Shoulder and arm pain can be extremely annoying and painful. It may travel all the way from your shoulder to your hand. Common situations when it occurs are: sitting at a computer/laptop, whilst sleeping, taking clothes on/off, lifting arms above head. At Riverside Chiropractic, North Ryde, we see many clients with this type of pain.
· Referred pain from the neck and upper back
· Rotator cuff strains
· Frozen shoulder
Referred Pain from the Neck and Upper Back
An inflamed nerve in the neck may cause arm pain which may travel all the way to your hand and fingers. It may be accompanied by arm/hand weakness, numbness/pins and needles.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Complete or partial rotator cuff tears are very painful and cause weakness in the injured shoulder, often there is a referral of pain into the arm. Sleeping may be interrupted due to pain. Commonly, overhead activities such as removing or putting on clothes and hanging clothes on the line cause aggravation.
Correcting any abnormal muscle and joint movement patterns in conjunction with massage can help to reduce the pain.
Frozen Shoulder, (adhesive capsulitis) usually occurs from 40-60 years old and more so in women than men. Pain and stiffness of the shoulder joint occurs gradually until one is unable to move their shoulder at all due to inflammation of the capsule around the shoulder joint. Pain at night is excruciating and often any bump to the shoulder/arm is as well.
There are three characteristic stages:
- Stage one: The "freezing" or painful stage, which may last from six weeks to nine months, and in which the patient has a slow onset of pain. As the pain worsens, the shoulder loses motion.
- Stage two: The "frozen" or adhesive stage is marked by a slow improvement in pain but the stiffness remains. This stage generally lasts from four to nine months.
- Stage three: The "thawing" or recovery, when shoulder motion slowly returns toward normal. This generally lasts from 5 to 26 months.
Research has shown gentle mobilisations and massage combined with exercise can help to ease the pain and improve your shoulder movement. (1)
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(1) Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Volume 6, Issue 4, 'The Effects of Passive Joint Mobilization on Pain and Hypomobility Associated With Adhesive Capsulitis of the Shoulder'