neck and shoulder pain


I woke up Sunday morning with a "kink" in my right neck. The pain actually comes from the mid-scapular region along the right side of my vertebrae, but it feels muscular. It was hard to turn my head without the pain in the neck, back and shoulder. When I move my head to the left, it actually pulls my right shoulder forward.

On Monday, I had some acupuncture done, and again on Tuesday. It did temporarily relieve some of the pain and inflammation. I have been taking both acetaminophen and ibuprofen, with intermittent heat/cold on the area.
By Wednesday, I was tender, but not too bad. Today, Thursday, I have pain in the front of my right clavicle, pain down the underside of my right arm, pain at the base of my skull, and a "pulled" feeling at the front of my clavicle that pulls into my neck (feels like when swallowing and or talking). I have tingling in my thumb and first two fingers. I have booked a massage for tomorrow, am I on the right path? I'm tired of the pain! I'm having difficulty sleeping through the night too. Please help.

Muscular pain is usually increased by turning to the opposite side. If turning to the same side, especially if it hurts turning right and then looking up, then you should suspect a problem in the joint. Only a careful examination will determine which one.

This condition often is worse at night. It's of concern that it's now going down your arm, and the pattern is a little unusual. Underside of your arm and first three fingers points to a non-dermatomal condition. Perhaps a first rib subluxation.

Also that clavicle pain. I suspect this something that will need rather more than a good massage. Firstly a good chiropractic examination.

Dr B

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Jan 02, 2017
Proper grammar please
by: Anonymous

Call me crazy...
I had a kink in my neck I thought I slept in it wrong it later for about 2 days the moved to the middle of my back the The my right shoulder than to my left I feel like I have poor circulation as well my hands keep itching

Please write in English if you want a reply.

Dr B

Feb 26, 2016
Random tingling numbness
by: Alison


I gave birth to my son a little over a year ago. I had severe pre eclampsia. Ever since I gave birth my whole body has been out of whack. 90% of it has returned to normal.

My question is at random times it could happen once a month or once every two months, my pointer finger as well as my thumb will get tingling and numb.

As well as which ever side my numb fingers are on that side of my lips will go numb like if it's my left side then half of my left lips will go numb as well as like 4 teeth on that side. Any idea what causes this? It only lasts a couple of mins of that but I'd like to know what to do about it.

Hello Alison,
The thumb and index finger belong strongly to the C6 dermatome, so that's almost coming from your lower neck, but the connection with your lips is mysterious. It will take a neurologist to work that one out.

Tingling in the lips may be related to calcium levels in the blood. I might be as well to have the parathyroid gland checked out.

I hope that helps.

Dr B

Feb 16, 2015
numbness after massage
by: Anonymous


I happened to be giving myself a neck massage as I have some neck and shoulder issues due to a lot of stress and a car accident; and other things as well.

My thumb and index finger went numb and severely tingly. At first I kind of thought that it fell asleep from pushing to hard but that's not the case because the pain is still there.

A day or two later, the top part of my arm and the bottom of my forearm went numb and lost a tremendous amount of strength. Any advice or ideas of what I may have done. What can I do to help?

My best guess is that I've pinched a nerve; but I want it unpinched.

Yes, you may well have a pinched nerve but I doubt that anything you did caused it.

The thumb and forefinger belong to the C6 dermatome in your neck; it's very specific.

There's concern that your arm feels weak; that needs to be tested. It's serious.

You can do a few tests at home.

1. Turn your head to the painful arm side and then look up; what happens?

2. Do some press ups; does the triceps muscle at the back of your upper arm tire very quickly? It extends the elbow.

3. Go to Chiropractic Help and type into the search function Upper Limb Tension Test. What do you feel?

I would advise a cervical spine xray including oblique views and then start hunting for a highly recommended chiropractor in your area. Talk to friends and family, and your medical doctor.

Good luck; let us know how you get on.

Dr B

Oct 06, 2014
Middle Finger feels stiff and twisted after chiropractic visit
by: Anonymous

I visited with a chiropractor a few weeks ago with a chief complaint of mild lower back pain. During his examination, he said that my right rib cage was torqued. I did not cede to this treatment but before I knew it he suddenly pressed down on my scapula and I heard a crack. The pain was so bad I was screaming in agony. He also did a neck adjustment and he claims to have done a thoracic and lumbar adjustment but evidently, these were very mild. He denies applying any pressure to my right scapula but I know where the pain and the crack sound came from and I felt him over that area when I heard the crack. I left the office not in pain but the right shoulder and arm felt limp. The MRI showed a transverse crack of the right 3rd rib with edema. The radiologists stated the right 3rd rib was in a state of active healing. Needless to say the first 10 days I had severe acute pain around the shoulder blade and it was difficult to breath without pain due to the rib injury. In addition, the right middle finger suddenly became stiff and difficult to bend about 7 days later after the adjustment. I first noticed this upon waking. This middle finger also looks like its middle joint is twisted. The finger pain is always worse in the morning. In fact the whole right side of my body feels different after the chiro visit as if it is displaced from the midline. The finger issue is a big concern to me. I should add that my right rotator cuff had a tear years ago but I had no pain there before the chiro visit. I would be most appreciative for any professional comments on the etiology of the finger stiffness and what may have happened after this visit. I never heard of a rib adjustment and I certainly had no issues with my right rib.

Thank for your sad tale; in all honesty there's hardly a chiropractor in practice who hasn't broken a rib or two, and I certainly have.

Having said that, it's almost always in elderly, osteoporotic women; you don't state your age, or sex. Your chiropractor used more force than was warranted.

The good news is that the rib will heal; it usually hurts a lot for about two weeks and then gradually recedes without any residual pain or long term sequelae.

That finger. It does not sound like any direct nerve connection to your neck treatment; that wouldn't cause any stiffness or deformity.

Very rarely, I've only seen half a dozen cases in 35 years, a part of the body may react badly to a distant injury, usually in the brain, but it's possible after a fractured rib, I suppose. It's called causalgia; unlikely but possible.

The truth is that doctor-caused illness, iatrogenic disease, happens in the chiropractic clinic too; you'll recover from the rib, probably with no long term problems; I hope you don't have causalgia. It's a mysterious and poorly understood condition. Start massaging and exercising that finger daily.

More likely it's arthritis developing and unrelated to your broken rib; sudden onset is not uncommon.

Thank you for your frank and helpful letter; helpful to us as a profession, not to be too enthusiastic with our treatment. First, do no harm.

Oh, adjusting ribs is common in the chiropractic office; they are frequently the cause of midback and sternal pain.

It remains one of the slightly controversial things in chiropractic; should we adjust only the parts where the pain is. In your case the lower back, or should we adjust the whole spine. I vacillate between the two myself, usually starting at the part that patients consulted me for, and then as that progresses start looking for other problem areas. The spine is very inter-related.

You've been helpful to us; I hope this contributes to your understanding.

Please let us know in a couple of months what happens.

Dr B

Sep 04, 2014
Body pain
by: Anonymous

I am 62 years old; I have pain in my upper back, left shoulder, left side of my neck, under my chest, my waist and the back of my right leg.

I am very worried about these pains that are making me to be tired and falling to sleep when I am sitting in a couch or chair. Please tell me, what do you think happening to me?

There are different things happening here, and they are probably not connected; occasionally they may be serious.

The fact that they've gone for some time means that you should take it more seriously now. That means a proper examination, and a diagnosis.

Don't leave it any longer; see either your doctor or a local chiropractor. Don't accept painkillers for a few cracks of your spine. What is the cause of these pains, and what is the diagnosis? Some xrays may be necessary.

Dr B

Aug 21, 2014
pain In my neck !!!
by: Steven

on Friday night I was out riding my street bike about 12:00 night I was doing about 120.mph when a truck swerved into my lane to pass the car in front of them I couldn't get out of the way and crashed into his side mirror with my right arm turning his mirror in to confettiI have no bruises or lesser a shins on that I just cannot move it and the muscle looks like it dead like in jello unfinishedafter the accident I woke up in the hospital got off and ran I'm not very comfortable in hospitals I have a deathly fear of themis there anyway I can tell that the muscle isn't dead that it is still connected to the bone it hurts like hell but I can not flex the muscle in any way to make it move on its own when I hold my arm up the bicep falls forward as if it was dead i know i should have going back to the hospital what can I do to make sure that my arm is still fully functional

Pretty please, Steven, start a new thread with your comment and write from your computer. Google downgrades sites that use not so smartphone lingo. Then I'll gladly anwer your question.

Dr B

Jul 23, 2014
by: Ash&her

I collided while playing softball tonight and landed on my head. My neck is now numb, is that normal?

Hello Ash,
No, of course, not, but now a couple days have passed; what's happening?

There's an important distinction to be made between feeling numb and actually being dumb. Ask "her" to get a pin and prick your neck; is there a difference right and left?

Are you getting headaches?

Sometimes serious things like subdural hematomas and dislocated or subluxated bones in the neck do occur; if you are still getting significant symptoms it's time to consult someone; sooner rather than later.

Let me know what transpires.

Dr B

May 23, 2014
Neck and shoulder
by: Derrick

My muscles tighten in the left side of my neck and shoulders and I get a tingling feeling in my neck shoulders and top half of my arm.

Hello Derrick,
The fact that the tingling is going into your arm is not a good sign.

Here's something to look out for: does raising your arm above your head increase or relieve the tingling in your arm?

The so called Shoulder Abduction Sign is a standard neurological indication of a pinched nerve root. Use the search function at C-H and type it in for more information.

My rule is that you can put up with some neck pain, many people do, but if it goes into your arm it's best to get a professional opinion.

Dr B

Jan 31, 2014
nerves pain
by: Anonymous


How does one know if the tingling, numbness and cold sensation that comes and goes on my left thigh and pins and needles feeling in my hands and feet, is caused by disc damage or diabetic?

Disc damage usually causes pain in the neck or back. Plus if it's a pinched nerve, then the nerve stretch tests will be positive. The Slump test and Upper Limb Tension test for example. You can do them at home, use the search function at chiropractic Help to find them.

But your problem could be the femoral nerve, and that's more difficult to test yourself.

If your diabetes is not well controlled, that's where to start. Otherwise you risk losing a limb or going blind.

I hope this contributes.

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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