What Does Neck and Shoulder Pain Mean?
Most people have experienced shoulder or neck pain at one time or another. Typically believing it was caused by sleeping wrong or pulling a muscle, it is often just endured until it begins to go away on its own. If it reaches a point where daily functioning is affected, the best option is to seek help from a pain doctor College Station. It is often not realized that there are different kinds and severity levels of neck and shoulder discomfort, each with different symptoms. Understanding the different types of pain that can occur in this complex area of muscles, nerves and ligaments is the first step in uncovering the source and treating it.
The neck and shoulders combine to form a complex matrix of nerves, tendons, ligaments, and muscles that can drastically affect each other if there is a problem in that area. Although pain seems self-explanatory as to the affected area, this is not always the case with injuries to the neck and shoulders. Many times other symptoms along with the pain can be better indicators of where the problem may be.
The most common types of pain experienced in the neck and shoulder region are soft tissue injury as well as muscle and ligament sprains and strains that cause swelling and various degrees of discomfort with headaches as well. Pain doctors in College Station advise that such injuries can be caused by anything from whiplash and other localized trauma to poor posture or unsupported sleep – and is usually resolved when the problem is fixed or after healing has taken place.
Discomfort in this area can be a result of spinal issues like cervical arthritis, spondylosis, vertebral misalignment, and compressed or slipped discs. It can originate from other issues like pinched nerves, rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, tendinitis, and even something as seemingly unrelated as heart and lung problems. Pain can radiate throughout the neck and shoulder area and cause more discomfort along its route, so finding the source of the pain is important.
Many times the symptoms of pain can help pinpoint where the actual source of the problem may be.
Severity of Pain – Discomfort can range from just a dull ache to a sharp, acute sensation depending on the problem. It can include headaches, muscle aches, sore ligaments and spinal pain. Neck pain and headaches of varying degrees are often caused by problems further down the back , which should be remembered when trying to find the source of the pain.
Generalized and Localized Swelling – This can occur due to circulatory issues after an injury or to a smaller, localized area because of injury to muscles, ligaments, and tendons that become inflamed and swell. Swelling may be accompanied by varying degrees of pain, heat, and stiffness in the affected areas. Skin redness may occur as well due to inflammation and swelling.
Coolness and Tingling in the Arm – These symptoms may appear in an arm with or without pain and usually indicate some type of blood flow or sensation problem with the arm. It can be caused by a pinched nerve, bruised or cut nerves, or other injury further up the shoulder or neck affecting the nerves, arteries and veins that travel into the arm. Skin color can also change to become pale or sometimes a bluish tint if there are problems with circulation into the arm.
Weakness – Weakness can happen due to pain itself or due to damage to an area that ends up affecting mobility and strength, such as nerve damage. It is important to distinguish whether weakness is happening because of being unable to move without extreme pain or because of the injury itself.
With the possibility of so many causes of neck and shoulder pain, it is easy to see how diagnosis and relief can be challenging. Any pain that is due to a known condition or injury that persists for a while should seek advice from a pain doctor College Station for such conditions, especially if it appears to be: getting worse; interfering with normal breathing or movement; and/or the area of the pain is swollen or cool, that could indicate more serious problems that need medical attention and a doctor should be consulted.