Tight muscles stiff joints arm pain

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

This condition generally starts at the top... the neck.

Neck strain is mechanical dysfunction in the neck with accompanying tightness and in the muscles.

The head is supported by the neck, which is made up of seven bones (vertebrae) stacked one on top of the other. The vertebrae are cushioned by discs of cartilage and bound together with ligaments. Muscles provide movement and additional support.

The neck is mobile, which means it is more susceptible to injury. Trauma, poor posture and degenerative diseases, such as arthritis, are the most common causes of neck pain.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint with an extended range of movement. Once again, a mobile joint tends to be more susceptible to injury. The shoulder joint relies on the surrounding shoulder muscles and ligaments for stability.

Mechanical stress in the neck from sitting for long hours a day can lead to tight muscles, chronic soft tissue inflammation, and arm symptoms. Many people whose work day is primarily spent sitting in front of a computer, with slumped shoulders may put extra stress on the upper back.

Poor posture can cause neck pain by putting extra strain on ligaments and muscles. Standing with the shoulders slouched and drooped and chin pushed forward, working with the head tilted down for long periods of time, slumping while seated and sleeping face-down are common postural problems that affect the neck. Suggestions on how to prevent posture related neck pain include:

• Correct your posture when standing or sitting, lift your chest, drop your chin slightly and relax your shoulders.
• Ensure your workstation is set up to help you sit properly.
• Stretch and change position frequently while you are working.
• Try not to sleep on your stomach, which overextends your neck.
• Choose a urethane or down pillow for neck support while you sleep.
• Use relaxation techniques.

Regular exercise can improve muscle tone and posture.

Postural stress can cause a tightening of the trapezius muscles in the upper shoulders. This may aggravate any tendency for arthritis in the neck to impinge on nerve roots.

Nerve entrapment lower down in the arm at the elbow and wrist may also cause tight muscles and arm pain.

People involved in a rear end collision may suffer a whiplash injury to the neck, where the impact forces the person's head back and then forward at great speed. This can overstretch the neck and upper back, resulting in a strain or tear to the supporting ligaments, muscles and discs. The common symptoms of a whiplash injury are pain, stiffness and headache. Arm pain can also occur. Treatment options may include:

• Anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants
• Icepacks for three days
• Gentle mobilization exercises
• Gentle soft tissue mobilization (massage)

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is characterized by the wearing away of cartilage, the cushion found between bones. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and muscle weakness. Commonly affected areas include the neck, lower back, hands, hip and knee. Osteoarthritis in the neck can lead to stiff neck joints, tight muscles, and pain in the arms.

Shoulder disorders are also is a cause of stiffness. The muscles in the shoulder can feel tight and pain into the upper arm can radiate from the shoulder. Diagnosing the cause of shoulder pain involves assessing the degree of movement and strength in the joint. Imaging studies such as x-rays, ultrasound, and MRI are often required. Some of the conditions that commonly cause shoulder pain include:

• Strains, due to overexertion
• Tendonitis or tendinopathy due to overuse
• Shoulder joint instability
• Dislocation
• Clavicular (collarbone) or humeral (upper arm bone) fractures
• 'Frozen' shoulder
• Pinched nerves.

Tight muscles, stiff joints and arm pain can be due to excessive exercise without proper warm-up... common in weekend athletes.

Medical diseases can also do this. Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory type of arthritis that affects people past the age of 50. It causes stiffness and pain in the shoulders, arms, and thighs. Generally the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (sed rate) is very high indicating a lot of inflammation.

Rheumatoid arthritis often presents with stiff joints, tight muscles and pain.

An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can cause muscle stiffness and tight muscles.

And, fibromyalgia, a soft-tissue form of rheumatism is another common cause of generalized tight muscles, stiff joints and pain.

Inflammatory muscle disease (polymysitis) is one other cause of tight muscles, stiff joints, and arm pain. It also presents with weakness.

Other inflammatory conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s disease, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter’s disease, and Lyme disease, on occasion, can lead to these disturbing symptoms.

The bottom line is this: You need to see a specialist and get a proper diagnosis.

Get more information about tight muscles stiff joints arm pain as well as...

• Insider arthritis tips that help you erase the pain and fatigue of rheumatoid arthritis almost overnight!

• Devastating ammunition against low back pain... discover 9 secrets!

• Ignored remedies that eliminate fibromyalgia symptoms quickly!

• Obsolete treatments for knee osteoarthritis that still are used... and may still work for you!

• The stiff penalties you face if you ignore this type of hip pain...

• 7 easy-to-implement neck pain remedies that work like a charm!

• And much more...

Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

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