Neck and Shoulder Pain Treatment
When determining neck and shoulder pain treatment, where an acute brachial plexus injury has occurred and nerves have been cut the severed nerves may be stitched back together in some cases, or a nerve graft may be applied to help healing. Damage at the spinal cord itself is likely to cause a permanent disability. If pain from the injury is less acute then applying ice is advisable as this can reduce the swelling in the area and lower compression, which helps to relieve neck and shoulder pain. It is not recommended to apply heat in such an injury as this could increase the inflammation in the area and actually worsen the effects of the trauma causing more nerve and blood vessel damage. Avoiding the risk of further trauma is advisable to allow the body time to heal, especially if bruising is present and the area is tender to the touch. In a small number of cases a heavy blow to the upper chest and shoulder can cause a fracture of the cervical rib, lower ribs, or the clavicle which would in many cases cause neck and shoulder pain. It is important to be assessed by a doctor to ensure that everything is done to aid a quick and optimal recovery.
Neck and Shoulder Pain Treatment | Conservative methods
Those who are experiencing pain and seeking neck and shoulder pain treatment due to tight muscles and stress can try to relieve the tension through massage, acupuncture, and/or thermotherapy. It is important to ensure that there is no underlying problem with nerve compression, or a structural defect in the area prior to having massage treatment as wrongly applied pressure could worsen the symptoms. A heat pad held to the neck and shoulder can help draw blood to the region and should relieve cramps and tension in the area. Lying chest down on an acupressure mat can also help to stimulate circulation to the area and relieve pain. Using NSAIDs and analgesic medications may be helpful for acute pain but are not ideal for long term use due to their plethora of side effects including the potential for liver damage and cardiovascular complications. If someone suffering from chronic neck and shoulder pain has come to rely on such drugs to function on a daily basis then it is important to get a physical assessment to determine the root cause of the pain and tackle it from that angle. It may be that something as simple as using different chair at work, carrying a bag with better weight distribution, or avoiding a draught in the office can help.
There are also a number of anti-inflammatory massage gels and creams that can be rubbed into the shoulder and neck to produce a similar effect to a heat pad or acupressure as they usually work either by drawing blood and nutrients into the region, reducing inflammation in the tissues, or blocking nerve pain signals through an effect on acetycholine. Some patients with chronic neck and shoulder pain and tension may choose to have botox injections in the area to effectively reduce these symptoms for a longer period of time by blocking acetycholine receptors for weeks, or even months until the toxin wears off. This can be helpful for some sufferers but it may lead to hypermobility and poor muscle control that could actually exacerbate a condition in the long run. Discussing appropriate treatments for neck and shoulder pain with the doctor is the best option as the symptoms could be part of an underlying condition not yet recognized such as cervical arthritis, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Quick Tips to Treat a Painful Shoulder
1. Apply ice - this can relieve inflammation and prevent further injury to the nerve. Heat may actually exacerbate a problem, causing increased blood-flow and oedema.
2. Devise a physical therapy regime that is appropriate to the injury. Some good exercises for pinched neck nerves may help to relieve the pain. Talk to your doctor before conducting these in order to avoid the possibility of worsening your injury.
3. Correct your posture and maintain it! A daily regime of gentle stretching and strengthening neck exercises can really help you avoid potential injuries, neck pain, and shoulder pain. Checking your posture when at work and taking a break every half hour to stand and stretch, or even just squeeze your shoulder blades together can relieve muscle tension and make you more aware of any undue stresses and strains.
Last Updated: 04/15/2011