How can I help you? “Well Doc, I can’t raise my arm above my head, I can barely sleep because of the pain in my shoulder and no one knows what is wrong with me.”
I have this conversation almost weekly with new patients. They went the normal route you would expect when faced with a shoulder issue. Referral to an orthopedist, that often leads to an MRI, the MRI is negative for tears or joint issues. Often at that point they are referred to physical therapy for rehab and exercises for the shoulder and arm. If that fails the next move is injections to see if they can find relief from the pain.
All of that is potentially appropriate BUT, what if the problem isn’t actually in the shoulder itself. This is the case in my office frequently. The patient can’t move their arm but nothing is wrong with the shoulder/arm.
The answer usually lies in the patient’s neck. Work through this with me…...you want to move your arm what happens first? Your brain has to tell the arm and shoulder muscles you want to move it. How is this accomplished? Messages through your nerves. How do the nerves and nerve messages reach those muscles? They travel through the spinal cord, out of your skull, down the inside of your neck to the nerves, which then exit the spine and go to the place they need to go.
If that path is clear, then we are all set and don’t have an issue. If, on the other hand, somewhere along that path we get interference, then we have a problem. If the nerve being affected is a motor nerve, suddenly the muscles do not work correctly. If the nerve being affected is a pain nerve, then we get PAIN. If both are affected, we end up with an arm and shoulder that doesn’t work properly and hurts. Sometimes both are severe.
When a patient comes in with this, we evaluate if the neck is misaligned and causing this upper cervical nerve interference. If so, we figure out exactly where and how, then make a very specific correction to relieve the nerve pressure. This is all done without twisting or popping the neck. Once corrected, I can’t count how many times following a neck adjustment a patient has stared at me with disbelief that suddenly they can raise their arm normally and without pain. Sometimes they haven’t been able to do it in years, and on several occasions decades!
If you are suffering with this, and have established your shoulder itself isn’t damaged or injured, then the next logical step is to have your neck evaluated to see if your upper cervical is the source of your condition. Call us today at Upper Cervical Health Centers of Fort Myers for a free consultation 239-243-8810.
Dr. Lee Angle
Dr. Lee Angle is originally from southern West Virginia. After having his life changed through Upper Cervical Care he chose to pursue it as a career. He has been practicing Upper Cervical Chiropractic for over nine years. Dr. Angle previously worked as a certified personal trainer. This background allows him to educate his patients on proper movement and exercises to speed their recovery and enhance their Upper Cervical Care.