Viral Brachial Neuritis

Hi all, hoping that someone will be able to help or share some experiences (hopefully good!).

Back in June 2022 I injured my shoulder doing DIY on my bathroom ceiling (fitting batons and over boarding the existing plaster finish). Across my shoulder blade was painful but manageable with paracetamol and my arm was heavy and weak. Booked in to see the doctor however I unfortunately caught Covid and had to delay my appointment until it cleared. During this time the pain in my shoulder got a lot worse and by the time I could see the doctor I was in a lot of pain. Over the next couple of weeks the pain subsided however I now have no feeling in the area affected (back of my shoulder blade/scapula) nor can I contract the muscles to lift my hand above shoulder height. Drinking a cup of tea is a two handed affair now as my right hand side is too weak to lift it!

Doctor referred me to Orthopaedics with a suspected rotator cuff injury. I have since had X rays, ultrasound and finally an MRI. Rotator cuff injury has been ruled out and whilst a couple of minor issues have been identified (bicep tendon damage, mild subacromial bursitis) the main diagnosis is looking increasingly likely that I have (or still have) viral neuritis which has paralysed my supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles causing massive muscle wastage.

This has left my shoulder very weak and unable to support itself when under load (routine planks for example are off the cards) and I cannot maintain my hand position under sideways load so currently riding outdoors is off the cards. If I hit a pothole/rock in the road it is unlikely that I would have a strong or quick enough control on the bars to stay upright. On the trainer I can manage 90-120 minutes but start getting aches/pains after 45 minutes or so and have to sit up off the bars to relieve the discomfort.

The information I can find on the web doesn’t paint a great picture for treatment/recovery and I am finding it very difficult to cope with having been able to ride 600km/380 miles in a single hit a week or two before the injury to now being unsafe to ride outdoors with no clear indication as to if or when the muscles affected may recover.

Has anyone had this and if so what has your experience been? Hoping for some positive feedback but fearing the worst right now.

Ive never had it diagnosed but I have something similar down my left side caused by chemotherapy destroying my nerves and maybe a fall on that side. I have done a lot of miles in the past and I have always been able to sit up and ease it off. Its worse on a TT bikewhen there’s more weight on the arm. Its caused me too often to sit up and shake it out too which costs a lot of time. Its never get as bad on a road or gravel bike. On the TT bike its also not as bad as it was as nerves slowly repair.

Thanks @HLaB, sorry to hear about your situation and hope you continue to make progress.

Just got back from the consultant and I have been referred for an EMG to assess the nerve function in the affected muscles/area. Consultant said that it certainly looks like it is Parsonage Turner Syndrome (aka viral neuritis). No known cause, no treatment available and no definitive timeline for recovery. It sucks but I guess I need to work out how I can ride my bike safely as I am. Fingers crossed!

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