Shoulder & Chest Pain

Shoulder & Chest PainShoulder: Shoulder pain is usually localized in or around a small tunnel in which 4 tendons devoted to shoulder movement pass through, called the rotator cuff. Rotator cuff tendonitis can be achingly painful and greatly limit movement of the arm above shoulder height, also known as "frozen shoulder." Frequently a patient may wake up with shoulder pain without any immediately known cause, which may suggest overuse tendonitis or something known as impingement syndrome, in which nerves and/or muscles involved in lifting the arm forward or to the side become pinched. Another common shoulder malady is bursitis, in which the tiny sacs that act as cushions between bones, muscles and tendons, become inflamed due to quick, violent or frequent motions, and can cause sharp or burning pain. Another shoulder pain condition involves what is called the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which is vital in certain shoulder actions. When the AC joint's components become enlarged due to degenerative arthritis, certain nerve paths and/or the rotator cuff can become pinched, causing distress. Other shoulder injuries include muscle strain or sprain. Discovering unexplained shoulder pain may require specific diagnostic procedures to isolate its exact cause, such as X-ray, MRI, CT or NCV scan, or diagnostic ultrasound. Once the source of your pain condition is determined in consultation with your doctor, you and he can work out a plan for treatment, rehabilitation and effective preventive care.

Chest: It is always vitally important to determine that heart disease is not present if you have unexplained chest pain. Never presume that chest pain should be ignored or that it will simply go away. Any person having unexplained chest pain, burning, or numbness extending into one or both arms, should seek immediate medical attention. Once heart disease has been ruled out, one can consider the possibility that the pain is caused by certain aggravating or repetitive activities, such as typing, painting or any activity that requires long stretches of upward or forward body posture, which can cause upper body pain and posture problems. Oftentimes prolonged or awkward motions can produce a sometimes agonizing condition known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. For more information, please read our section on this disorder.