Neck pain spreading to your shoulders and arms
The human neck is composed of 7 bones. These bones are coupled together by delicate joints. Injury to the neck and result in one or more of the neck joints locking out of position. This pressure on the delicate nerves is pain. Pain spreading to your shoulders and arms is one of the most common types of neck pain and is usually caused by pressure on the joints and nerves at the bottom of the neck.
What causes neck pain spreading to your shoulders and arms?
Many everyday things can cause neck pain, such as watching TV, using computer, reading books or falling asleep in a chair or on an airplane. The temporary pain that results can resolve on its own.
Chiropractic care may involve your ability to turn and bend. Muscle tone of the supporting muscles in the neck may be tested. The most common cause of neck pain is functional distortions in the spine resulting from vertebral subluxation. These subluxations are seen in the cases of reverse cervical curve, whiplash and joint instability. The body responds by tightening muscles in the neck, “splinting” the joint to protect it from further insult. Chiropractic care can help.
Most of the pain-sensing nerves in the neck are located in the pairs of facet joints on the back side of each vertebra. These smooth, interlocking surfaces allow you to rotate your head and bend your head up and down. If these joints become locked or fixated, neck pain can result. Chiropractic care can help restore proper joint motion.
Years of uncorrected spinal problems can cause bone spurs, disc thinning and other forms of spinal decay. These types of problems respond more slowly, and some type of on-going supportive chiropractic care may be necessary.
While chiropractic care cannot reduce the stress of your busy life, it can help improve your ability to handle and tolerate it without drugs or surgery.
Why does the pain spread to the shoulders and arms?
This is because the inflamed joints and nerves affected relate to the nerves that travel into the shoulder and arm area.
How does a chiropractor diagnose neck pain?
Chiropractor will evaluate your spine as a whole because other regions of the neck (cervical), mid back (thoracic) and low back (lumbar) may be affected as well. Along with treating the spine as a whole, chiropractors treat the “whole person”, not just your specific symptoms.
Before deciding which approach to try for your pain, the chiropractor will do a thorough examination to diagnose the specific cause of your neck pain.
Chiropractic treatments for neck pain
Chiropractor may use a combination of spinal manipulation, manual therapy and other techniques as part of your treatment plan for neck pain. There are some spinal manipulation techniques your chiropractor may use.
- Flexion-distraction technique is a gentle, hand-on spinal manipulation that involves a pumping action on the intervertebral disc instead of direct force.
- Instrument-assisted manipulation uses a hand-held instrument to allow your chiropractor to apply force without thrusting into the spine.
- Specific spinal manipulation helps restore joint movement using a gentle thrusting technique.
Chiropractor may also use manual therapies to treat your neck pain.
- Inferential electrical stimulation uses a low frequency electrical current to stimulate neck muscles.
- Ultrasound sends sound waves into your muscle tissues help stiffness and pain in your neck.
- Therapeutic exercises may also be recommended – these can help stiffness and pain in your neck.
The treatments listed above are examples of chiropractic treatments for neck pain. Your actual treatment plan will depend on your diagnosis. Your chiropractor should thoroughly explain your treatment options so that you know what will happen.
Chiropractic relief for shoulder pain
Chiropractic relief for shoulder pain can often be achieved through manipulation and other treatments.
Causes for shoulder pain:
- Neck and back tightness
- Spinal misalignment
- Frozen shoulder
- Rotator cuff disorder
Treating shoulder pain
Chiropractor will begin with a targeted diagnosis and determination of where the source of the irritation begins. Shoulder pain is usually due to an irritation of the nerves, tendons, muscles, ligaments or capsule area.
In some cases the problem is located in the cervical spine or near the acromioclavicular joint. These areas will be carefully examined to ensure an accurate diagnosis. The triceps muscles located in the upper arm may also be involved, as well as the subscapularies muscle underneath the shoulder blade.
Once a diagnosis of the precise physical cause is made, treatment for shoulder pain can begin. While relief will begin after the first adjustment, a series of chiropractic adjustments may be required to help your shoulder pain issue to resolve completely. The chiropractic treatment for shoulder pain includes:
- Shoulder anatomy
- Testing and imaging
How long will you need chiropractic care?
Some patients see quick improvement and then immediately discontinue their care. They often suffer a relapse since muscles and soft tissues have not had time to fully heal. Others discover that degenerative changes to their spines make periodic check-ups a worthwhile investment.