Frozen shoulder with swelling in the neck

by Lyn
(United Kingdom )


Frozen shoulder with swelling in the neck needs to be properly evaluated.

Hello, I was wondering if you can help me?
I have been diagnosed with frozen shoulder; however one hand is now a completely different colour to the other.

I have some swelling in the neck down to my collarbone and pain (more toothache like) running the entire length of my arm to my hand. I have been referred for an orthopaedic outpatient appointment, so whilst I am waiting I was wondering what,if anything I can do to help with the discomfort and loss of range of motion?

I work 8 hours per day on a pc with no wrist support and thought that could have been the cause; however my doctor signed me off and nothing has changed. Many thanks in advance.

Hello Lyn,
It's good that you have an orthopaedic consultation; frozen shoulder will not cause a swelling in the neck.

Having said that, a condition known as a thoracic outlet syndrome, or TOS, where both the artery and nerve bundles in the neck are pinched in the interscalene triangle can affect both the colour of the arm, and pain running down the limb.

A clot needs to be considered also.

Then there's Raynard's syndrome which affects the blood supply to the arm.

I take it the ranges of motion have been affected, seeing you've been diagnosed with frozen shoulder. Lying on your back, some gentle range of motion exercises would do no harm, and if it really is a FS then they would be very beneficial.

Push the mouse as far back on your desk as possible, lower your desk or raise your chair so that your hands point down, like a piano player, and get a chair with elbow support; or a small table under your elbow.

In short, this is complex, and a specialist opinion is indicated. Meantime start writing down all the things that increase and decrease the pain in your arm.

For example, if you raise your hand above your head, or carry a heavy shopping basket, or turning your head does it affect the arm?

I hope this contributes, but I fear won't be too much use to you.

One last thing; are you a smoker? Google pancoast tumour.

Let me know what comes of it.

Dr B



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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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