Man holding his shoulderPeople often experience some kind of pain in their arms, hands, or shoulders. It could be from something as simple as sleeping on it wrong, to something as severe as a major sports injury.

Often, physicians will treat pain like this with prescribed painkillers, anti-inflammatories, or steroids. However, as a chiropractic clinic, we know that meds will only mask the problem. If you’re experiencing persistent pain, weakness, tingling, or limited range of motion in your shoulders and arms, we can help you diagnose and treat the root of the problem.

Identifying Causes of Pain

Our first step, of course, is to identify the underlying cause of your pain and discomfort. We can get a better idea of the condition if we understand and classify the following:

  • Location of pain (and whether it’s centralized, or it radiates)
  • Duration and frequency (When is it the worst? Is it continuous or does it suddenly shoot through your body?)
  • Nature of the pain or sensation (Is it sharp or achey, do you experience tingling or numbness along with it, is there swelling and other symptoms associated with it?)
  • Movements that hurt and help (This helps us know which nerves and muscle network are engaged in what’s going on)


Brachial Plexus and Brachial Plexopathy

Problems in the shoulders and arms can often be traced back to one location: the brachial plexus. This is the nerve network responsible for most of the movement and feeling in your upper body, including the shoulders and arms. It’s the birthplace of your radial nerve, as well as the ulnar and median nerves. The brachial plexus originates in the lower neck and extends across your shoulder and under the armpit.

Because the brachial plexus is the hub of so much, an injury to this area can cause a lot of problems. Major falls, strained or sprained muscles, and impact trauma can all contribute to pain or reduced function in the shoulders, arms, and hands.

Other Common Problems

Pain or abnormal sensations in the arms and shoulders can lead to many different diagnoses, including:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Fibrositis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Brachial neuralgia
  • Neuritis
  • Bursitis
  • Rheumatism
  • Rotator cuff tear


Formulating a Treatment Plan for You

Our treatment plan will depend entirely upon your specific condition. However, it could include one or several of the following:

  • Spinal adjustments: Many shoulder and arm problems originate in the upper spine, and adjustments can help you reduce pain and get the full range of motion back.
  • Physical therapy: Certain stretches and exercises can restore your body to its proper alignment, take the strain off of pinched nerves, and improve your mobility and circulation. Sometimes, these are exercises that we’ll do in our office, and other times they’ll be things that we teach you to do regularly on your own time.
  • Overall wellness: Here at Fit Life Chiropractic, we believe in treating not just one specific region, but the entire body. When you’re eating better, moving better, and thinking better, you start feeling better too.
  • Cortisone injections: Some issues will only be resolved by taking pressure off of joints and pinch points. Often, this can be done with cortisone injections that will help to cushion and support pressure points.