Common Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain
The neck and shoulders are resplendent with many small, but critical anatomical structures. To say the least, this is one complex area we’re talking about.
And with such complexity comes the risk for pain, injury, degenerative situation, and restricted movement.
Types of Problems That Affect the Neck and Shoulders
Often, a lesion in the cervical spine is what lurks beneath your upper body pain. A degenerative or herniated disc, spinal arthritis, soft tissue damage following a whiplash incident, poor posture from sitting or standing at a computer, or rare conditions such as infection, tumors, or cysts are all known to reason pain and dysfunction.
If you have shoulder pain without neck pain, you may be dealing with bursitis, rotator cuff tear, impingement, or frozen shoulder.
Neck Problems That Cause Shoulder Pain
The cervical spine, which is the area of your spinal column that corresponds to your neck, is made up of seven fairly small, highly mobile bones, plus attaching ligaments, muscles, shock-absorbing discs and more. Because of the size and complexity of these interrelated moving pieces, the neck is vulnerable to wear and tear situation such as arthritis, as well as to injury and postural misalignments.
Cervical Spine Conditions That Cause Radiculopathy
Cervical spondylosis, aka neck arthritis, may involve the formation of bone spurs right where you don’t need them, which is in the intervertebral foramina discussed above. This usually occurs in a later phase of the condition, and at that point is known as spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis, a progressed form of spinal arthritis, happens when the spaces in the spine, i.e. the spinal canal and the intervertebral foramen become narrowed. Because stenosis is arthritis-related, the narrowing is generally due to some type of extra bone growth in the area that encroaches on the space. This can result in contact between the new bone and the spinal nerve root, causing the radiculopathy discussed earlier.
Shoulder Problems That May Cause Neck Pain
Shoulder pain you experience may actually be referred from your neck in other areas, based on what’s going on in your body systems. Issues involving your heart, lungs, abdominal organs and/or your spinal cord can all be the originators of the shoulder and sometimes neck pain. For this reason, it’s essential to take symptoms seriously and speak with your medical provider as soon as you can after experiencing neck or shoulder pain.
- Shoulder bursitis can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain, especially if you injure the area. Like many other injuries and conditions, bursitis doesn’t discriminate between neck and shoulders, which mean pain, may happen in either area.
- An injury to the shoulder blade, including fracture of this bone, usually is associated with forceful trauma.
Soft Tissue and Posture
The conditions and injuries listed above focused mainly on bone-hard tissue and structures in the joints. But let’s not forget about soft tissue. The situation of your soft tissue can have a big effect on your pain and functionality levels.
Soft tissue includes muscles, ligaments, and fascia, a covering around muscles responsible for our upright integrity, tendons and more.