Neck and Shoulder Pain
Your neck and shoulders work hard every day.
Neck pain is almost a universal human experience. The slightest deviation in the relationship between the bones of the cervical spine can cause pain and limit head and neck mobility. Research shows that chiropractic treatments and other non-surgical intervention can relieve neck pain more effectively than any pain medication. Spinal manipulation and/or chiropractic neck adjustments have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of neck pain, regardless of the cause.
Your shoulder is made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle). Because the shoulder is several joints that combine with tendons and muscles to allow a wide range of motion in the arm, there are many chances for instability or impingement of the soft tissue or bony structures, resulting in pain.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
- Muscle strains. Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.
- Worn joints. Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to wear down with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cushions (cartilage) between your bones (vertebrae) to deteriorate. Your body then forms bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.
- Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
- Injuries. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury, which occurs when the head is jerked backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is a relatively common injury occurring to a person’s neck following any sudden jolt of force. The injury can describe both bone structure and soft tissue damage.
- Diseases. Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can cause neck pain.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
Most shoulder problems fall into four major categories:
- Tendon inflammation (bursitis or tendinitis) or tendon tear
- Fracture (broken bone)
Rotator Cuff Disease: Tendinitis and Bursitis
In tendinitis of the shoulder, tendons become inflamed (red, sore, and swollen) from being pinched by parts around the shoulder. Bursitis occurs when the bursa—a small fluid-filled sac that helps protect the shoulder joint—is inflamed.
The symptoms of rotator cuff tendinitis tend to get worse over time. Initial symptoms may be relieved with rest, but the symptoms can later become constant. Symptoms that go past the elbow usually indicate another problem.
Arthritis can be one of two types:
- Osteoarthritis—a disease caused by wear and tear of the cartilage.
- Rheumatoid arthritis—an autoimmune disease causing one or more joints to become inflamed.
Rotator Cuff Tear
Rotator cuff tendons can become inflamed from frequent use or aging. Sometimes they are injured from a fall on an outstretched hand. Sports or jobs with repeated overhead motion can also damage the rotator cuff. Aging causes tendons to wear down, which can lead to a tear.
Dislocation occurs when the ball at the top of the bone in the upper arm pops out of the socket. It can happen if the shoulder is twisted or pulled very hard.
A shoulder separation occurs when the ligaments between the collarbone and the shoulder blade are torn. The injury is most often caused by a blow to the shoulder or by falling on an outstretched hand.
A fracture is a crack through part or all of a bone. In the shoulder, a fracture usually involves the collarbone or upper arm bone.