Neck pain is one of the most common reasons people go to a chiropractor. Sometimes the pain radiates into the shoulders. It can further radiate down the arm and into the hand or fingers. The sensation in the arms and hands is often described as “pins and needles” or “numbness and tingling”. At other times the sensation is a heavy achiness. Patients frequently report tension headaches related to their neck pain.
Many people associate neck pain radiating into the left shoulder and arm with heart attack. For this reason, some visit the local Emergency Room with their concerns. Those not sufferring heart related pains are usually referred by the Hospital E.R. doctors to chiropractors for correction of the cause of their symptoms.
When “vertebral subluxation” from the neck causes pain to radiate into the “upper extremities” (arms and hands), the symptoms can usually be altered significantly with a minor change in head position. Tilting the head away from the affected limb usually diminishes the symptoms whereas tilting the head toward the affected limb usually increases the symptoms. Such testing and diagnosis should be performed by a licensed physician.
Since head tilt can affect peoples symptoms in their arms, many people discover their problems during rest or upon waking, since they sleep with their heads in less than optimal postures. When people sleep on the side of the radiating pain, a pillow that is too low can cause the symptoms to increase. When they sleep on the opposite side of the radiating symptoms, a pillow that is too big can increase symptoms. A forward posture or extended posture can also affect the symptoms.
When the head posture is affecting the severity of numbness or radiating arm pain, one should not think that moving the head to a lesser pain posture is the solution. Such a choice will only give the “subluxation” more time to cement making it more difficult to correct.
Radiating symptoms into the extremmities are an indication of a more advanced problem and should be corrected as soon as possible. Chiropractors are trained to detect and correct vertebral subluxation complex, the usual cause of such problems.
Dr. Michael Haley in Pompano Beach has been helping people with vertebral subluxation causing neck pain and radicular symptoms since 1996.
Pompano Beach, Florida 33060