Common Causes Of Radicular Pain In The Shoulder
Several common neck problems can cause symptoms of cervical radiculopathy, including:
- Cervical degenerative disc disease. The intervertebral discs between the vertebrae lose hydration over time. When a disc loses enough hydration it becomes thinner and less able to do its job, potentially producing pain and possibly irritating or pressuring on the nearby nerve root.
- Cervical foraminal stenosis. This condition occurs when the nerve root becomes compressed while going through the foramena small hole in the bony vertebral construct. The narrowing of the foramen can happen in various ways, such by the overgrowth of bone spurs or by a herniated disc.
Left Arm Pain Doesnt Always Mean Youre Having A Heart Attack Heres What To Watch For
Left arm pain and how the pain moves can be one of the key differences between mens and womens heart attacks.In men, the left arm pain will move from the shoulder down the left arm or up to the chin. If the pain comes on suddenly and is unusually severe, or is accompanied by pressure or squeezing in the chest, seek emergency treatment immediately.
In women, the pain can be subtler. It can radiate to the right or left arm. It can involve the chin, shoulder blades and upper back. The pain can reach into the abdomen and feel like nausea, indigestion and anxiety. Women are more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Like in men, chest pain or discomfort is a common heart attack symptom in women. The pressure or squeezing can last for more than a few minutes or be intermittent in women. Seek emergency medical treatment immediately if you have heart attack symptoms.
Not all left arm pain, achiness or difficulty moving is a sign of a heart attack. Sometimes the cause is an injury, compressed nerves or other issues that dont involve your heart.
Be mindful of the other symptoms, and if they last for more than a couple minutes, get emergency help.
How Can I Avoid Back Pains In The Future
It is important to encourage healthy activities such as maintaining perfect posture, sleeping with your spine in a neutral position, eating a balanced healthy diet, stretching regularly, and most importantly, reducing stress levels.
If you believe a physical injury causes your pain, you should immediately consult a doctor.
If your aches and pains are caused due to chronic stress and anxiety, you need to realign your thoughts and focus on addressing the triggers that stress you out. Psychotherapy or talk therapy is one of the best-supported forms of addressing the link between emotional stress and back pain. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps identify negative reactions to chronic pain and conditions the body to convert them into positives. The main principle is that once one learns to alter their initial response, they can manage the pain and how it affects them.
We often hear that all of our cages are mental. Hence, it is important to sustain a healthy mind and psyche to maintain a healthy body. A Harvard medical school study suggests that chronic pain is ‘all in your head’. It helps to remember that one can achieve whatever he sets his mind to! It is mind over matter, always.
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Pain Between The Shoulder And Elbow
In some cases, pain can be felt in both the area of the right shoulder and further down towards your right elbow. Some causes are:
- Rotator cuff disease: Pain can begin to radiate from your shoulder into the side of your upper arm.
- Torn rotator cuff: Shoulder pain may radiate down your arm to the area of the elbow.
- Dislocated shoulder: The pain from a dislocated shoulder can radiate down the upper arm.
- Upper arm fracture: A break in your upper arm can cause pain thats localized around the area of your shoulder and throughout your upper arm.
- Frozen shoulder: Pain from a frozen shoulder may also spread into your right bicep.
- Calcific tendinitis: Similarly to frozen shoulder, pain from calcific tendinitis can spread down into your bicep area.
So What Is Causing My Neck Pain
We know stress and anxiety can cause muscle tension in the upper body, leading to neck pain. But conditions of the spine can lead to pressure on nerves. The pressure can iritate the nerves and send excessive signals to other areas of the body. So, a disc or vertebrae issue in the neck can send signals to muscles in the shoulders and upper back. This can cause muscle spasms. Over time, the muscles can become fatigued and painful.
What does this all tell us? Yes, anxiety can cause muscle tension and neck pain. But, neck and muscle pain in the upper back and shoulder area can also be caused by a problem in the cervical spine. So, what should you do? Exercise is helpful for both spinal conditions and stress. Walking and neck stretches are a great way to start trying to relieve your neck pain. There are plenty of gentle exercises and strengthening neck exercises you can try at home. If your pain continues, it may be time to consult with a doctor for your neck pain. The doctors at Saratoga Spine are ready to help diagnose and treat your condition. Contact us if youre ready to schedule an appointment.
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Pinched Nerve In The Neck
A pinched nerve in the neck is also called cervical radiculopathy. It means that a nerve in the neck, at a point where it branches off from the spinal cord, is being compressed by the surrounding bones, muscles, or other tissues.
It can be caused by a traumatic injury, such as from sports or an automobile accident, especially if the injury results in a herniated disk. It may also arise from the normal wear and tear of aging.
Symptoms include sharp, burning pain with numbness and tingling from the neck to the shoulder, as well as weakness and numbness into the arm and hand.
Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and simple neurological tests to check the reflexes. Imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or MRI may be done, as well as electromyography to measure nerve impulses in the muscles.
A pinched nerve in the neck often improves with simply a few days or weeks of rest. Physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroid injections into the spine can all be very helpful.
Top Symptoms: pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain that radiates down arm, pain in the back of the neck, severe shoulder pain
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Can Stress Cause Shoulder And Back Pain
During periods of stress, three main hormones are released which lead to physical and mental responses: adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine.
- Body releases adrenaline to prepare the body to flee, if necessary
- Adrenaline increases the heart rate and blood pressure, and muscles tense
- Body releases the hormone cortisol when the brain recognizes the threat
- Cortisol increases the glucose in the bloodstream and regulates other body functions
- Cortisol increases the availability of various substances that play a role in tissue repair
- Body releases norepinephrine, which is similar to adrenaline
- Norepinephrine increases mental awareness and focus and shifts blood flow to muscles so better able to flee
The hormones associated with the stress response are supposed to flow and ebb and not be continually released. When they remain at high levels due to frequent bouts of stress, the hormones will constrict blood vessels and reduce the blood flow to soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This leads to tight or tense muscles. The muscles are unable to relax normally and are not getting the nutrients needed to stay healthy. Also called muscle rigidity, the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and around the spine tense in preparation for fleeing.
The shoulders and back have primary nerves and muscles running through them. When the muscles and nerves are put under stress, sore shoulders and back develop.
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Treatments For Shoulder Blade Pain
How shoulder blade pain is treated varies widely depending on the source of the pain.
For instance, a simple muscle strain will likely only require non-prescription pain killers and perhaps heat or ice and compression and elevation of the problematic joint, along with resting your arms and back for a period of time.
For most individuals dealing with minor injuries and uncomplicated shoulder blade pain that has no underlying issues, this simple treatment will be enough.
However, for more complicated shoulder issues, relieving shoulder blade pain may require additional testing to rule out various diagnoses, some of which could be extremely serious.
For instance, if your shoulder pain is the result of an underlying disorder, you may need more complex treatment like chemotherapy, ongoing medications, and even surgery.
If you are experiencing any kind of shoulder blade pain, you should see an orthopaedic surgeon or doctor as soon as you can, particularly if the pain is new and not the result of a known muscle strain or injury.
Seeking medical attention right away is important because shoulder blade pain especially unexplained shoulder blade pain can be a symptom of something much more serious.
How Does Stress And Anxiety Cause Tension In Your Neck And Shoulders
When you experience a stressful event or a bout of anxiety, your muscles contract, sometimes forcefully. This is an automatic or reflex reaction. Its known as a stress response or fight or flight response.
Its your bodys way of gearing up to face a perceived physical threat that youll need to fight off or run away from. Along with muscle tension, you may also notice other physical symptoms when youre stressed or anxious, such as:
- a fast heart rate
- cold skin
Although your bodys stress response is designed to help you deal with physical threats, your body responds in the same way when the threat isnt physical. Your muscles may tighten up when youre stuck in traffic, dealing with pressure at work, or watching the news.
According to the American Psychological Association , your muscles and other organs may only relax again once the perceived threat has passed.
If stress is ongoing meaning the stressful situation doesnt seem to have a clear end your body may stay in a heightened state of readiness to face a threat. As a result, your muscles may stay tense and tight for much longer than they need to.
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What To Do For Pain Between Shoulder Blades: 8 Treatments
There are numerous ways to treat pain between shoulder blades. These range from inexpensive at-home solutions to invasive treatments that require professional intervention. You should always talk with a doctor before starting any kind of treatment plan.
These are some of the more common treatments for upper back pain and shoulder blade pain that your doctor may recommend, or that you may wish to bring up to your doctor at your next appointment.
Above all, remember to be patient with yourself. Depending on the severity of your pain, it can take weeks or months for you to fully heal. Dealing with pain is tough, so dont push yourself too hard, and ask for help and support when you need it.
Can Physical Therapy Help With Stress Related Neck Pain Andshoulder Tension
Theres a multitude of evidence to support the effectiveness ofphysical therapy when it comes to reducing shoulder pain. Physical therapy treatment options for shoulder pain include manual therapy, joint mobilization, therapeutic exercises, stretching, therapeutic ultrasound, laser therapy, and modalities such as electrical stimulation/TENS, heat or ice.
Physical therapy can be a safe and effective option for managing the effects of severe stress. If your stress-induced shoulder and neck pain lasts for more than a few weeks, give us a call orrequest an appointment to discuss potential treatment options.
Article by: Holly Lookabaugh-Deur, PT, DSc, GCS, CEEAA
Holly is a practicing physical therapist, partner and Director of Clinical Services at Ivy Rehab Network with more than 40 years of experience in sports management with young athletes, and is board certified as a geriatric clinical specialist and certified exercise expert for aging adults. Deuer is certified as an aquatic and oncology rehabilitation specialist and serves as adjunct faculty at Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University.
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What Causes The Neck Back Shoulder Tension Anxiety Symptoms
Behaving apprehensively causes the body to activate the stress response, which causes the body to secrete stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots in the body to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the bodys ability to deal with a threatto either fight with or flee from itwhich is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.
Because of the many changes the stress response brings about, behaving apprehensively stresses the body.
Part of these changes include tightening the bodys muscles so that they are more resilient to damage. This can include the muscles in the neck, back, and shoulders.
When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes. When stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically, however, the body has a more difficult time recovering. This can result in the body remaining in a semi emergency readiness state, which we call stress-response hyperstimulation since stress hormones are stimulants. A body that becomes stress-response hyperstimulated can exhibit similar sensations and symptoms to that of an active stress response. Persistent neck, back, and shoulder tension is an example of how the body can respond when overly stressed.
Stress Management And Neck Pain
Since stress plays a role in neck pain, it stands to reason that if you control the stress, you reduce the pain. Learn why stress management is not as hard to achieve as it sounds.
Most of us are familiar with emotional stress causing a headache. We even have a name for it tension headache. Stress also has a physical effect on the muscles in your neck. As you tense up, the tightness in your neck muscles contributes to neck pain. Chronic neck pain can also be a cause of irritability, fatigue, and even depression that can add a lot of stress to your life. It can get to be a vicious circle.
Neck Pain: How Stress Adds to Discomfort
Stress is not the likely cause of neck pain, but it can certainly bring out the symptoms of underlying neck pain, says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopaedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
Stress has also been shown to influence how people feel pain. If you are under stress, pain can actually feel worse. As stress goes, up I definitely see more patients with neck pain. Every year around tax time the number of patients with neck pain increases, especially among Wall Street types here in New York, observes Dr. Gotlin.
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Neck Pain: Relieving Stress
Take an active role. Knowing that a rapid return to activity is often the best medicine can get you going forward with a positive outlook.
Neck Pain: Get Moving Now
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Herniated Or Bulging Discs
Degenerative disc disease in the cervical spine or thoracic spine can irritate or press on your nerves or spine. This can lead to pain between your shoulders.
Other symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Pain in one or both arms
Sometimes pain caused by disc disease in the neck is positional, meaning it can get better or worse when you flex or extend your neck.
What Causes Back Pain
There are many possibilities, some more obvious than others. The most logical possibility is direct injury or trauma to your back, which can cause chronic pain. However, back pain can also be attributed to many other causes like muscle tears, ligament strains, ruptured disc, arthritis, muscle spasms, or hernias. Not to forget, activities that could seem harmless and repetitive. For example, lifting weights can strain your muscles and cause back pain.
The causes for back pain are also area-specific. For instance, pain in the lower right back could be caused by problems related to the kidney, such as kidney stones or even an infected or inflamed kidney, due to its proximity to the area. In the same manner, facet joint dysfunction, Spondylolisthesis, or such injuries to the spine could be what causes lower back pain.
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Pain From The Shoulder To The Hand
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.
Tips For Managing Stress And Anxiety
We all experience stress. Its almost impossible not to feel anxious or stressed at some point or another. But, just as your body has an automatic response to stress, it also has a built-in system to calm you down.
Known as the relaxation response, it helps you recover from the fight or flight response. It brings all your systems back to normal and returns your body to a calm, resting state. The relaxation response also helps protect your body from health issues related to the stress response.
There are a variety of skills and strategies you can use to help the relaxation response kick in. Here are some of them:
Keep in mind that as with any new skill, regular practice is the key. These practices may not work for you right away and thats OK. But, as you use them over time, youll likely find that they help return your body to a calmer, more restful state.
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