Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulder pain occurring together, can prove quite troublesome for any individual. This article discusses some aspects of neck and shoulder pain.
Our body is a complex system and its working too is quite complicated. It consists of several bones, muscles and ligaments, which are directly or indirectly connected with each other. Therefore, damage to any of these interconnected bones and muscles, leads to pain and problems in multiple areas of the body. Neck and shoulder pain is an example of such interconnected pain. In the advanced segments of our discussion, we are going to elaborate on neck and shoulder pain, discussing its causes and the overview of its treatment measures.

Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulders can be figured out as some of the supporting structures of the human body. These contain bones, muscles, ligaments, tissues and veins which are linked with each other. There are many conditions that lead to neck and shoulder pain. Some of the most common ones are mentioned below.

Well, the most common cause of neck and shoulder pain is injury. An injury of a severe type, either to the neck or the shoulder, or both of them can lead to pain in both the areas. However, the intensity of pain depends upon the severity of the injury.

Bursa is cushioning sac which enables efficient and smooth movements of the joints and the muscles. Swelling in the bursa can lead to bursitis, which can further stimulate pain and inflammation in the neck and shoulder area.

Injury to the Rotator Cuff
Our shoulder consists of an important part called rotator cuff. Due to excessive stress on the shoulders through physical activities, the rotator cuff can get injured and therefore, if the injury is of a serious nature, then it could stimulate pain the shoulder and neck region.

Structural Abnormalities
Sometimes, there would not be any injury, damage or fracture to neck and shoulder muscles, yet one can experience neck and shoulder pain. Well, the reason behind such a pain could be, structural abnormalities in the positioning of muscles, bones, ligaments and other essential parts of the neck and shoulder region. Problems such as, structural abnormalities can lead to neck and shoulder pain after sleeping.

The neck and shoulder region also consists of tendons, which act as connecting channels between the muscles and the bones. Tendons get damaged on account of excessive or overuse of the muscles for heavy exercises and activities alike. This could trigger swelling and thereby lead to pain and inflammation in the individual, which would further develop tendonitis.

Degenerative Arthritis
Degenerative arthritis can occur in the cervical spine (spine of the neck). This condition can lead to pinching of nerves, which could trigger neck and shoulder pain, either separately or at the same time. Damage to the shoulder blade can also cause shoulder and neck pain.

Other Causes
Heart attacks, disorders associated with lungs and spinal cord, dislocation of bones and muscles (either permanent or temporary), improper positioning while sleeping, stress, etc. can also be figured out as some other causes of neck and shoulder pain, stiffness and discomfort.

Treatment Options

Neck and shoulder pain can be irritating as well as troublesome. Therefore, treating it is necessary to avoid complications such as, permanent dislocation of joints and muscles, aggravation of damage, etc. Physical therapy is one of the most effective treatment measures for neck and shoulder pain relief. This includes, neck and shoulder pain exercises, which help in alleviating the pain and also prevent future occurrences of such a pain. However, performing the exercises regularly and frequently is necessary in order to get relieved of the pain. Despite physical therapy being an effective treatment, it is not the only one. In fact, there are many other remedial measures and the treatment largely depends on the underlying cause. In many cases, pain killers or anti-inflammatory medications are taken, however, a doctor's prescription is necessary before opting in for any of the remedial measures.

This was just an overview of the causes and treatment measures of neck and shoulder pain. Be it a mild or a sharp pain, medical intervention is necessary, as the causes of neck and shoulder pain differ from person to person and so do the related treatments.
By Ujwal Deshmukh
Last Updated: 9/20/2011
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