Your recovery starts here
We only realise how much we rely on our shoulders and neck until they’re sore. Your shoulders enable you to lift, lower and stabilise your arms, while every movement of your head relies on healthy neck muscles.
But when something is wrong, even the simplest day-to-day activities become very difficult to master. Until we helped them, our patients often couldn’t drive their car or even go to work because of their neck & shoulder pain.
We get to the root of your problem
Issues around the neck and shoulders are often connected. Without help, it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of your pain and find a way to treat it with more than just a temporary effect.
A lot of our patients are struggling with this before they come to see us. Often a trapped nerve turns out to be, in fact, a bursitis. And we successfully treated many misdiagnosed tennis elbows or carpal tunnels that were actually a problem with the neck.
Let's find the best treatment for you
Identifying the cause of your pain is the key to a successful treatment.
For example, pain and tingling that constantly moves from your hand or arm to the neck is often associated with nerve entrapment (e.g. due to a disc issue). If your pain moves down from the shoulder to the hand, however, it’s more likely to be an issue with your shoulder (e.g. subacromial bursitis).
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What happens next?
During your initial assessment in our physiotherapy clinic in Dunfermline, Fife, we will talk about you, your pain and how it affects your life.
Our physiotherapist will then assess:
- Your joints: Your range of movement tells us what joints are affected.
- Your muscles: Your muscle strength and agility shows us what muscles are affected and if there are any trapped nerves.
- Your reflexes: If required, this helps us find out where in your spine the nerve is trapped.
- Your shoulders: If your neck is not the cause of the pain, we run extensive shoulder tests to help us determine the source.
- Your diagnosis: After getting to the root of your pain, you get a diagnosis, we explain to you what’s going on and put together a treatment plan for you.
We strongly believe that if you understand your pain, you can manage it better. So we will always make sure you understand what caused your neck or shoulder problems, what can help you get better and how to avoid it in the future.
What can be done about it?
In general, your treatment depends on the severity of your pain and the integrity of the tissue. We have a wide range of treatments available to relieve your neck & shoulder pain:
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
To help you recover, we will also devise an exercise plan for you, specifically targeting your injury. Once the pain lessens, we will put a specific strengthening exercise programme in place for you to bring you back to your full fitness.
Regular massage and acupuncture might be required during that period to help you keep the symptoms at bay. Finally, you will be discharged with the knowledge and the exercises to prevent the problem from coming back.
Some shoulder problems, such as a frozen shoulder or an impingement, might require cortisone injections. This will help decrease the inflammation and allow you to start the rehabilitation with less discomfort.
In rare cases, often with rotator cuff injuries, we might need an X-ray or MRI to check the extent of the injury and to see if you require an operation.
Common causes for neck & shoulder pain
As mentioned above, ether are many injuries that can lead to neck or shoulder pain. Here are the most common ones:
- Discogenic neck pain (with or without nerve pain): which means pain coming from an intervertebral disc bulge in your neck
- Neck facet joint pain (with or without nerve pain): when the joint between two vertebrae in your neck becomes inflamed (very commonly seen after a car incident or a violent rugby tackle)
- Spondylitis and arthritis in the neck due to wear and tear.
- Spondylolisthesis: when one neck bone slip over another. It sounds horrible but it is a very common problem and not as painful as you think.
- Headaches and migraines coming from the neck, also called cervicogenic headaches.
- Muscle tension due to stress.
- Frozen shoulder which happen when the shoulder joint become inflamed and tense up (freeze) after a trauma, an operation or simply in people with Diabetes or woman at menopausal age.
- Rotator cuff injuries/tear. The rotator cuff is the group of muscles tendon merging around the head of humerus (the round bone in your shoulder) and allow you do all those complicated shoulder movements.
- Subacromial bursitis or impingement, when the whole shoulder complex does not move normally and causes pain.
- Acromio-clavicular joint pain caused by car accident, falls, tackles and just appear because of poor shoulder biomechanics.
- Thoracic no. 5 pain syndrome and Thoracic outlet syndrome when the neck, shoulder, arm pain is in fact caused by poor movement in the thoracic spine and poor posture.
- Neck and shoulder pain caused by other part of the body such as lower back and hips.