The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, and for good reason. It allows us the mobility to achieve our everyday tasks. With this increased mobility however, comes increased instability. Often shoulder problems don’t actually originate in the shoulder but higher up in the neck. All the nerves that innervate the shoulder are supplied from the neck and hence any neck problems can manifest not only in neck complaints but also shoulder complaints. Most of the time it is multifactorial and there isn’t one issue leading to a shoulder complaint. There could be neck mobility issues, neck postural issues. There may have been some physical trauma that has exacerbated an existing neck problem such as in contact sports.
Often Problems all the way from the shoulder to the arm to the wrist and hands are derived from the neck along what is called the kinematic chain. Even well-known issues such as tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome can originate in the neck. For example carpal tunnel syndrome – This is a complaint related to the median nerve that enters the hand through what is called the flexor retinaculum. This is a thick ligament around the end of the forearm that is often blamed for the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. If the symptoms are bad enough and persist, this ligament is often cut in a surgical procedure to relieve the perceived pressure of this ligament on the median nerve. Unfortunately, often this is not the cause of the symptoms. The cause of the pressure on the median nerve can occur anywhere in the kinematic chain all the way to the neck and is often derived from the neck.