Neck Pain

Neck Pain With Referring Arm Pain or Tingling

Neck pain with associated referral into the arm or shoulder blades – what is the cause and what are the problems associated with this?

Neck (cervical) pain is one of the most common presentations we see come through the physiotherapy clinic. It may present in many forms, or “clinical patterns” and it is imperative that you step through a comprehensive assessment and management plan with your physiotherapist. Key indicators such as traumatic vs non-traumatic mechanisms, onset of symptoms, type and severity of pain, referral patterns, aggravating and easing factors, postural and occupational factors all contribute to a clinical picture. This shapes the most appropriate evidence-based treatment tailored to the individual scenario.

Neck Anatomy

The neck or cervical spine is made up of seven vertebrae which attaches the rest of the spine to head at the base of the skull. Between each vertebral body is an intervertebral disc. A hollow space runs at the back of these vertebral bodies. This houses and protects the spinal cord and complex nerve systems. Muscles and ligaments attach to the cervical spine to assist with both stability and the movement we see at the neck, thoracic region, and arms.

Why is my pain referring to my arms?

Referred pain can be due to both muscular trigger point referral, and due to neural structures being impacted which can be termed “cervical radiculopathy”. Commonly, this can be due to a herniated disc which subsequently disturbs the signals that travel through these nerves. When a cervical nerve is irritated, impacted or compressed, it can present with tingling, numbness, pins and needles, weakness or pain in the arms or shoulder blade region. Similarly, these referral patterns can travel upwards into the head and present as headaches or migraines. Of course, there may be other reasons/pathologies such as degenerative changes, bone spurs or tumours as to why you are experiencing these changes. This is why it is imperative you seek professional advice and a thorough assessment from our trained physiotherapists in conjunction with your GP.

What we can do for you at Purpose Physiotherapy

This is where the expertise of our therapists come into play. A combination of the above information extracted through the assessment, can help to ascertain your source of neck pain. Whether it be muscular, joint or nerve related, or a combination of both. The further we delve into how we can treat the cause and not just mask your symptoms.

During early-stage management, education, reassurance and guidance will be provided to help assist you through the rehabilitation process. Additionally, specialist soft tissue release, manual therapy, dry needling and targeted rehabilitation exercises can all be tools to assist in the management of your neck and arm pain.

Our physiotherapists will continue to guide you past the initial settling of your cervical radiculopathy or radicular pain. Then guide you through your mid to late-stage management to help solidify better long-term movement patterns and postures that will reduce the risk of recurrence.

Purpose Physiotherapists pride ourselves on going above and beyond for our clients. A special focus on education and tailoring every rehabilitation pathway to the individual. We offer a comprehensive assessment and ongoing treatment timeline, to ultimately have you move and live with purpose again

Move with Purpose, Live with Purpose!
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