What is neck and shoulder pain?
Neck and shoulders contain bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, arteries, and many other supporting structures. Any injury or damage to any of these can inflict intense pain in the neck and shoulders. In most cases, the underlying condition that causes pain is not dangerous, such as muscle strains, contusions, etc. However, in a few cases, the reason can be serious and life-threatening, such as trauma or heart disease.
Neck and shoulder pain causes
Here, we will look at some of the most common neck and shoulder pain causes.
The common cause is the damage or injury to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissues within the neck and shoulder.
- Degenerative Arthritis: This is a common form of arthritis that affects the spine, hands, feet, hips, and knees and is one of the most common neck and shoulder pain causes. The condition can sometimes pinch the nerves, resulting in neck, and shoulder pain.
- Degenerative disc disease: This is one of the initial signs of neck arthritis, which affects the shock absorbing cushions located between the spinal bones. The condition can often lead to incessant pain in the shoulder and neck.
- Broken collarbone: Falling down over the weight of your arm can cause a broken collarbone. This condition is most common in athletic cyclers.
- Broken shoulder blade: A major trauma can at times result in an injury to the shoulder blade.
- Bursitis: A bursa is a small sac, located over the joints to provide them with adequate cushioning. In case of injuries, this sac may get stiff or swollen, causing neck, and shoulder pain.
- Heart attack: During a heart attack, most people experience intense pain in their neck and shoulders. This pain is known as “referred” pain.
- Tendonitis: This is a condition in which the tendons, which connect the muscles to the bones, get stiff or swollen.
- Rotator cuff injuries: Rotator cuff is a collection of tendons, which support the shoulder. Sometimes, during heavy lifting or playing sports, these tendons get injured, causing pain. If not treated, this can lead to chronic loss of motion of the shoulder, a condition called frozen shoulder.
- Shoulder or A-C separation: The shoulder blade and collarbone are linked together through ligaments. Any injury or trauma can tear these ligaments and cause pain.
- Gallbladder disease: Gallbladder disease can also cause a pinching pain in the right shoulder.
These are some of the most common neck and shoulder pain causes. Mild cases of pain usually do not require professional medical help. But if you experience severe pain along with weakness, fever, numbness, headache or chest pain, immediate medical consultation is advisable.