What Are The Causes Of Neck And Shoulder Pain?


“Pain in the neck” is a metaphor that people commonly use when referring to something that’s an annoyance or inconvenience. But it’s also a very real physical pain that can cause extreme discomfort. Likewise, pain in the shoulder can be just as physically debilitating – and it’s often rooted in the same causes and conditions.

Causes (in common) of Neck and Shoulder Pain

There are a variety of issues that can cause neck and shoulder pain, many of which are both physical and psychological (such as stress). Physical factors could include prolonged sitting, working in the same position for a long time, repetitive tasks, working with vibrating tools, and prolonged use of computers.

Studies have shown that office workers who spend more than 70 percent of their time working with their neck bent forward at an angle of 20 degrees or more are at an increased risk for neck and/or shoulder pain. Similarly, workers who sit for more than 95 percent of their working time have twice the risk for neck and/or shoulder pain.

People may also experience neck and shoulder pain due to mental stress caused by demanding jobs or personal issues including family matters, school or generalized anxiety.

In addition to the factors that are common to both neck and shoulder pain, there are separate issues that can cause problems in each. These include:

Unique Causes of Neck Pain

  • Abnormalities in the bone or joints
  • Trauma
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Tumors

Unique Causes of Shoulder Pain

  • Tendonitis from overuse or overexertion
  • Shoulder joint instability
  • Dislocation
  • Collar or upper arm bone fractures
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Pinched nerves

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you’ve been suffering from persistent neck and/or shoulder pain, there are several options your doctor can use to properly diagnose the cause – including X-rays, an MRI,
CT scan, or an electrodiagnostic study, which is sometimes used to assess the health of muscles and nerve cells.

Depending on the severity of your diagnosis, your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, muscle relaxers or even antidepressants. Other treatments may include the local application of moist heat or ice, corticosteroid injections, and physical therapy. In cases where nerve roots or the spinal cord are involved, a surgical procedure may be necessary.

There’s no reason to continue suffering from a pain in the neck – or a pain in the shoulder. Contact your us today to find the best course of action for you!


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