How common is neck pain?
Neck pain and headaches are very common noting that most people will experience neck pain during their lifetime. Many times, with a little rest and gentle activity, the symptoms will get better and you will be back to your old self. However, these mild onsets may be a sign of something that is looming under the surface. Neck pain may be a result of months if not years of improper use of our necks, with degeneration over time, and is often not a result of just one incident, although that does happen.
IF THE PROBLEM IS IN MY NECK WHY DOES MY SHOULDER AND ARM HURT?
Pain that goes into the shoulder or down the arm occurs when the nerves from the neck are compressed or pinched. This may lead to a number of symptoms such as pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling down the arm and into the hand and fingers. The greater the irritation to the nerve, the greater the spread of the pain. For example, a mild pinch may lead to pain in the neck, shoulder and arm, while more squeeze on the nerve causes pain to the neck, shoulder, headache, numbness, heaviness, or tingling down the arm and into the hand and fingers.
WHAT CAUSES PAIN THAT GOES DOWN THE ARM?
The three main causes of neck, shoulder and arm pain include herniated disc, cervical stenosis, and rotator cuff injury. It is important to find the cause of your pain as the treatments vary and are often not compatible with one another as you will see.
- Herniated Disc: When the gel-like substance of your disc leaks out and puts pressure on a spinal nerve. People with herniated discs can experience pain in the back, buttocks and down the leg.
- Cervical Stenosis: (aka, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease) develops as part of a long-term degenerative process. People can experience pain, weakness, and possibly numbness and tingling down the arm (radiculopathy).
- Rotator Cuff Injury: Often overlooked when diagnosing neck pain and radiculopathy, the Rotator Cuff is comprised of a group of 4 muscles that connect the shoulder blade (scapula) and the arm bone (humerus) and help support the arm during functional motions. People with Rotator Cuff problems experience pain to the side of the shoulder and possibly down the arm to the elbow.
As you can see, unless you find out the cause of your pain, you will not be able to effectively treat the injury.
WHAT DOES SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT FOR NECK PAIN LOOK LIKE?
The driver of the successful plan of care begins with proper diagnosis of the injury. At Barrington Physical Therapy we provide hands-on care using a variety of hands-on techniques to help the cervical spine feel better, move better, and get you back to your activities that you have been missing.
If you have questions or would like to schedule your physical therapy appointment call or text us at (603) 617-4420.
We are happy to help in your recovery.