Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Pain Spreading On Left Side of Body
    hawle060 posted:
    Hello! In 2005 I developed what was believed to be tendonitis of my left arm, mainly focused near the wrist. I believed at the time that my violin playing was the cause, as the pain was the worst when I would practice my instrument. I stopped playing the violin, to give my tendon time to heal. I was diagnosed with the tendonitis by a specialist, who suggested physical therapy. After two months without improvement, I stopped the therapy. Four years have passed, and this supposed tendonitis has spread throughout my left side. In addition to my left wrist area, I now feel pain in my fingers, elbow, shoulder, neck, jaw, teeth and ear, as well as my ribs, hip, knee and ankle areas. All the pain in these locations is only on the left side of my body.

    I can get very short-term relief by "popping" any of the joints near the previously mentioned affected areas.

    My question is, how could this tendonitis spread? Can tendonitis do this? If not, then what is affecting me? Could this be nerve, vein, or ligament damage? How could any of these types of pain be able to spread? Why does popping the joints cause (albeit minor) relief?

    Any sort of feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!
    Lifes responded:
    Tendonitis does not spread, nor spread to the areas you list. Tendons are only found with the muscles of the long bones-- i.e. the limbs-- arms and legs.

    "Tennis elbow" (named because tennis players get it so much) is one form. Tendonitis would normally be closer to the elbow with referred pain to the wrist. Carpal tunnel can cause wrist pain.

    (correct me if I'm wrong), The position violinists use is instrument on the shoulder/collar bone, head/neck tilted to hold the violin, other arm held at a 90degree angle to use the bow. As to your upper body pain, I would wonder if you originally had a neck / shoulder issue which is now affecting from fingers to shoulder? shoulder issues *can* wrap pain around the rib cage, either both sides or just one side.

    I'd strongly suggest another eval by a Dr and specifically ask about MRI for shoulder / neck.

    I would wonder, with the pain in the upper body, if you compensate with positioning which then affects your hip to ankle? If that does not explain it, then lower limb issues usually point to Lumbar-Sacral (spine) problems. Again, an MRI of those areas might be needed.

    You only mention pain, and pain on use (playing). I take it you have no weakness, tingling, or other symptoms?

    Again, tendonitis itself does not spread in the pattern you describe. In the shoulder, there can be nerve or blood vessel impingement. If blood vessels you would have distinct symptoms pointing to impaired circulation -- so I'd rule out blood vessel problems. A nerve could be impinged and give pain symptoms. Ligaments normally stay flexible and strong with normal use. Had you had ANY injury right before this started?

    I'd make an appointment with a Dr and get reevaluated. There is no reason for you to suffer 4 years with no answer.

    RedBear2005 responded:
    I'll add to Life's posting as well as reinforcing what she has offered. I played violin 4 years in childhood. So I'm personally familiar with some of the ways the body can react to this activity. You might have tendinitis in some areas of your arm, shoulder and ribs -- and other muscle aches in your lower body from postural issues aggravated by long practice sessions. But the pattern you're describing seems to have more of the character of some form of neuropathy (physical damage to a nerve or nerves). When you tell us that you have pain in the jaw, teeth, and ear, I would also suspect neuralgia or neuritis (generalized nerve inflammation). Off hand I don't see any clear correlation to temporary relief you say you get from popping your joints.

    I think you need to be seen by a neurologist and possibly by a rheumatoid arthritis specialist, in the near future, for a from-scratch deep neurological workup and reevaluation. Some elements of the pain you are reporting are almost certainly NOT tendinitis. Although each of the following is more than a bit of a "long shot in the dark", it may be smart to evaluate for auto-immune disorders like Lupus, as well as neuritis or systematic vasculitis.

    I wish you well with a puzzling and painful problem (or problems)

    susu808 responded:

    I have pain spreading in the left side of my body as well. It started with pain in my left butt and now it's spread down to my knee and foot, up though my ribs, shoulder, hand, neck. Popping the joints feels good, but then all my muscles tense up again. In fact that whole side of my body pops and cracks a lot, especially in my foot, hip, hands, shoulder and spine. My right side feels completely normal.

    I also used to play the violin. Actually some of my pain started when after a long break from playing, I played in the pit for a musical. After long rehearsals, my left side was always tight.

    I have done physical therapy, too, and it didn't help. I've been seeing a chiropractor, and that seems to help a tiny bit, but after 2 days, i'm back to feeling the tightness and pain in my left side. I've seen an internist, physiologist, neurologist, orthopedic surgeon, none of them have been able to figure out the problem, although the neurologist did say that some of his patients that had similar conditions benefited from acupuncture, but I haven't tried that yet. I also think my condition could be stress related.

    Anyway, I am so tired of having this gimpy left side of my body. It is really quite annoying. Sorry I can't provide any real answers for you, but I just wanted to commiserate.

    jennyannt responded:
    I have symptoms throughout the entire right side of my body. I started seeing a chiropractor a couple of years ago for some minor back pain. Then I started feeling sensations in my shoulder and neck, mostly inflammation type senses. It has now spread down through my right pelvis, leg, knee and down to my foot. I pop EVERYWHERE. My shoulder, my back, my wrist and fingers, my pelvis, my leg and my foot and ankle. I don't do this at all on my left side. I wonder if chiropractor made it worse?? I don't know who to see, where to go. The stiffness in my joints and the constant need to pop all these areas of my right side greatly concerns me. Yes, it is annoying. I'm only 27 years old, this should not be happening. The neurologist I saw recently suggested MS as a last resort. I am getting some lab work done so should hopefully know more. He proposes some sort of inflammatory problem. I know it involves my joints so I don't think it is neurological but the shoulder doctor I saw wants me to cover my basis. Has anyone narrowed these symptoms down to something we have heard of???
    jcurran replied to jennyannt's response:
    Hi, I know how old this post is but I am struggling to find anything on this type of thing. I am suffering from the same symptoms as above, tendinitis through out my right hand side of my body. I also have muscle atrophy on that side too. I have seen countless physios, doctors and specialists on this to get no solution. I have had around 10 mri's that have shown up nothin but tendinitis. I'm 24 now, was 22 when it started. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated Thanks

    Helpful Tips

    Parkinson's app for iPad
    I found a free app for my iPhone/iPad and it seems to be pretty good. It's called Parkinson's Central and it is sponsored by the National ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    3 of 4 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health Neurological Disorders Center