With 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain, there are many people who struggle with neck and shoulder issues. While some of these issues can be traced directly to tears and strains in the neck and shoulders, some of it is due to other issues. Getting to know the causes of neck and shoulder pain can reveal other serious conditions.
Illnesses and viruses attack everybody in a unique way. Diet, exercise, and age can all determine how your body will react when you get sick. Feeling pain in your neck or shoulder could be the result of a breakdown somewhere else in your body.
If you're experiencing persistent neck and shoulder pain, you should take that feeling seriously. Here are 8 potential conditions that could be linked to the pain that may have mysteriously appeared.
One of the most common reasons that people feel neck and shoulder pain is damage to soft tissues. Strains and sprains to your muscles, ligaments, and tendons can be caused by anything ranging from a car accident to sleeping in a strange position.
Thankfully, most soft tissue damage resolves itself in a week or so. If the issue persists for longer, see a medical professional. Tissue that doesn't repair itself in a week or so might need medical attention.
For some people, a massage can be helpful. Have a friend or a partner rub it a little before you schedule a massage, as it might be too painful for a professional one.
The tendons that support your shoulder allow your muscles to be flexible and move in a wide range of positions. Damage to these tendons can cause neck or shoulder pain.
If you spend a lot of time lifting heavy objects, notably on one side more than another, you could end up with an injury to your rotator cuff. This is a common injury for people who play tennis as well.
Movement can become limited because of the pain and some people describe this feeling as "frozen shoulder". If you feel this pain for more than a week, seek out a medical professional for a complete diagnosis.
If you break your collarbone or your shoulder blade, you could feel severe pain when you move your neck or shoulder. If you were recently in a vehicle or bicycle accident, you should get an x-ray to make sure your shoulder and neck aren't fractured.
A doctor or an experienced medical professional can take a look at your x-rays and let you know what they see. A break of this type will mean you'll have to maintain limited mobility and possibly wear a brace while it heals.
Many professional athletes suffer a tear in their labrum during their professional career. This soft cartilage that wraps the edge of the shoulder keeps it stable while allowing for mobility.
You don't have to be a professional to deal with this issue.
Nearly half of men and women in their middle-age deal with this from years of normal arm usage. These tears often have no symptoms, leaving people totally oblivious to their issue for several years. They often are triggered by a very specific motion across their chest or to scratch an itch.
Many instances of bodily wear and tear can cause neck and shoulder pain. Degenerative forms of arthritis occur when cartilage around your bones is worn down. When this happens in the joints connecting your shoulder and neck, this can cause inflammation and soreness.
If you're of an advanced age or have a high risk of arthritis, check with your doctor to see if you're suffering from this issue. If you have a high risk and fear of this occurring, make sure to take supplements that support muscle and cartilage growth. Exercise and build up your strength to mitigate wear and tear.
Following an accident or repetitive awkward motions, you could feel neck or shoulder pain connected to your nerves. If you feel pain, numbness, or weakness that is accompanied by the same feeling in extremities, you could have a trapped nerve.
Pain in your neck or shoulder that occurs simultaneously to pain in arms, hands, and fingers are a sign of a nerve that's pinched or trapped.
There is a long list of symptoms that are associated with the flu. Mild cases can cause simple cold-like feelings that bring muscle aches and pains along with them.
If you're feeling neck and shoulder pain along with cold symptoms, you could be suffering from early stages of the flu. While your body fights off the infection caused by the flu, it can lead to inflammation in your joints.
Treat your flu while you feel symptoms for that. If the other issues persist, see a doctor about what could be wrong with your neck and shoulder.
If you took a nasty spill in a sports contest or got into an accident, you could partially dislocate your shoulder. If you put too much pressure on the ball of the joint in your shoulder, your shoulder could slip out of its socket.
Dislocation exists more or less on a continuum so don't panic if you fear this is the case. If your shoulder feels loose, contact a doctor immediately.
Don't try to have someone fix it like in the movies. Popping your shoulder back into place will reduce pain but may not reset it entirely.
Depending on how severe your pain is and what may have caused it, your pain could fix itself. However, a dull soreness that increases over time should be looked at. Listen to your body and seek medical help if you don't feel things getting better.
If you have more questions about what your neck and shoulder pain could mean, contact us for information.