Sunday, March 3, 2024

Shoulder Pain Radiating Down Arm To Fingers Treatment

What Might Be Happening

Extreme Shoulder & Arm Pain Gone INSTANTLY (Coming From Your Neck?)

The reason shoulders sometimes refer pain to the arms is due to the location of our nerve roots. The same ones that supply your rotator cuff that group of tendons and muscles which allows your arm to move and stay within its socket also supply feeling to skin further down the arm. So, in a slightly unscientific sense, your brain is fooled into thinking your arm is the problem, not your shoulder.

Now there are a number of different reasons why your shoulder might be playing this trick and, to be clear, we would need to examine you properly to know the answer.

Pain that continues when you rest particularly if its an aching feeling up and down the arm could for example indicate osteoarthritis . Pain that occurs on movement especially if its a catching or pinching kind of pain could indicate a condition like tendonitis , a subacromial mpingement or a rotator cuff tear.

Rotator Cuff Referred Pain

A rotator cuff problem can also cause shoulder pain that radiates down the arm. It may be a tear. or it may just be some knots or trigger points in the rotator cuff muscles.

Many people think of the rotator cuff, or “rotary cup” as it’s sometimes mistakenly called, as one thing. In reality though, the rotator cuff is actually made up of four different muscles.

Each of the 4 rotator cuff muscles has it’s own pain referral pattern.

However, the supraspinatus and infraspinatus are the two muscles that radiate the farthest down into the arm and sometimes into the fingers.

Supraspinatus – refers into the outer arm and sometimes down to the wrist but rarely into the fingers

Infraspinatus – the muscle right on the back of your shoulder blade. It can refer all the way down the inside of your arm into your fingers.

Can You Prevent Cervical Radiculopathy

For most medical problems especially in the musculoskeletal system, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of treatment. A key thing to help prevent cervical radiculopathy is maintaining adequate posture, alignment, and ergonomics.

Living in the westernized world, this can be difficult with a lot of texting, phone and device use, computer work, long periods of sitting or inactivity.

Staying active and strong with regular physical activity or exercise programs can be helpful. Keeping ones weight and metabolic conditions down through healthy eating and avoidance of smoking can help with prevention. Doing proper warm-ups and cool-downs before and after activities can be helpful. Maintaining some preventative muscle work such as postural therapy, maintenance chiropractic, massage could be helpful.

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What You Need To Know

  • Arthritis is damage to the cartilage in joints. Shoulder arthritis occurs when the cartilage starts wearing down on the ball and/or socket sides of the shoulder joint.
  • Symptoms of shoulder arthritis may include pain in the shoulder joint, stiffness and reduced range of motion.
  • There are many nonoperative treatments for shoulder arthritis, including stretches, lifestyle modifications, application of ice or heat, and medication to control the pain.
  • Surgical options, such as shoulder replacement, are available to treat shoulder arthritis if nonoperative treatments dont offer the desired relief.

Treatment For Pain In The Neck And Shoulder Radiating Down The Arm

Infraspinatus, keeps shoulder stable

Treatments for a pinched nerve in your neck vary depending on the cause of the condition. In extreme cases, surgical intervention may be required to correct the issue. However, in many cases, you can get relief with physical therapy.

Physical therapists can assess your neck, shoulders and arms to identify the source of your pain and work on a personalized treatment. The main goal of most physical therapy treatments is to build your strength and flexibility in targeted areas. This helps to reduce pressure off the irritated nerves and can prevent similar pain from popping up again.

Physical therapy treatments vary depending on your needs, but usually, they include:

  • Gentle stretches

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Is Surgery Necessary For Neck And Arm Pain

If the conservative treatments fail to improve symptoms, Dr. Ahuja will indicate which procedure will be most likely to reduce your pain. Depending on the condition, surgeries designed to relieve neck and arm pain can include cervical discectomy, or a cervical artificial disc replacement such as the Mobi-C® cervical disc.

Surgery is never our first choice. If Dr. Ahuja believes conservative treatments would be beneficial to try, there are a variety of options available. Our goal is to eliminate your pain or to get it to a level you can tolerate, hopefully without surgery.

Other Causes Of Radiating Shoulder Pain

Nerve problems are not the only source of radiating pain in the shoulder. Other causes may include:

  • Rotator cuff problems or tendinitis.
  • Shoulder impingement which occurs when the top outer edge of the shoulder blade pinches the rotator cuff beneath.

With these conditions, shooting pain typically radiates from the front of the shoulder to the upper or side of the arm rather than down the arm and into the hand.

Dont suffer from shoulder and arm pain, weakness, or numbness any longer. Schedule an appointment today!

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How Is It Diagnosed

As with any potential medical issue you face, you should always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional. If a pinched nerve causes your shoulder pain, you will need a thorough physical examination of your neck and shoulder to diagnose the issue.

A spine specialist can usually identify the issue by assessing your symptoms and a thorough physical exam. The doctor can also examine your reflexes. As part of the process, it is usual practice for your doctor to ask you to perform specific movements designed to cause you discomfort. Allowing your doctor to see what is causing you pain will lead to a quicker and more accurate diagnosis.

What Does Prognosis Typically Look Like

Understanding Shoulder Pain and How To Fix It

Typically, the prognosis is good in most patients with cervical radiculopathy or a pinched nerve.

A lot of patients will resolve their symptoms with conservative measures after several weeks but can take up to 4-6 months as well. For problems that are not helped with conservative measures, injection-based therapies will likely be needed to help resolve the issue. Steroid-type injections will need to be repeated more frequently whereas PRP and bone marrow concentrate procedures with stem cells typically provide longer-lasting results and need to be repeated less frequently.

If there is a condition where surgery is absolutely needed, the earlier the surgical intervention, the better. However, in most cases, surgery is not absolutely needed. Thus, surgical intervention is usually not required.

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When Should I Seek Medical Help

You should contact your doctor if you experience fever, inability to move your shoulder, lasting bruising, heat and tenderness around the joint, or pain that persists beyond a few weeks of home treatment.

If your shoulder pain is sudden and not related to an injury, call 911 immediately. It may be a sign of a heart attack. Other signs of a heart attack include:

  • trouble breathing

What Causes A Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve refers to a nerve in your neck that has become irritated due to an increase of pressure on it. Muscle tension, herniated discs and bone spurs are just a few examples of conditions that can pinch the nerve in your neck.

When this affects a nerve ending that extends into your shoulder, you may feel pain, tingling and weakness that radiates through the shoulder and down into your arm.

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Inflammation Of The Shoulder Capsule

The synovial membrane of the shoulder may become inflamed this is called ‘synovitis’. Synovitis may occur as a result of another condition or it may happen as a result of an injury, or the cause may be unknown.

Frozen shoulder is a condition that occurs when the shoulder capsule thickens and becomes inflamed and tight. There may also be less synovial fluid to lubricate the joint. As a result, the shoulder becomes difficult to move.

Frozen shoulder may occur as a result of another condition if the shoulder has been immobilised . Sometimes the cause of shoulder pain may not be known.

Prognosis Of Arm Pain

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How severe your arm pain is, how long it lasts, and whether its likely to resolve on its own or require some form of treatment depends on the underlying condition.

Certain forms of arm pain may resolve on their own, especially if you dont regularly engage in the activity that led to your injury. In other cases, you may need to refrain from or modify a repetitive activity to allow the recovery to take place. You may also need to do physical or occupational therapy.

Sometimes arm pain due to pinched nerves may not resolve on its own or with less invasive treatments, in which case it may require surgery, per the Mayo Clinic.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

The classic symptoms include a toothache like pain radiating from the outer arm to several inches below the top of the shoulder. Pain may also occur in the front and top of the shoulder. It may interfere with sleeping comfortably. It may even awaken people from a sound sleep with a nagging pain in the upper arm.

The symptoms are usually aggravated by raising the arms overhead or in activities that require reaching behind the body, such as retrieving an object from the back seat of a car. Furthermore, reaching behind the back to fasten underclothing or to pass a belt may aggravate the arm and shoulder pain.

A clicking in the shoulder may occur when raising the arm above the head.

Other Advice For Neck And Arm Pain

  • Stress can also play a major role in your neck pain, so ask Dr. Ahuja about healthy ways you can manage your stress.
  • Be sensible about what you can and cannot do, and always make sure to use proper body mechanics.
  • Feel free to call our office if you have any questions. We want you to get better and get back to the things you enjoy!

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Shoulder Arthritis Due To Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis refers to the disrupted blood supply to an area of the body, which results in that area dying . In the shoulder, the humeral head may lose blood supply due to disease, traumatic injuries, and other causes. Without a blood supply, the bone will slowly collapse, becoming uneven and causing arthritis.

Acute Shoulder Pain Or Arm Pain Treatment

Pain in neck and shoulder radiating down arm
  • Simple treatments like hot or cold packs, physical activity, exercise and physical therapy.

  • Pain medications like anti-inflammatories and anti-spasm medications to provide pain relief.

If pain is long lasting , debilitating and has not been responding to treatments an assessment should be made by a pain management specialist, who can assess and treat most types of chronic pain.

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Shoulder Pain At Night

One of the most common complaints I hear in my office is that a patient cannot sleep due to shoulder pain from sleeping. They tell me that no matter what side they try to sleep on, it still hurts. Some patients report stiff or dull pain that becomes worse when they raise their arm or shift from side to side. Other symptoms may include numbness and tingling in your fingers or a muscle spasm.

If You Have To Go To The Doctor

If you talk with your doctor about right shoulder and arm pain, they may recommend the following, depending on the severity of your condition.

  • Immobilization: In some cases, limiting the movement of your shoulder or arm may help it heal. This is often achieved using a sling, brace, or cast. Your doctor will let you know when it can be removed.
  • Corticosteroid injections: This is a type of medication that your doctor can inject into the affected area to help reduce inflammation.
  • Prescription medications: Prescription pain medications may be given for severe pain. Oral corticosteroids can help ease inflammation. If you have RA, your doctor will likely prescribe a disease-modifying drug.
  • Physical therapy: Your doctor may give you a list of exercises to do that can help you regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion. In some cases, they may recommend that you work with a physical therapist.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be recommended when other treatments havent been effective or when damage is severe. The specific procedure thats used can depend on whats causing your condition.

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Cycle Through The Pain

Cycling is one of the most effective ways to exercise with arthritis shoulder pain. If you ride your bike outdoors or use a stationary bike inside, make sure the handlebars are at an appropriate level. If theyre too low, youll end up putting more strain on already-stiff shoulder joints.

Try a recumbent bike without handlebars for indoor cycling. This places more focus on your legs and core. Hybrid bicycles tend to be the best options for outdoors. Thats because of the higher handlebar placement and upright sitting position.

Very few people have the space or money to invest in elaborate gym equipment. A gym membership is the perfect alternative. At the gym, take advantage of the cardio machines. They can help you to:

  • condition your body
  • take pressure off your shoulder joints

Consider using the following machines:

How Does Shoulder Arthritis Develop

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Shoulder arthritis usually results from gradual wear and tear of the cartilage. Cartilage is present in every joint in the body it covers the surface of the bones inside the joints similar to Teflon on a ball bearing. Cartilage is a living tissue 2 millimeters to 3 millimeters thick about the thickness of one or two layers of cardboard. This makes the contact between bones softer. If the cartilage is intact, it can take multiple rotations with no wear of the surface because its smooth.

Shoulder arthritis typically develops in stages. First the cartilage gets soft , then it develops cracks in the surface , then it begins to fibrillate , and finally it wears away to expose the surface of the bone . As a result, it loses its ability to act as a smooth, gliding surface.

The cartilage doesnt wear away all at once over the entire surface of the bone in a joint. Instead, it wears at different rates in different parts. So if you consider the surface of a ball bearing that was covered with Teflon, this type of wear would be as if the Teflon had pits and the surface would now be irregular .

Once the surface becomes irregular, the cartilage may undergo further damage. It may begin to thin out, eventually leading to the bones of the shoulder rubbing against each other . Many people think that arthritis is bone-on-bone traction in the joint, but in reality arthritis is the process that can lead to the bone-on-bone traction.

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What To Do About Nighttime Shoulder Pain

If one shoulder hurts when sleeping, try laying on the other side. While people often do not control their bodies while asleep, you could try building a wall with pillows to prevent rolling over onto the injured shoulder while asleep. If that doesnt help, try sleeping semi-upright either in a chair or by propping a few pillows under the upper body to alleviate pressure on the affected shoulder. Ask your doctor for a list of stretches that can be done to loosen the shoulder these may be especially beneficial to do before going to bed.

However, if shoulder pain is a fact of life for you, it may be time to seek treatment.

Your orthopedic doctor will physically examine your shoulder, assess your medical history, and may order tests that can help with a diagnosis and identifying the cause of your shoulder pain. In general, an X-ray can identify structural issues such as bone fractures or spurs or the presence of arthritis for soft tissue assessment, an MRI may be required.

The Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland offer all manner of orthopedic treatments under one roof. If your shoulder has been aching and shows no sign of improvement, schedule your appointment by calling 644-1880 or use the request an appointment form. We look forward to seeing you.

When Should You See Your Doctor

If any of the following 6 items pertain to you, you should see a doctor:

  • You should see your doctor if you are having pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness that is persistent and lasting longer than a few days up to a few weeks despite conservative measures.
  • Certainly, if you are having weakness, especially with rapid onset or that is worsening, you should go see your doctor right away.
  • If you are getting associated symptoms such as difficulty with urination or bowel movements, bowel and bladder accidents, leg pain or weakness, severe arm weakness, you should see your doctor right away.
  • If you have tried 6 weeks or so of conservative therapy and things are not improving.
  • If anything is rapidly getting worse.
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    How Does The Shoulder Work

    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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