Read below for the full video transcript.
Can a pinched nerve in C5, C6 be felt in the shoulders. What a great question that I got in my comments under one of my videos, and I’ll answer it in this video right here. Hey there, it’s Dr. Walter Salubro. I’m a chiropractor in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada. And in this video, I am going to answer a question that I received in the comments under one of my videos about C5, C6, disc bulge. The full question this viewer asked is can a pinched nerve, C5, C6 be felt in shoulders. Two months of shoulder pain with spasms in neck, MRI shows disc complex, C5 C6 and mild narrowing 11 millimetre central canal on cat scan, nothing wrong apparently. I can understand the frustration in this question. I chose this comment and question on purpose cause there’s several things I want to address. I want to address the frustration and also provide some answers of what could possibly be going on.
If you’re new to this channel, I welcome you to subscribe by clicking on that red button below, tap on that notification bell for all notifications, turn on the YouTube notifications on your mobile device as well. This way, you don’t miss out on the great content that I provide on a regular basis. I give strategies and tips on how to overcome chronic spinal conditions and the symptoms and pains associated with it either through exercises or stretches and also an introduction to corrective chiropractic methods. I’ve been a chiropractor for 20 years, and at our office we have helped hundreds of people recover from chronic spinal conditions, such as disc bulges in the lower back like L4 L5, L5 S1, disc bulge in the neck like C5 C6, spinal degeneration, other symptoms associated with spinal conditions like sciatica, leg pain, numbness, tingling, and as well as provide structural corrective care for things like scoliosis and bad posture..
So diving back into the comment about C5 C6 disc bulge, and if it can be felt in the shoulder. First, let’s address what C5 C6 disc bulge is. We are talking about C, which is cervical, which is the neck. So C5, C6, disc bulge is at the apex of the curve of the neck and the neck should have a natural C shaped curve when you’re looking at that from the lateral view on an x-ray and from the front the neck is straight. So the questions that I ask someone who come into my office with these types of complaints and concerns would be what’s causing that disc injury in the neck, what’s causing the C5 C6 disc bulge. Is it a misaligned series of vertebra? Was there an injury in the past or trauma? Was it slow, repetitive micro traumas over time, like sitting in front of a computer all day long, or a whiplash injury or bad sleeping positions over a lifetime? I want to know what kind of traumas have led to this injury. And it could very well be some misaligned vertebra that are slowly over time irritating the disc and damaging it, causing a disc bulge.
A disc is a pain generator, so it can cause local inflammation right at that point. So when there is a disc injury or disc bulge, it’s inflamed and irritated causing local neck pain. Muscles spasms oftentimes are secondary to spinal conditions, which are misalignments or other inflamed tissues around the spine like the disc or the joins, like the ligaments around the joints. Muscle spasms can be guarding the tissues that are affected to prevent further re-injuring. If there’s numbness and tingling traveling down into the arms and fingers, that can be a nerve that’s now being irritated. Usually C5, C6 can cause achiness in the shoulder, weakness in the biceps muscle and numbing and tingling into the forearm, into the fingers, especially the first three fingers. So that can be related to that. Now to address the question about the shoulders, the upper shoulder area, can that be triggered by a C5 C6 disc bulge? It’s hard to say because typically a disc bulge would be a local irritation on the spine or if it’s irritating a nerve, down into the fingers.
However, I want you to consider something else because remember I asked earlier, what caused that disc bulge? If it’s a misaligned vertebra, a subluxation as we call it in chiropractic, vertebral misalignment or subluxation, that joint in and of itself can trigger referral pain.
Refer to 4:29 of the video to hear about a study conducted on the C5, C6 joint.
The C5 C6 joint is in the mid part of the cervical spine. Often times, the most common joint degeneration occurs at that mid level of the cervical spine. When that spine is misaligned or subluxated and irritated, it can refer pain. It can refer pain along the upper back across the upper trapezius and shoulder into the mid neck. So a C5, C6 irritation, joint dysfunction, or subluxation can refer pain. Now, C6 C7 which is just below, if that is irritated, it will refer lower towards the shoulder blade and scapula. When there’s an injury or irritation of joints because of misalignments or subluxations, regardless of other underlying conditions like disc bulge, degeneration, it can refer to different parts. So a C5, C6 refers to the upper shoulder and a C6, C7 refers to the lower shoulder, so there could be a correlation. The point of this discussion is that, MRIs and CAT scans are useful but in order to identify correctly you will need a thorough spinal investigation, an x-ray analysis and examination of the spine especially with a chiropractor. Chiropractors focus on the structural assessment of the spine, figuring out what these structural problems are that are leading to these disc injuries and joint injuries. We can then provide correct methods to help correct them naturally without drugs or surgery.
Many patients in my office and across many offices that do this kind of structural corrective work have seen great results with their patients in relieving neck pain, relieving shoulder pain, relieving symptoms associated with disc bulges, like C5, C6 as well as relief of radicular pain or arm pain, which is that numbness and tingling. Look for a chiropractor in your area, specifically for a corrective care chiropractor if you have these types of symptoms. If you need help finding one that does corrective style chiropractic care and is chiropractic biophysics trained and certified like myself, then send me a comment or a message. I will do my best to refer you to a directory where you can search for a chiropractor in your are that does this kind of work. I hope you found this useful. If you have any question, leave them in the comments below. Again, be sure you’re subscribed and click on the notification bell and I’ll catch you next time.