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September 20, 2021  
REFERENCE: Ask an Expert

Below are some of the most-recently-answered questions from our Medical Experts. We recommend you read over these questions as well as search our "Frequently Asked Questions" to see if your question has already been answered.



Question:
i was in a car accident when im was 16 years old and i am now 44 years old. once a year i get terrible pain down my side of neck for a few months. i started a new job and picking people up and moving wheel chairs. i found i cannot raise my arm over my head but there is very little pain. i can lift my hand to my elbow. please help. what do you think this is and is it an emergency

Question submitted by: [email protected]

Dr. Warner
Jon J.P. Warner, M.D. is Associate Professor of the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Surgery Department and Chief of the Harvard Shoulder Service. He is the author of over 60 peer review publications, more than 150 book chapters, and 4 books. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of numerous specialty societies including the Orthopaedic Research Society and the American Orthopaedic Society. His practice is principally devoted to the treatment of problems of the shoulder and elbow.



Answer:
This sounds like you may have a tear of the rotator cuff tendons. These are tendons which encircle the ball (humeral head) and help keep it in the socket (glenoid) as well as move it on the socket. Your neck pain might be due to either a problem in your neck or it could be referred from your shoulder area. In any case, you should seek the advice of a qualified specialist in shoulder problems. He or she might suggest an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) study which can show if the rotator cuff tendons are injured. Often special therapy will solve the problem; however, occasionally surgery is necessary.

   
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