What’s your injury?

Upper Limb

Here are some common problems of the upper limb – do any of these sound like your pain?

shoulder pain

Shoulder Pain

Where? Front/Side of the shoulder.

Difficulties: Movement above shoulder height, sudden movements, sleeping on side.

Possible diagnosis: Rotator Cuff Tendonopathy.

Cause: Repetitive actions above shoulder level, falling on an outstretched arm, wear and tear. Tendon is inflamed or torn, can develop into frozen shoulder.

Treatment: Friction massage, ultrasound, acupuncture, stretch and strengthening.

shoulder pain with numbness

Shoulder Pain (with numbness)

Where? Shoulder and arm, with numbness and/or pins and needles.

Difficulties: Sustained postures irritate, movement relieves.

Possible diagnosis: Trapped nerve.

Cause: Bulging disc in the neck places pressure on a spinal nerve that serves the arm. Can result from trauma, often the effect of repetitive movements or awkward positions of the neck with a delayed onset.

Treatment: Mechanical traction (internal link), Nerve stretches, restoration of joint movement and reduction of muscle tension.

elbow injury


Where? Outer part of elbow/forearm.

Difficulties: Gripping.

Possible diagnosis: Tennis elbow.

Cause: Repeated and/or sustained gripping. Causes deep muscle tension, wear and tear of tendon at attachment site to elbow.

Treatment: Friction massage, massage, acupuncture, activity modification.

thumb and wrist injury

Thumb & Wrist

Where? Base of the thumb near the wrist.

Difficulties: General use, gripping, using a mouse, using tools.

Possible diagnosis: De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Cause: Often a repetitive action that occurs during work. The tendons lye in a sheath containing synovial fluid. The fluid becomes inflamed and thickened causing movement to be painful.

Treatment: Stretch, massage, acupuncture, steroid injection.

hand and wrist injury

Wrist & Hand

Where? Hand pain or nerve symptoms (numbness, pins and needles), half of the hand (thumb side).

Difficulties: Repeated/sustained gripping as in use of tools and machinery, or sustained position e.g. using a keyboard.

Possible diagnosis: Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Cause: Swelling occurs at the lower forearm/wrist causing compression of nerve and blood vessels.

Treatment: Activity modification, joint mobilization, stretch, surgery.