Symptoms often develop slowly over time. But they may start or get worse suddenly. The pain may be mild, or it can be deep and so severe that you are unable to move.
You may feel the pain over the shoulder blade. Or it may spread to the upper arm, forearm, or fingers (in rare cases).
The pain may get worse:
- After standing or sitting
- At night
- When you sneeze, cough, or laugh
- When you bend the neck backwards or walk more than a few yards
You may also have weakness in certain muscles. Sometimes, you may not notice it until your doctor examines you. In other cases, you will notice that you have a hard time lifting your arm, squeezing tightly with one of your hands, or other problems.
Other common symptoms are:
- Neck stiffness that gets worse over time
- Numbness or abnormal sensations in the shoulders, arms, or legs (in rare cases)
- Headaches, especially in the back of the head
Less common symptoms are:
- Loss of balance
- Loss of control over the bladder or bowels (if there is pressure on the spinal cord)