Q: I have had pain between my shoulders for the last month. It started after working in the garden for 3 straight days. The pain goes up into my neck and it hurts down into my arm. Now, it hurts whenever I have to use my arm a lot, as in vacuuming, cleaning house, and blow drying my hair. Sometimes, I feel a tingling sensation down the arm as well. What is it? And can you help me?
A: Well, first I would have to examine you but it sounds like you have locked up your shoulder. It’s called a “scapulo-thoracic” restriction, but I refer to it as a “locked up” shoulder because it is easier to understand. Basically, the muscles around your shoulder and neck have become so tight that they have restricted or locked up the movement of your shoulder blade. (Your shoulder blade assists in the upward movement of your arm.) When your shoulder does not move properly, the muscle on top of the shoulder blade has to do most of the work of lifting up your arm. Then, that muscle tightens up and fatigues and you can begin to feel pain as well as numbness/tingling down into your arm as well as into your neck. You can lock up your shoulder from doing a number of things: sleeping on it too long or in an awkward position, vacuuming, doing yard work, lifting weights, even using a computer mouse too much. I cannot tell you the number of patients I see with this condition. For treatment, I perform trigger point therapy on the overly tight muscles to release them. Then, I adjust any vertebral fixations that are affecting the midback, neck, and arm. And lastly, I mobilize the shoulder blade so that it can begin to move properly using a high speed instrument. You cannot believe how much better you will feel with this kind of treatment. It works wonders! Call 479-587-0227 for an appointment and go to www.TheGibsonCenter.com for more information.