When you experience shoulder pain, most people think that there’s something wrong with the shoulder itself, when in fact most of the time the problem is arising from the neck. Let me explain.
We have a nerve bundle arising from the neck called the brachial plexus. These nerves supply the muscles and skin of the shoulder, arm and hand. They come out of the cervical spine, travel underneath your collar bone, piercing the pecs, the deltoid and continue to supply the arm and hand.
When the muscles around the shoulder and neck are “tight”, nerve firing becomes impinged. Think about a running hose: what happens to the running water if there is a kink in the hose? The water trickles or stops running all together. Same concept with nerves that are wrapped with scar tissue or are trapped in a tight muscle – they can’t send clear signals to the related muscles. So…..when you have pain in your shoulder, or you’re finding that you have limited movement in your shoulder, chances are you have tight muscles in your neck, or pecs, or both. This especially rings true if you are experiencing any tingling or numbness in your hands and fingers.
Electro-acupuncture (EA) with massage is a great way to treat this type of injury. First, with EA applied to the neck and shoulder region tons of endorphins get released along with serotonin to aid in the healing process. In addition to that, activation of various nerve fibers will improve the nerve signaling to the areas. Second, deep soft tissue work will loosen up the muscles to help the nerves do their job.
Keep in mind that although you may feel better after your first treatment, it may only last from a few hours to a few days. It takes a number of treatments to completely dissolve your symptoms and everybody is different. If you are a healthy and active individual, your body will most likely respond relatively quickly.
In addition to getting treatment, it is also really important to keep moving. I always tell my patients, as long as you can exercise without experiencing any sharp shooting pain, keep moving. The goal is to get you functioning to the best of your ability.
The key is not to ignore these symptoms when they start. The earlier you get treated, the faster your recovery will be.