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Spine and Back Health

Shoulder, Neck, and Finger Pain

08/10/2009

Question:

For 18 months now, I have shoulder and finger pain on my right side. It started with my right ring finger, being swollen and not able to bend in the morning (every day), which will resolve during the course of the day. The finger does not tingle and it affects only that one. The shoulder pain sits on the top front of the shoulder and goes up the side of my neck (behind the right ear). There is no arm pain, numbness or tingling. The pain gets worse after playing golf, or doing any hard work (I am right-handed).

I got temporary relief from a massage, but it did not last long. I tend to believe it is a pinched nerve. I went to a chiropractor, but was not convinced about his assessment. I would like to see a specialist, Orthopedist or Neurologist? Thanks a lot.

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. As a general rule, pinched nerves do not cause swelling, even in cases of severe nerve compression. I would tend to believe this is a different problem. However, you probably would be best served by seeing an orthopedist, preferably one with experience dealing with both shoulder and hand issues. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University