What is meant by "shoulder pain"?

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What is meant by "shoulder pain"?

Postby sarina » Thu May 29, 2003 12:23 am

I had problems with high blood pressure at the end of my first pregnancy and they were concerned that I may be developing preeclampsia...although my water broke at 38 weeks and they never actually determined whether I did or did not have it.

I am currently 29.5 weeks pregnant with our second child and I'm starting to watch for the signs of preeclampsia. So far, so good...my blood pressure is normal and I have no protein in my urine. I have been reading about HELLP syndrome however, and read that shoulder pain is a symptom.

What do they mean by "shoulder pain"? I have shoulder pain today actually. It is in the side of my right shoulder and it hurts the most when I move it...feels like maybe I pulled a muscle. Is this the kind of pain that they are referring to or is it something different?

Thanks,

Sarina
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Re : What is meant by "shoulder pain"?

Postby expert on call » Mon Jun 02, 2003 09:20 am

The shoulder pain often seen in preeclampsia is actually due to swelling and damage of the liver. Although they are far apart in the body, liver swelling can cause irritation of the diaphragm which lies just above it. The nerves that sense pain in the diaphragm also sense pain in the shoulder, and the body has a hard time distinguishing the two. Therefore, irritation of the diaphragm will sometimes be sensed by the body as shoulder pain. This is known as “referred pain” and it occurs in other areas of the body as well. Shoulder pain is usually only seen in severe forms of the disease. It sounds as though you currently don’t have a severe form, so the shoulder pain is likely not related to preeclampsia, but if it persists it would be prudent to have it evaluated.

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