Shoulder and Arm Pain May Originate in the Neck

Do you suffer from chronic shoulder or arm pain? Though you might assume that the pain is coming from the area that hurts, in many cases the source may actually be in your neck.

There’s good reason for this phenomenon, which is known as “referred” pain – it happens because the nerves that create sensations in your various body parts all originate within your spinal cord. When pressure is placed on any of those nerves as a result of damage in your spine, it is often felt where the nerves end. When you have a damaged disc in your cervical spine, you are likely to feel it in your shoulder or your arms.

We tend to think of disc damage causing lower back pain, sciatica, or even tingling in our legs or feet, but when the damage is in the cervical spine it is likely to be felt in the upper limbs and torso. 

Getting older makes the likelihood of cervical spine disc damage greater because those discs, which are filled with a soft, jellylike material, tend to dehydrate. This not only makes the chance of injury greater, but also results in less space between the vertebrae and a greater chance of the nerves getting pinched.

If you are experiencing neck pain or referred pain in the shoulder or arms, your first step should be to make an appointment with our cervical spine specialist in New Jersey. After a thorough examination and diagnosis, we may recommend a variety of treatment options, including conservative approaches such as rest, medication, or physical therapy.

We may also suggest more aggressive steps such as injections of steroids, or even minimally invasive surgery to repair damage and provide relief. Each patient’s recommended course of action will be different, as each is unique and has their own particular diagnosis.

Every intervention and protocol that we recommend is guided by our top priority: relieving pain and returning you to your normal daily activities and an improved quality of life. If you are concerned about having to undergo surgery, keep in mind that advances in modern medicine have made it likely that minimally invasive surgery will be an option.

This type of surgery involves making a very small incision, which for cervical spine problems is usually made in the front of the neck. Though this may not be what you picture when you think of neck and spine surgery, it has been shown that this is a better approach that provides improved access to the areas in need of repair.

High tech instruments make it possible for this to be done safely and with almost no trauma to muscles. This means you will have a much faster recovery and return to normal.

Making an appointment with us will allow our cervical spine specialist to identify the best solution to your neck, arm or shoulder pain. Whether that is a fusion, a cervical disc replacement or another procedure, you can feel confident that you will soon be on the road to recovery.

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