Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When Is Pain MS-Related and When Is It Other Stuff?

I've been suffering with pain in my left shoulder for a couple of months. After the first week, I decided to seek some medical treatment, however, I did not want to take a medication that would make me drowsy or spacey, so I opted for chiropractic treatment. Then the chiropractor referred me to physical therapy. I was on board with that, since working through this and learning how to stretch and exercise to strengthen my upper back and other muscles seemed like the sensible thing to do.

After my last session before Christmas, my pain level went from about a two or three (mildly annoying) to a seven or eight. This lasted for about a week. I was not happy about this, and car travel to San Antonio and sleeping in a hotel room did not help the situation. The pain finally subsided a few days ago.

I went for my re-evaluation today and determined that I was not going to continue PT until I see my primary care doctor. If he deems that PT should continue, then I'll go forward with that.

Here's the one thing that really bothered me about the chiropractor referring me to that particular physical therrapy facility. I learned that the chiropractor is one of the owners of the PT facility. This walks a thin tightrope ethically, in my opinion. Yes, it is a brilliant business move, but I don't completely agree with it. As I stated earlier, if my PCP refers me to the same facility, I'm fine with that. It's a great facility that is very capable in dealing with MS patients. My therapist is always concerned about my fatigue level and makes sure I don't get overheated. He has also given me exercises to do at home for other issues like balance that are not related to the shoulder.

One of the frustrating aspects of having MS is determining if things that are going on with your body are MS symprtoms or if it is something unrelated. This thing with my shoulder could be arthritis from a broken collarbone received in a 1995 theatre accident. I'll save that story for another time. Another possibility is MS spasticity.

My question for you MSers out there is, how do you determine what is MS-related and what is other stuff? And can you ever receive a definitive answer? I know that's probably making you laugh, since MS is so unpredictable. Enjoy your laugh!



herrad said...

Very difficult to determine which pain is MS and what are other things.

So far its been only MS pain, they happen all day and everyday and they move up and down my body.

Difficult to live with but you have to live with it and make the best of it.

Not easy with alot of pain but better than letting it take control.

Take care.
ps my partners blog

mcwflint said...

Depends on the when and where of the pain.

I usually start out being optimistic and assume the pain isn't MS-related.

But, just in case, I'll look at my MS books on symptoms to see if it is listed there.

Even if it is listed, I'll try to think of other options - have I tripped lately, used a limb a lot, or has the weather changed?

Laurie said...

I don't know. I've just discovered that my primary doctors pretty much assume everything is MS related, but the new doctor says there might arthritis and something neuropathy. After 9 years - I'm still learning.