Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain & Arm Pain

Arm pain, shoulder pain, elbow, wrist and hand pain may all have their origin in the neck. If the pain is chronic (i.e. over 4-6 weeks’ duration) and is associated with pins and needles or numbness, this is especially likely. Occasionally these symptoms are incorrectly described as ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’.

Frozen shoulder and rotator cuff injury are terms given to many painful shoulders. Early and correct identification of the condition is very important, as great relief in symptoms of a ‘true’ frozen shoulder can obtained by an early ultra-sound guided steroid injection.

Rotator cuff injuries are probably less commonly seen in clinic and usually occur through direct trauma. Degenerate tears of the rotator cuff can occur with age (i.e. 60+ years). These will often settle with appropriate advice and rest. Frozen shoulders do not settle with rest, at least not in the short-term, and can be aggravated by inappropriate exercises.

Dos & Don’ts

It’s not a good idea to force your movements with a frozen shoulder, unless it’s in the last stages of ‘recovery’.

Sleeping on your front with one or no pillows is especially bad for your neck. It may be the sole cause of shoulder/neck pain and headaches/migraines. Try to keep your neck in a neutral position by lying on your side or on your back with suitable support from pillows.

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