Neck Pain

What Can Cause Neck and Shoulder Pain?

If we consider them as a whole, neck and shoulder pain is the second most common musculoskeletal condition and people from all over the world suffer from it every single day.

These two parts of the body are mutually connected and many times they also hurt at the same time and for the same reasons.

The neck acts like a support for the head. Inside we have the upper part of the spine consisted of vertebrae (spine bones), discs that cushion the vertebrae, ligaments that hold these two things together and muscles that provide extra support for the spine. The neck is very mobile and has a wide range of motions. This is why it’s so easy to hurt it.

Neck and Shoulder Pain causes

Shoulders on the other hand are joints that also have a wide range of movement. The shoulder relies on the shoulder muscles for support and that’s why muscular problems may happen as well as joint problems because this joint is very motion.

In general, there are millions of reasons that can cause neck and shoulder pain. Although there are different causes, physiotherapy and/or massages can be very helpful for every pain on the neck and shoulders.

Here are few of the most common causes for neck and shoulder pains:

Most Common Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain

Whiplash – this is one common reason of neck and shoulder pain. Whiplash is actually a sudden neck movement that usually happens in a car or motorcycle accident. Basically, this is a forceful backwards and forward movement. This kind of movement causes neck and shoulder muscle, ligaments or discs tearing or strain. Some pain-killers and anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve the pain from a whiplash. Depending from the severity of the injury, some other procedures such as immobilization or exercises may be necessary for a full recovery.

Torticollis (cervical dystonia) – this is a very painful condition where there is a contraction (spasms) of the neck muscles that causes the head to stay on one side. Sometimes the cause of this can be an injury, but most of the times the cause is unknown. This condition is more common in women and in people over 40 years old. However, even a baby can develop this condition if there was for example an injury during the birth.

Poor Posture – if you hold a posture with bend shoulders and chin and head forward, you must do something to change it. Keeping a poor posture can cause unnecessary pressure on your spine and back muscles which can result with neck or shoulders pain. Having a correct posture while sitting in front of the computer or while watching TV is a good first step. Your back and spine have to be straight and your shoulders shouldn’t go down or upwards.

Osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis and the biggest problem for all joints, including the neck and shoulders is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis mostly affects older people, but still no one is immune. If you suffer from it, you will most probably feel neck and shoulder pain, stiffness and weakness of the muscles. There isn’t one specific cure for osteoarthritis, but many different medications and exercises can help you at least improve the condition and relieve the pain.

Degenerative Arthritis of the Cervical Spine – the cervical spine is actually the neck spine and this condition affects the nerves. In this way, it contributes towards neck and shoulder pain.

Collarbone breaking – broken collarbone is usually a consequence of a severe trauma such as falling of a motorcycle. It is an extremely painful condition that needs to be taken care of immediately. If this is the cause for your shoulder and neck pain, believe me you’ll know it.

Bursitis – the bursa is the sac that’s located over the joints and provides cushion between the joint and the muscle. The bursa can become injured, swollen or stiff after some injury and this can cause both neck and shoulder pains.

Headache – sometimes you can feel pain and/or stiffness in your neck and shoulders because of a simple headache. Try to reduce your headache with some pain-killers in order to relax your neck and shoulders.
Other conditions – if you happen to suffer from some other condition or disease while at the same time feeling neck and/or shoulder pains, these pains can be caused by your condition. For example, some conditions of heart, spinal cord and lungs can give you neck and shoulder pains.

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2 Comments

  • This is an excellent article on the causes of neck and shoulder pain.
    Unfortunately, good old fashioned heart break belongs on the list of common causes of neck and shoulder pain. I’ve seen it many times over the years.

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