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Pain in neck radiating to chest, shoulder, numbness. Taking tylenol. Could it be cervical radiculopathy?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 364 Questions
About a week ago I got a sudden really bad pain in my neck on the right side. It radiated into my chest on the right side, into my right shoulder and a bit down my back on the right. It was pretty intense and out of nowhere. It scared me because it sort of felt like my jugular was being squeezed and I was a bit worried that it was a stroke of some kind. Then yesterday the numbness started. My neck has been killing me ever since and now it is numb on the right side of my chest and right shoulder going down my right arm. Like a novocaine type of feeling. Could it be cervical radiculopothy?
I have been taking Tylenol 3 which is not helping the neck pain to much and the numbness feels really weird. There is a LOT of numbness on the right side -neck, shoulder, arm, chest, back. It's really freaking me out. I made an appointment with a doc but it's not until next Friday.
Posted Fri, 26 Apr 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Mamun Kabir 4 hours later

Thank you for your query.

I am sorry to know that you are suffering a lot.

The symptoms you described are consistent with cervical radiculopathy; however cervical radiculopathy does not present suddenly.

Sometimes pulling of the neck muscle may cause this type of problem where the pain is felt most at the neck and raadiating to shoulder, chest or back.

A routine X-ray of the neck can help us identify the cause. I am glad to know that you have fixed an appointment with your orthopedic. I would suggest you to try anti-inflammatory pain killers like Ibuprofen 400mg twice a day. Rest the neck adequately and avoid strenuous activities such as bending and lifting weights. In addition topical heat application will be beneficial.

I hope this answers your query. Please write if any doubt.

Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pain in neck radiating to chest, shoulder, numbness. Taking tylenol. Could it be cervical radiculopathy? 4 hours later
What do you think about the numbing feeling.
My chest, shoulder and arm is numb. It is a very disturbing feeling.
Why is it so incredibly numb?
Answered by Dr. Mamun Kabir 1 hour later
Thank you for your follow up question.

Probably the pain is musculoskeletal. Sometimes this type of pain is associated with numbness.
Numbness is not always neurological. I think this will be fine very soon. If it is getting to disturbing levels, then surely you should get it examined.

Hope that clears your concerns.

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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