Millions of people across America suffer every day from pain in the shoulders or the neck. This pain and discomfort affects everyday life – you find it difficult to work, to relax, to exercise, and to sleep. The pain may be localized in one area or can spread out in spasms throughout the upper body. There are many different reasons why you experience neck or shoulder pain. Finding out the causes of this common condition will help you avoid the discomfort in the future.
Trauma Causes of Shoulder and Neck Pain
It is relatively easy to damage the muscles or the ligaments in the neck and those surrounding the shoulder joint. The shoulder is highly mobile and the neck is also flexible – too much pressure, too suddenly, causes injury.
1. Whiplash. You suffer intense pain, or long-lasting, dull pain, when you are involved in a road traffic accident, or any other situation where your neck is snapped back and forwards. Whiplash is the result of stretching and irritation to the muscles, ligaments and discs in the upper body. You will suffer pain that can be relieved with a brief period of immobilization, followed by treatments like massage, heat and cold treatments, and pain medication.
2. Sports injuries. You can damage your shoulder through dislocation or intense sprain when you exercise too much or by putting excessive pressure on the joints. Again, this can be resolved with massage, mobilization exercises, and icepacks.
Postural Causes of Pain
3. Poor posture. Improperly distributed weight through bad posture puts excessive pressure on the shoulder muscles and can irritate the joints and nerves. Poor posture can also lead to a pinched nerve and subsequent pain. The best treatment for postural related pain is to resolve the posture problem – seek advice about how to sit and stand correctly so you don’t put too much pressure on the delicate structures of your neck and shoulders.
Other Reasons for Neck and Shoulder Pain
4. Osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis often affects the neck, causing pain and stiffness. While arthritis cannot be cured, you can relieve some of the pain through soft-tissue massage, gentle low-impact exercise, and a healthy diet.
5. Wry neck. This condition is caused by a number of factors including a bad sleeping position, viral infections, jerking the head and neck, or carrying an unbalanced load. Wry neck can be treated with massage as well as heat pads.