Urgent Advice: Phone 111 If:
- there has been a new, significant trauma within the last 7 days, for example a fall from height or direct blow to the head or neck area
- feel numbness, pins and needles or weakness that is worsening in one or both arms
- have problems with your balance or walking since your neck pain started
- develop blurred vision, ringing in your ears or dizziness that doesn’t go away within 48 hours
Pain In Your Shoulder And Neck 5 Signs That The Neck Could Be The Problem
Most patients who come to my clinic attend because of pain in their shoulder or arm. Sadly, shoulder pain isnt limited to the shoulder and it is quite common for shoulder conditions to cause pain to radiate up to the neck or down the arm toward the elbow. Some patients have both shoulder and neck pain and it can be challenging for patients, phyios, GPs and surgeons to work out if the problem is in the shoulder or the neck, or both. There are some tips that can help to identify if the neck is the problem.
Move #: Scalenes Pin & Stretch
The scalene muscles help you inhale, flex your head forward, and rotate side to side.
When the scalene muscles get tight, they can entrap the nerves that pass under them, resulting in numbness, pain, and tingling down the arm into the fingers.
To do the scalenes pin and stretch technique, you first hook your fingertips down onto the scalenes, right in the middle portion of your clavicle bone, thats the collarbone.
Then turn your head toward the fingers to shorten the scalenes, pinning them down with your fingertips. Take a deep breath and inhale, and as you exhale, turn your head away to stretch the scalenes.
Repeat this pin and stretch technique until you reach the end of the clavicle. Then, do the same thing on the opposite side.
Recommended Reading: Workers Comp Elbow Injury Settlement
Dont Let Your Pinched Nerve Ruin Your Routine
When you have cervical radiculopathy, many at-home remedies can help relieve the pain, but if it persists, you should see a medical professional. If you are located in Prescott, Arizona, you can always see us at VISP. We specialize in completing minimally invasive and low-risk procedures that will help you get back to your routine.
Every team member is professional, passionate, and experienced in this field, so you can have peace of mind when youre here. If you have any questions, you should call us at 771-8477.
Cervical Spine Conditions That Can Cause Shoulder Pain
Despite some of these tell-tale signs, the trickiest part is understanding why and how your shoulder pain is being caused by a problem area located in your neck. There are four main causes of shoulder pain that stem from the neck:
- Cervical spondylosis This is a term that refers to arthritis of the spine.
- Disc herniation A disc in your spine is pushed outward and causes your nerves to become compressed
- Spinal stenosis This is usually due to arthritic symptoms and it is the narrowing of the spinal canal.
- A ligament or muscle injury This usually occurs after trauma or car accidents.
Don’t Miss: How Do I Know If I Broke My Elbow
Shoulder Tendinitis Or Bursitis
Tendons are strong fibers that attach muscles to your bone. Bursa are fluid-filled sacs that prevent friction at joints.
Inflammation of the tendons and the bursa are common causes of shoulder pain, but pain can occur anywhere that inflammation occurs.
The tendons and bursa around your rotator cuff are especially prone to inflammation that causes pain and stiffness around your shoulder.
How To Treat These Conditions
The first step in treating shoulder or neck pain is a proper diagnosis with a specialist. Not treating these symptoms in the early stages can lead to worsening pain or permanent nerve damage, if not treated in the correct manner.
At the Orthopaedic Institute Brielle Orthopaedics, our staff of highly trained of Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists is prepared to treat any musculoskeletal injury or condition. We provide expert medical care in a professional, understanding and caring environment to our patients with 5 locations throughout Central New Jersey.
Furthermore, The physicians at OIBO have extensive training in the various sub specialties of orthopaedics including injuries, wrist, spine injuries, total joint reconstruction, arthroscopy, knee injuries, pediatric orthopaedics and sports medicine care, designed especially for the athlete. If you are suffering from any bone, joint, spine or muscle injury contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Recommended Reading: Weight Lifting Gloves For Wrist Support
Ways To Relieve Pain From A Neck Problem
Whether you have chronic pain in your shoulder, your neck or both, dont wait to see an expert. Having a neck or shoulder specialist evaluate your complaints will determine where the main problem is and will get you started on the correct treatment, says Dr. Ricchetti.
Pain Shooting Into Wrist And Hand
Shoulder pain can quite often radiate down the arm toward the elbow. When pain goes below the elbow down into the wrist or hand this can suggest that the problem may be due to a trapped nerve in the neck. When a nerve in irritated the brain feels pain in the distribution of the nerve not always at the site of irritation.
Also Check: Knee Pain Down To Ankle
Move #: Trigger Point Bar
I fastened a tennis ball to the end of a Back Knobber 2 trigger point bar to widen the surface area that Im going to massage.
Place it right where you feel the knot in your shoulder blade or upper traps, and then anchor the bar down into that knock for about eight to 12 seconds.
As you press down on the tight spot, rotate your head away to stretch it. Continue working the area until you feel the knot release and soften.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Seek medical help right away if you have:
- A fever and headache, and your neck is so stiff that you cannot touch your chin to your chest. This may be meningitis. Call 911 or the local emergency number or get to a hospital.
- Symptoms of a heart attack, such as shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, or arm or jaw pain.
Contact your provider if:
- Symptoms do not go away in 1 week with self-care
- You have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm or hand
- Your neck pain was caused by a fall, blow, or injury — if you cannot move your arm or hand, have someone call 911 or the local emergency number
- You have swollen glands or a lump in your neck
- Your pain does not go away with regular doses of over-the-counter pain medicine
- You have difficulty swallowing or breathing along with the neck pain
- The pain gets worse when you lie down or wakes you up at night
- Your pain is so severe that you cannot get comfortable
- You lose control over urination or bowel movements
- You have trouble walking and balancing
Read Also: What Does Shoulder Pain From Lung Cancer Feel Like
How To Soothe A Sore Neck
Sore neck? It’s pretty common. And most men get neck painfor the same reasons they suffer low back pain. “In the vast majority of people, it’s routine muscle strain and sprain,” says Dr. Robert Shmerling, Senior Faculty Editor at Harvard Health Publishing and Corresponding Member of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “The neck has to support that heavy bowling ball on top.”
The remedies for neck and back painalso have some things in common. First, ease the early intense pain with rest, ice, and heat then move on to gentle stretching and strengthening exercises. Later, avoid bad posture and other habits that could trigger another neck pain crisis.
How Do Healthcare Professionals Diagnose Shoulder And Neck Pain
A thorough history and physical examination are usually adequate to establish the diagnosis for most injuries. However, your doctor may do a series of tests, depending on the cause of your injury, the location of your pain, or your other symptoms. The list is extensive and may include X-rays, an electrocardiogram , blood tests, and CT scans.
- X-rays: These may be done if you have tenderness to touch along the bony areas of your spine or shoulder, a history of significant trauma, deformity of the area, or your doctor suspects a condition related to your heart or lungs.
A treatment plan will be developed after a complete history and physical examination . Treatment options vary for each condition. Clearly, a simple strain is treated far differently than a heart attack.
Also Check: Physical Therapy For Hand And Wrist
What Causes Neck And Shoulder Pain
When neck pain and shoulder pain occur together, some people may find the neck pain more concerning. For others, the shoulder pain may be more painful or limit more activities. Depending on the cause of the pain, it is also possible for the neck and shoulder pain to alternate in intensity during different activities.
Learn about issues and conditions that can cause neck pain. Watch:Neck Pain Causes Video
Below are some of the potential causes of neck and shoulder pain to appear at the same time.
First Steps To Relieve Neck Pain
The causes of routine strain-and-sprain neck pain vary. If you wake up with a “crick” in your neck, it’s probably the sharp muscle contractions known as spasms, caused by a muscle strain. A sprain, in contrast, happens in ligamentsthe tough tissues that connect bones together. Alternatively, a tendonthe tissue that attaches muscles to bonesmay become inflamed, causing tendinitis. Basic self-help takes care of most routine neck pain flare-ups:
- Use cold to numb the early acute pain and reduce inflammation.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers to control mild to moderate pain. These include acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen , naproxen , or aspirin.
- Use a neck collar for short periods to rest the painful muscles and tissues and ease your discomfort. “Collars have a bad reputation from people overusing them and getting weak muscles, but used a few hours here and there they can be very useful,” Dr. Shmerling says.
- Apply heateither with a heating pad or by using a warm whirlpool bath if one is availableafter a day or two, once the acute pain calms down.
Should you go to a chiropractor to get your neck “cracked”? Dr. Shmerling counsels against sudden, strenuous manipulation of the neck. “It may be fine for low back pain, but avoid it for neck pain,” he says.
You May Like: Sharp Pain In My Wrist
What Is The Outlook For Pain In The Right Side Of The Neck
Experiencing pain on the right side of your neck is not unusual and most likely not something to be concerned about. Neck pain often will go away on its own after a few days or weeks, particularly if you engage in self-care treatments and do not strain your neck further.
Severe neck pain that occurs after an accident or seemingly out of nowhere should be seen by a doctor, as well as neck pain linked to other serious symptoms.
Is Surgery Necessary For Neck And Arm Pain
If the conservative treatments fail to improve symptoms, Dr. Ahuja will indicate which procedure will be most likely to reduce your pain. Depending on the condition, surgeries designed to relieve neck and arm pain can include cervical discectomy, or a cervical artificial disc replacement such as the Mobi-C® cervical disc.
Surgery is never our first choice. If Dr. Ahuja believes conservative treatments would be beneficial to try, there are a variety of options available. Our goal is to eliminate your pain or to get it to a level you can tolerate, hopefully without surgery.
Also Check: Pain Relief From Tennis Elbow
Find Out What’s Causing Your Chronic Neck Pain
The best way to know whats causing your chronic neck pain: Schedule an office visit at Premier Spine Institute so Dr. Bonaventure Ngu can perform a thorough physical exam and evaluation. Its the first step toward feeling better and preventing more serious problems. Book an appointment online today.
You Might Also Enjoy…
Move #: Suboccipital Release
Forward head postures can cause a chronic shortening of the suboccipitals.
These are the tiny muscles at the base of your skull, whose primary function is to rock and tilt your head into extension.
Tightness in the suboccipitals can lead to a stiff neck and headaches.
To do the suboccipital release, you place your hands on the back of your head with your thumbs resting on the base of your neck, and then slowly extend your neck backward into your thumbs and apply static pressure for about eight to 12 seconds.
Move your thumbs a little closer together, and repeat the static pressure.
Recommended Reading: Pain In Wrist And Forearm
How Is The Cause Diagnosed
Because there are many possible causes for chest and shoulder pain, diagnosis can be challenging.
Your doctor will take a full medical history to find out about any other health conditions you may have. Theyll also ask if your family members have heart disease or other types of conditions.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, when they started, how long they lasted, and if they changed.
Once your doctor knows more about your symptoms and any other health conditions, theyll do a physical exam and listen to your heart and lungs.
There are many diagnostic tests your doctor may use to determine whats causing your shoulder and chest pain. Common diagnostic tests include:
You’re Looking Down At Your Phone Or Feet
We hate to break it to you, but keeping your head upright is the ideal walking form, and when you’re texting or scrolling, it can negatively impact your muscles. Tilting the head forward increases the amount of weight that is put on your spine and is a culprit behind general “tech neck” , says Jessica McManus, PT, FAAOMPT, physical therapist, functional medicine health coach, owner of Full Circle Wellness PT. If you’re looking down to avoid ice or uneven terrain, that’s understandable, McManus says, but a walking stick or mobility aid could also help give you keep your head up.
Recommended Reading: Exercises For Osteoarthritis Of Knee
Signs Of Neck And Shoulder Pain
Dr. Delavaux says that individuals should pay attention to the following signs of neck pain:
- Pain that’s often worsened by holding your head in one position for a prolonged period
- Muscle tightness and/or spasms
Additionally, he notes that you should be aware of the following signs of shoulder pain:
- Inability to use the shoulder or move your arm away from your body
- Sudden swelling
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor immediately and see if they offer in-person or virtual visits, advises Dr. Delavaux. Dont wait too long, as this may worsen the underlying problem of the pain.
When The Shoulder Is The Suspect
Shoulder pain is most often caused by an injury to the rotator cuff, a group of tendons and muscles that stabilize the joint. The rotator cuff develops wear and tear with age, and can be easily injured. When this happens, we compensate by using different muscles to pick things up or reach for them. This may cause both shoulder and neck pain, says Dr. Ricchetti. You may have a rotator cuff injury or other shoulder problem if pain:
- Develops in the shoulder itself or on the outside of your upper arm.
- Is dull and aching.
- Improves when you rest your arm.
Recommended Reading: Pain Radiating From Wrist To Elbow
How To Get Moving
After a neck problem you should:
- keep moving, even if you move slowly at first
- move your neck for short periods every hour
- change positions regularly where ever you are – try to find a position that reduces any pains you may have in your neck and/or arm
- try to stay active but remember not to carry out activities which aggravate any pains you may have in your neck and/or arm
- do whatever you normally would and stay at, or return to work – this is important and the best way to get better
- try to use one supportive pillow as too many can put strain on your neck
Use of a collar isn’t recommended.
What Are The Possible Causes Of Neck Pain
Many different medical issues and injuries can cause neck pain. Conditions that may cause neck pain include:
- Aging: Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis can lead to neck pain as you age. Over time, stress and motion can lead to spinal disc degeneration, causing a herniated disc or pinched nerve.
- Injury: Trauma from sudden forced movement of the neck or head and rebound in the opposite direction can cause pain and soreness. The muscles, ligaments, discs, vertebral joints and nerve roots in the spine cord in the neck can be affected in trauma injuries.
- Mental stress: Tightening your neck muscles due to tension commonly causes neck pain and stiffness.
- Physical strain: Overusing your neck muscles during repetitive actions or strenuous activities can lead to stiffness and pain.
- Conditions that affect spinal balance: Poor posture , being overweight, weak abdominal muscles can all affect spine posture and contribute to neck pain.
- Growths: In rare cases, masses including tumors, cysts and bone spurs can cause neck pain.
- Other health conditions:Meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell If Your Elbow Is Dislocated