Left shoulder pain after eating or drinking

Posted by jrofri @jrofri, Dec 5, 2017

Has anyone experienced severe left shoulder pain, down the upper arm, up the neck to the ear, approximately 15 mins after eating. This pain usually lasts for three hours after eating a meal.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Digestive Health group.

@loundeann

Hi. I'm new here. My daughter is being worked up for MS. She's had 3 MRIs with contrast in brain and spine. No lesions in the brain and only one on the spine at C2-3. Her symptoms are numbness and tingling in the right arm, hand and upper torso on the right side. However, very recently she has been experiencing severe pain in the right arm after eating dinner. Not sure why but another site referred to CCSVI as a possibility. Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) is a term used to describe a potential reduction in blood flow in the major veins that drain blood from the brain and spinal cord over a prolonged period. The condition was first described as being a possible contributor to MS by Italian physician, Dr Zamboni in 2009.

Jump to this post

@loundeann, any updates on your daughter's diagnosis?

REPLY

Hello all.

I had either gastritis or an ulcer in May of this year. I stopped drinking alcohol and it resolved after a few weeks. Due to covid restrictions, the pressure on the NHS in Wales, and the fact that I’d had ulcers 25 years ago (and my symptoms were identical) I didn’t consult a doctor.

At the same time I experienced intermittent and brief pain under my left armpit and my left shoulder blade. This only occurred when I was out walking. And it only happened once every couple of weeks for about 5 minutes,

In early August my adult son became ill with covid. I was extremely worried but he recovered after ten days. I suddenly experienced, for the first time in my life, acid reflux and heartburn. I stopped drinking alcohol (again!) and cut out spicy foods. The pain in my left armpit and shoulder blade got much worse and lasted for much longer, mostly prompted by eating, although I do get twinges while sleeping.

Getting a telephone appointment with my GP was difficult until I mentioned abdominal pains. I’ve just dropped off a stool sample, once this is analysed I will have a physical exam and blood tests.

I’m pretty sure I’ve developed a hiatal hernia due to the stress off my son being ill and sitting hunched forward, worrying. I’ve been doing heel drops and diaphragmatic breathing for the past few days and last night I felt a huge lurch in my chest, and the feeling of something balled-up in my sternum area completely disappeared. I felt like my stomach was in the correct place and my heartburn seems to have disappeared.

However I still get a brief, mild pain in my left shoulder blade when eating. It feels that as soon as the food hits my stomach there’s an instant twinge in that spot.

I had a severe car crash 20 years ago in which my left shoulder was badly damaged, as well as my SI joint in my pelvis. I’ve had years of PT on these two joints. In April I was in agony with lower back/pelvic pain but the bladder issues I’ve suffered for years suddenly stopped. I’ve since realised that the pain (which lasted for two weeks) was my SI joint and hip finally realigning fully after 20 years of being wonky. I was overjoyed but within a few weeks these stomach/shoulder/armpit issues emerged.

My theory is that my shoulder/diaphragm were also misaligned, and once my pelvis had slid back into place the misalignment of my upper torso became problematic.

I was very interested to read @debkl ’s posts. It may be wishful thinking on my part but I believe that this shoulder/armpit pain when eating might be caused by a neuro-muscular-skeletal issue, in my case anyway. I’d be really interested to know more about the exercises for dorsal scapular nerve impingement.

REPLY
@nathanwales

Hello all.

I had either gastritis or an ulcer in May of this year. I stopped drinking alcohol and it resolved after a few weeks. Due to covid restrictions, the pressure on the NHS in Wales, and the fact that I’d had ulcers 25 years ago (and my symptoms were identical) I didn’t consult a doctor.

At the same time I experienced intermittent and brief pain under my left armpit and my left shoulder blade. This only occurred when I was out walking. And it only happened once every couple of weeks for about 5 minutes,

In early August my adult son became ill with covid. I was extremely worried but he recovered after ten days. I suddenly experienced, for the first time in my life, acid reflux and heartburn. I stopped drinking alcohol (again!) and cut out spicy foods. The pain in my left armpit and shoulder blade got much worse and lasted for much longer, mostly prompted by eating, although I do get twinges while sleeping.

Getting a telephone appointment with my GP was difficult until I mentioned abdominal pains. I’ve just dropped off a stool sample, once this is analysed I will have a physical exam and blood tests.

I’m pretty sure I’ve developed a hiatal hernia due to the stress off my son being ill and sitting hunched forward, worrying. I’ve been doing heel drops and diaphragmatic breathing for the past few days and last night I felt a huge lurch in my chest, and the feeling of something balled-up in my sternum area completely disappeared. I felt like my stomach was in the correct place and my heartburn seems to have disappeared.

However I still get a brief, mild pain in my left shoulder blade when eating. It feels that as soon as the food hits my stomach there’s an instant twinge in that spot.

I had a severe car crash 20 years ago in which my left shoulder was badly damaged, as well as my SI joint in my pelvis. I’ve had years of PT on these two joints. In April I was in agony with lower back/pelvic pain but the bladder issues I’ve suffered for years suddenly stopped. I’ve since realised that the pain (which lasted for two weeks) was my SI joint and hip finally realigning fully after 20 years of being wonky. I was overjoyed but within a few weeks these stomach/shoulder/armpit issues emerged.

My theory is that my shoulder/diaphragm were also misaligned, and once my pelvis had slid back into place the misalignment of my upper torso became problematic.

I was very interested to read @debkl ’s posts. It may be wishful thinking on my part but I believe that this shoulder/armpit pain when eating might be caused by a neuro-muscular-skeletal issue, in my case anyway. I’d be really interested to know more about the exercises for dorsal scapular nerve impingement.

Jump to this post

@nathanwales Hello Nathan. I'm concerned about your left shoulder pain and hope your complete physical exam will be conducted soon.
My story is that on July 8th, I was at the hospital E.R. for another matter and told the attending staff that I felt I was having a heart attack. I told them I felt odd sensations in my chest, and as if my heart was "fluttering" or shaking. They asked if I had any pain and I replied, " just in my left shoulder blade". "Aha!" they said, and went into immediate action with blood tests, ECG, blood pressure monitoring, etc. The blood test result came back with the cardiac marker (diatrope?) elevated, and the E.R. doctor advised I was "having a heart attack". The blood test was repeated throughout the day, and the E.R. doctor kept telling me "You're having a heart attack." At day's end, the doc finally confirmed, "You've had a heart attack." I was surprised at all this, because I had no severe pain and, if I'd been at home, might have ignored the whole episode. Apparently, that cardiac marker's normal range is between 0 and 12. Mine got up to 1,639!
I was hospitalized for 22 days and prescribed 8 cardiac- type medications!
So, Nathan, and all who read this, be vigilant. I hope your physical exam will be soon, Nathan. Wishing you good luck and warm wishes! Laurie

REPLY
@artist01

@nathanwales Hello Nathan. I'm concerned about your left shoulder pain and hope your complete physical exam will be conducted soon.
My story is that on July 8th, I was at the hospital E.R. for another matter and told the attending staff that I felt I was having a heart attack. I told them I felt odd sensations in my chest, and as if my heart was "fluttering" or shaking. They asked if I had any pain and I replied, " just in my left shoulder blade". "Aha!" they said, and went into immediate action with blood tests, ECG, blood pressure monitoring, etc. The blood test result came back with the cardiac marker (diatrope?) elevated, and the E.R. doctor advised I was "having a heart attack". The blood test was repeated throughout the day, and the E.R. doctor kept telling me "You're having a heart attack." At day's end, the doc finally confirmed, "You've had a heart attack." I was surprised at all this, because I had no severe pain and, if I'd been at home, might have ignored the whole episode. Apparently, that cardiac marker's normal range is between 0 and 12. Mine got up to 1,639!
I was hospitalized for 22 days and prescribed 8 cardiac- type medications!
So, Nathan, and all who read this, be vigilant. I hope your physical exam will be soon, Nathan. Wishing you good luck and warm wishes! Laurie

Jump to this post

I’m really sorry that you’ve experienced such a frightening and worrying event, I hope that you make a full recovery. I’m also very grateful for your concern and your reply. Hopefully I can have a physical exam in the next few days. It’s very difficult to see a doctor in Wales right now, people are dying at home. I will call my doctor tomorrow. Thanks again and I hope you are ok.

REPLY

Hello again, @nathanwales. I'm so happy you'll be contacting your doctor right away. I'm sure if you mention you're concerned that you may be having heart issues you'll get an immediate appointment! Please keep in touch and let us know how you progress. And a belated warm welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! Warmest regards, Laurie

REPLY

So here’s the deal. Anytime I eat (only when I eat) I get an extreme pain in my left shoulder. It doesn’t matter if I eat slow or fast- it’s the same pain. I’ve had my gallbladder removed, as well as a hiatal hernia removed as well. I have also had a vertical sleeve gastric surgery. This has been hurting for about a month now and started suddenly. I will be checking with a doctor to figure out what the heck is going on. Also, I’m 28 years old.

REPLY
@elmamo

So here’s the deal. Anytime I eat (only when I eat) I get an extreme pain in my left shoulder. It doesn’t matter if I eat slow or fast- it’s the same pain. I’ve had my gallbladder removed, as well as a hiatal hernia removed as well. I have also had a vertical sleeve gastric surgery. This has been hurting for about a month now and started suddenly. I will be checking with a doctor to figure out what the heck is going on. Also, I’m 28 years old.

Jump to this post

Hi @elmamo, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. We’re an online community of members who help each other through our shared medical and life experiences. We can’t diagnose health issues or prescribe treatments.

Your pain during eating sounds just horrible! Eating is such a basic requirement for daily living, I can’t imagine how this must be impacting your day to day existence! Makes you dread mealtime! Is this pain during eating or after? How long does the discomfort last?
Does it matter what kind of foods you eat?

You’ve already had gall bladder surgery as well as treatment to fix your Hiatal hernia and also gastric sleeve surgery. There’ve been significant changes to your digestive system and I’m wondering if there’s a correlation.
Did this pain all being after these procedures?

I did find this previous discussion in Connect… https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/left-shoulder-pain-15-mins-after-eating/
I’m hoping some of our members can chime in with what they’ve experienced and what helped them,

After doing a little online research it looks as though this isn’t a rare symptom but really does warrant a trip to your doctor. This extreme pain in your left shoulder, from everything I’m reading, points to pancreatitis. To a lesser degree, it can also be triggered by heart issues, GERD and a hiatal hernia.
https://wholesomealive.com/left-shoulder-pain-after-eating/
https://www.newhealthadvisor.org/pain-in-left-shoulder-after-eating.html

REPLY

Omg just found this thread and I have the same issue…Sometimes I get intense nausea and pain also but the shoulder pain that just goes on and on..I have had all the tests too and a hiatal hernia also…Doctors also don't know what is causing the pain and are trying different medications. Did you ever find the solution???

REPLY
@sueinny

Omg just found this thread and I have the same issue…Sometimes I get intense nausea and pain also but the shoulder pain that just goes on and on..I have had all the tests too and a hiatal hernia also…Doctors also don't know what is causing the pain and are trying different medications. Did you ever find the solution???

Jump to this post

I haven’t found a solution yet. I will have a consult with a surgeon soon. I have a pain that is in my left shoulder blade only while or shortly after I eat. At the same time, I feel fullness in my upper stomach. I can get some relief by laying on the floor with a warm bean bag type pad under my back. Some gentle yoga moves such as cat cows help. But when you are in a restaurant, you can’t do that. This is very random and only happens when I eat.My GI doc thinks this is coming from my hiatal hernia. Google exercises for hiatal hernia and you will find some exercise that might help. It’s very frustrating.

REPLY

Had this for years. A YouTube physical therapist helped me determine that is was an irritated dorsal scapular nerve on my left hand dominant side.

REPLY

Had similar pain for years. GI doctor said it was Gerd. However, while eating dinner one night I experienced pain when I swallowed brown rice. Was sent to digestive specialist. The result was that he discovered I had achalasia. The rhythm in my esophagus was off. Was treated with balloon dilation and am doing well. Have to watch my diet. Good luck in search. You might try a digestive specialist rather than a regular GI doctor. A look at things from a different perspective.

REPLY

I have stomach ache right under my right rib cage after eating. I also get swelling of sternum and aches. It is kind of dull pain.This is going on since December of 2011. I had colonoscopy, cat scan, ultra sound, X-rays but they don't find anything. I wake up every night around 3 or 4 am. with gas and can't go to sleep. Also, I have a left shoulder pain and it gets worst when I have stomach ache. Some time I think they may be connected. Some nerve that flares up and passes through digestive system and neck or shoulder. Anyone one suggest something. I had H Pylori in 2001 and most recently October 2021.

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment