Neck, shoulder and arm pain is a classic manifestation of upper spinal nerve compression in many instances, but there can be other equally common reasons for this type of combination pain to occur. The neck, shoulder and arm all work together to provide movement for the upper body and have many muscles that influence each other’s functionality. Additionally, the nerves which innervate the muscles and sensory functions of the shoulders and arms are located in the neck region.
Neck pain is usually the primary and causative complaint of this type of combination syndrome, with shoulder and arm pain being secondary and resultant. However, in rare instances, the pain equation can be switched, with issues in the shoulder being responsible as the origin of symptoms, influencing the neck and arms in turn.
This interesting analysis of neck, shoulder and arm pain will profile all the reasons for symptoms to exist, the forms that symptoms might assume and the best way to treat a variety of painful mechanisms.
Neck, Shoulder and Arm Pain Expressions and Locations
Neck, shoulder and arm pain usually follows a linear pattern that starts in the neck and traces its way through the shoulder and down the arm. The vast majority of these painful complaints are unilateral, meaning that they only affect one side of the body. Bilateral neck, shoulder and arm pain is possible, but only accounts for less than 5% of patient citations.
The neck pain can exist almost anywhere, with the majority of patients citing symptoms that reside over the spine and predominantly on one side of the spine. Some patients also report symptoms of pain or tightness wrapping around the neck towards the throat on the same side as the affected shoulder and arm. Pain in the shoulder and arm can vary, but often radiates down the inside or outside of the arm, and possibly all the way into the hand and fingers in less common circumstances.
Neck, Shoulder and Arm Pain Causes
Radiating neck, shoulder and arm pain symptoms can come from many specific and general causes when the pain is sourced from a singular origin:
Central spinal stenosis can cause this particular combination of symptoms when it exists in the neck, but usually will also include other symptoms lower in the body, as well.
Foraminal stenosis leading to a pinched nerve or 2 is a logical diagnostic possibility, since the nerves in the neck do innervate the shoulder and arm.
Muscular issues can be widespread and might include imbalances or soft tissue injury, RSI or disease, like FMS.
Of course, some patients will have more than one source of symptoms, separating neck pain from shoulder or arm pain. In other cases, incidental issues in the shoulder, like torn rotator cuffs, are blamed for shoulder and arm pain, when in reality, all symptoms are sourced in the neck, leading to failed shoulder surgery and overall poor therapeutic results.
Regional oxygen deprivation is one of the most prevalent sources of combination pain in the neck, shoulder and arm. These syndromes are usually motivated by mindbody interactions, instead of structural issues. Ischemia is one of the most diabolical of all pathologies, since it is difficult to diagnose in its mindbody forms and because most pain is mistakenly blamed on incidental structural changes in the neck and shoulder instead.
Shoulder, Neck and Arm Pain Treatment
Treatment should be matched to the diagnosed source of pain and should be curative in nature whenever possible. Pain management using constructive methods of care is acceptable while curative care is being researched, but patients should avoid toxic methods of care with drug therapies or risk far worse than continuing pain. Common consequences of extended use of prescription pain medications include addiction, organ failure and death.
We highly recommend our proven pain relief program for cases of combination neck shoulder and/or arm pain, as these syndromes statistically respond very well to the proprietary practices we utilize. You can join the tens of thousands of people who have banished pain from their lives using this safe, effective and peer-acclaimed program right now.