Alternating heat and cold helps a lot. Definately let your doctor know, too!

rachelmusil's avatar

Doc thinks it’s a herniated disk for me. We are trying anti-inflammation pills, but they don’t seem to be helping after a week and a half.

chicadelplaya's avatar

If it is an acute (new) injury, I would avoid heat and stick with ice. Heat will only further inflame the area that is already inflamed (hence the pain). I would try and sleep on the opposite side to avoid making it worse. Also, put a pillow between your knees (if you’re on your side) or under your knees (if you are on your back) when you sleep to help give your lower back a little relief. And like I said, seek out some physical therapy asap! Take care!

rachelmusil's avatar

It is about two months old.
I’ll try the cool pack, and thanks for the sleeping ideas.

3or4monsters's avatar

No. I’m going to nitpick on terminology here. You said you have already been diagnosed with sciatica, and are relating the similar pains. “Sciatica” is in reference to a very specific nerve impingement of the sciatic nerve, which innervates the lower back, buttock, and/or various parts of the leg and foot. You can’t have “sciatica” anywhere else in the body, but you CAN have a pinched nerve, which is essentially the same thing. I know, I know! Fussy terminology thing. Sorry.

Your doc thinks it’s a herniated disc… did you have an MRI done? What caused the herniation in the first place? In the neck, they just don’t appear out of nowhere… there’s usually some kind of trauma involved, car accident or bad crash/fall that has a whiplash-like effect on the structures of the neck. That it’s appearing along your entire spine signals to me that something is amiss. Have you been in a car accident within the last 2–3 years?

I would also consider a second opinion, perhaps that of a neurologist.

Darwin's avatar

I have had a similar problem related to a herniated disc at C5/C6 (from picking up my son who was having a meltdown in a public place). The MRI shows it very clearly. It periodically causes a pain across my left shoulder blade, and also affected my hands and arms. Anti-inflammatory drugs helped in the beginning and then PT helped it heal the best it could, and then I was taught certain exercises to help it further. My hands and arms are generally okay these days, but the shoulder blade pain still sneaks in there periodically.

You probably should be referred to a neurologist. However, be aware that they may need to do a nerve function test, which, while very informative, is uniquely painful.

rachelmusil's avatar

@3or4monsters yeah I just want to know if the pain can refer up there or if it could be a related problem.
For my lower back I was sleeping and it woke me up, the next day I went to school with my 724628lb. backpack on and it aggravated it. idk if I have it in the neck, I dont think I do, it’s just the same kind of pain.
I read that you can get sciatica from wearing pants too tight and I do wear tight pants usually. So it could be that, but I haven’t been in a crash in the last few years.

@Darwin Doc said he would refer me if my pills didnt work.

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