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Severe Pain In Shoulder And Neck

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What Happens If The Pain Doesnt Go Away

Chronic Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, Back & Ankle HELPED! Dr. Rahim

It has been recommended that people suffering from cervical radiculopathy for more than a few days should seek medical attention.

A neck doctor is the right person to help you figure out what is causing this pain and how to relieve it quickly. The doctor may want you to receive an MRI or CT scan so that they can have a better look at the neck muscles, nerve root, spinal canal, and the affected nerve. The doctor may complete three courses of treatment depending on the condition of your nerve roots.

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.

When To Contact A Medical Professional

Sudden left shoulder pain can sometimes be a sign of a heart attack. Call 911 or your local emergency number if you have sudden pressure or crushing pain in your shoulder, especially if the pain runs from your chest to the left jaw, arm or neck, or occurs with shortness of breath, dizziness, or sweating.

Go to the hospital emergency room if you have just had a severe injury and your shoulder is very painful, swollen, bruised, or bleeding.

  • Shoulder pain with a fever, swelling, or redness
  • Problems moving the shoulder
  • Pain for more than 2 to 4 weeks, even after home treatment
  • Swelling of the shoulder

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Neck And Shoulder Pain: Causes Management And Prevention Strategies

Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, PACSPharmacy Times

Neck and shoulder pain can result in significant discomfort for patients, which affects their quality of life, can decrease work productivity, and increase outpatient visits and the emotional and financial burden on patients.1 Although the causes of both conditions may differ, treatment options are generally similar. Neck pain symptoms include difficulty moving the head, headaches, muscle spasms and tightness, and pain that worsens when holding the head in place for long periods, such as when driving or working on a computer.2 Shoulder pain can develop from the shoulder joint or any of the surrounding ligaments, muscles, or tendons.2 Pharmacists can play an important role in managing patients with neck and shoulder pain and providing prevention counseling tips.


The neck can be susceptible to conditions and injuries that may cause pain and restrict motion. Similarly, the shoulder is prone to injury because it is a mobile joint with a large range of movement. Neck and shoulder pain can have a variety of causes .


Neck pain

Shoulder Pain

Prevention Strategies

Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, is a drug information pharmacist and Pharmacy Times®contributor who resides in South Florida.


1. AAPM facts and figures on pain. The American Academy of Pain Medicine web- site. painmed.org/patientcenter/facts_on_pain.aspx. Accessed July 3, 2018.

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Many causes of right shoulder and arm pain are localized in the area of the shoulder and upper arm. But some can cause pain that can be felt all the way down to your hand. These include:

  • Cervical radiculopathy: This condition can cause sharp pain that can move from the area of your neck and shoulder all the way down your arm.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome: Pain from TOS can be present from your shoulder down to your hand and fingers.
  • Brachial plexus injuries: As discussed earlier, this type of injury could affect your arm and hand.

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Do I Need Surgery For My Neck And Shoulder Pain

Conditions that require surgery in chronic or severe cases include:

  • Bursa injury, e.g a bursa tear
  • Rotator cuff tear to re-form or re-attach the tendon
  • Radiculopathy: surgical opening of the intervertebral foramen to reduce nerve pressure
  • Cervical Disc herniation: discectomy, or in advanced degenerative cases, cervical fusion.

Severe spinal problems may require surgical fusion

Gallstones Or Enlarged Gallbladder

Pain in your right shoulder can be a sign of a gallstone blocking a duct in your gallbladder. You may also feel pain in your back between your shoulder blades. The pain may be sudden and sharp.

You may or may not feel the more common symptoms of gallstones or gallbladder inflammation. These are:

  • sudden pain in your upper right abdomen
  • pain in the center of your abdomen, below your breast bone
  • nausea or vomiting

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Posture And Sleeping Position

Holding your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged time can lead to strains in the muscles and tendons of your neck and shoulders.

Some of the postures and activities that commonly contribute to neck and shoulder pain are:

  • sleeping on too high a pillow or a stack of pillows
  • grinding or clenching your teeth at night
  • sitting at a computer or over a phone with your neck strained forward or tilted up
  • suddenly jerking your neck during exercise

How Does The Shoulder Work

Shoulder Blade Pain Gone in 30 Seconds!

Your shoulders each have two joints, making them the most flexible parts of your body.

The main shoulder joint the glenohumeral is a ball-and-socket joint. Its called this because the top of the upper arm bone the humerus is shaped like a ball. This ball fits into the shoulder blade bone, which acts as the socket, giving your shoulder a wide range of movement.

But, the shoulder socket is very small, compared to other ball-and-socket joints, such as the hip. Its held together and controlled by a covering of muscles, which are secured to the bones by strong cords called tendons.

These muscles and tendons form a capsule around the joint and support its movements, but can make it more likely to dislocate than other joints.

Inside the capsule is the synovium, which produces fluid that lubricates the joint and keeps the cartilage healthy. The cartilage helps protect your bones from any impact and sits between the bones of your shoulder joints to stop them rubbing together.

Above the main shoulder joint theres a smaller joint where the top of the shoulder blade the acromion meets the collar bone.

This is known as the acromioclavicular joint. It helps the larger joint below to move through its full range, particularly when youre raising your arm, lifting or throwing.

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Can Neck Problems Cause Pain In The Arms And Shoulders

Problems in the cervical spine the section of the spine in your neck can cause pain in the neck and shoulders as well as numbness and weakness in the arms.

Not every person with neck pain also develops arm pain, but if it does occur it is called cervical radiculopathy.Visit our cervical radiculopathy page for more information.

How Is Neck Pain Diagnosed

Doctors diagnose neck pain with a physical exam and medical history. Your doctor will feel and move your neck to locate pain and find motion problems. Doctors also check your muscle strength and reflexes. Your doctor will ask about previous neck injuries that might have caused whiplash or a herniated disc. Your doctor may ask about work or other activities that could affect your neck.

To diagnose the cause of the pain, your doctor may use imaging tests such as X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography . These tests can show damage and other issues in the bones and surrounding tissues in your neck.

Other tests that your doctor may order include: electromyography, nerve conduction studies, myelogram and/or nerve root block. These tests look more closely at the discs in the spine, the spine itself, check the function of nerves and muscle response and source of the pain.

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Pain In Neck And Shoulder Radiating Down Arm Other Possible Causes

Some other diseases could cause these symptoms but are less prevalent. These issues include torn rotator cuff, shoulder sprain, frozen shoulder, separated shoulder, and osteoarthritis.

Other possible but less likely conditions are rheumatoid arthritis, cervical radiculopathy, brachial neuritis, and thoracic outlet syndrome. Many of these share some symptoms, with a few exceptions.

Check the pain in neck and shoulder radiating down arm. See a doctor for the best advice and continually monitor your condition.

When Should I Go To The Er For Neck And Shoulder Pain

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If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms with your neck and shoulder pain, then you should go to the ER right away:

  • Fever, headache, and neck stiffness: When all three of these symptoms arise, it might be pointing to bacterial meningitis, which is an infection in the spinal cord and the brain. This needs to be looked at by a medical professional right away, so antibiotics can be distributed.
  • The pain is traveling down one arm: If the pain is traveling down one arm and your hand feels either weak, tingly, or numb you should go to the ER. This might mean that you have a herniated disk pressing on your spinal nerve roots.
  • You can no longer control your bowel or bladder: If you cannot control your bladder or bowel movements, this indicates that there is pressure on your spinal cord. Immediate medical attention is needed.
  • Unstable movements: This usually happens after a significant impact, but if you can move your head forward or backward a lot further than youre used to, you might have a fracture or torn ligament. A doctor will need to get an X-ray done before thinking about surgical treatment.
  • Your neck glands are constantly swollen: When your neck glands are swollen for a long period, it could mean that you have an infection or a tumor.
  • Chest pain: Many people who experience a heart attack can feel pain in their neck, shoulder, and left arm. If this happens to you, you should call emergency services right away.
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    Neck And Shoulder Pain Medications

    There are also medication options for treating neck and shoulder pain based on the cause of your pain. While some medications can be helpful for acute and mild cases of pain, others may help with moderate to severe pain after trying less invasive treatments and seeing no benefits.

    A common first treatment is non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen and ibuprofen . You can purchase this over the counter and use it for short-term relief.

    Antidepressants, such as serotonin-and-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors , can also help with neck pain.

    Your doctor might also prescribe muscle relaxants and anticonvulsants for temporary relief while you recover or skin patches containing capsaicin.

    Ways To Relieve Pain From A Neck Problem

  • Physical therapy or yoga to increase range of motion and strength.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications and /or muscle relaxants.
  • Ice, heat and massage therapy.
  • Injection of cortisone to reduce inflammation or local anesthetics to relieve pain.
  • 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.

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    What Happens If This Pain In Your Neck Goes Untreated

    In many cases, cervical radiculopathy does go away on its own. This can be done with at-home treatment or over-the-counter medication. However, if your neck pain is persistent for a few weeks, you will need to see a neck doctor.

    If cervical radiculopathy goes untreated, it can cause serious health problems like disc degeneration or peripheral neuropathy. However, a professional will be able to relieve pain from the area to get back to your daily activities.

    What Symptoms Relate To Neck Pain

    The One Stretch That Can Stop Your Neck, Upper Back, & Shoulder Pain

    Neck pain often spreads from the neck towards the shoulders or upper back. It can often cause headaches. The pain may be worse when you hold your head in one position for a long time, such as at a computer.

    Neck pain might also come with muscle tightness or spasms. You also may not be able to move your head very well.

    If you have a neck injury, you might also have:

    • pins and needles or numbness
    • changes to your vision or hearing
    • problems concentrating
    • difficulty swallowing

    See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

    Common causes of neck pain include:

    • sleeping in an awkward position
    • tension in your muscles
    • a slipped spinal disc
    • wear and tear in the bones of the neck, which is a normal part of ageing
    • wear and tear of the spinal discs . This is also a normal part of ageing

    Rarer causes of neck pain include:

    • damage to the vertebrae, spinal cord or nerves in the neck
    • a compressed nerve

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    What Does Neck And Shoulder Pain Feel Like

    Neck and shoulder pain may start suddenly, such as after an injury, or gradually. Many people with neck and shoulder pain experience one or more of the following:

    • Mild discomfort or achiness, which may feel localized to a spot between the neck and shoulder or diffused across a broader region across the shoulder and/or up the neck
    • Sharp or shock-like pain that likely comes and goes, possibly radiating down the shoulder and/or into the arm or hand
    • Stiffness and decreased range of motion in the neck and shoulder, which may limit the ability to turn the head or lift the arm
    • Tenderness in the neck or shoulders that worsens when pressed
    • Tingling, numbness, and/or weakness that can go down into the shoulder, arm, and/or hand

      Watch Cervical Radiculopathy Interactive Video

    In some cases, the neck and shoulder pain may worsen with certain activities, such as turning the head to the side, working above the head, or participating in sports. For others, the pain may worsen when resting, such as when sitting or trying to sleep.

    How Is Neck And Arm Pain Diagnosed

    A medical history, coupled with a physical examination can give Dr. Ahuja a good background of your symptoms. Imaging, such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging , or a computed tomography scans may be necessary to help visualize the vertebrae in your neck and spine.

    Dr. Ahuja and staff perform radiological procedures at The Brain and Spine Imaging Center, our state-of-the-art imaging facility in Franklin, Wisconsin.

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    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.

    Pain In Neck And Shoulder Radiating Down Arm Other Causes

    Shoulder and Neck Pain

    If you know that you had a fall, that could be the reason for the pain you feel. In such circumstances, you can use the available solutions and find your way to receive medical help.

    However, if you didnt injure yourself, the problem will need addressing as it could get worse.

    You need to know about some other conditions before concluding what may be wrong keep reading for more about the neck, shoulder, and arm pain you are feeling.

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    When To Be Concerned About Shoulder Pain

    It can take some time for shoulder pain to settle, perhaps weeks or months. In general, if your shoulder pain has not begun to settle in a week or two, or if it worsens over time, then it may be worthwhile seeing an experienced doctor or health practitioner.

    If you find that you need stronger medication to manage your shoulder pain, discuss this with your doctor. You may need a referral to a specialist.

    Note: Shoulder pain or discomfort around the front of one or both of the shoulders can be a sign of a heart attack. It is often described as an ache, heaviness or pressure sensation spreading from the chest to the shoulders. This requires immediate medical attention. Call 000 immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms.

    Complications Of Neck Pain

    Sometimes pain doesnt go away. Chronic or persistent pain can continue even after the original problem has healed. If this happens, you may need help to address emotional, social and environmental factors that may be contributing to your pain. Speak to your doctor if you experience chronic or persistent pain.

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    Headaches Neck Pain And More

    Headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain occur over time as the strain in your jaw migrates into the jaw and facial muscles. Grinding and clenching especially when they occur for hours at a time while you sleep increase the tension in these muscles.

    Headaches and muscle pain associated with TMJ are often worse in the morning after a night of clenching and grinding. Sometimes, pain persists throughout the day, especially if the muscles form knots or trigger points of tight muscle tissue. Jaw joints may feel tender when pressed, but its common to have headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain even when theres no noticeable tenderness around the jaw joints.

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