Most Causes of Shoulder And Neck Pain Have a Simple Explanation

Shoulder and neck pain can be categorized in many different ways; pain in both regions can occur simultaneously while on other occasions the pain may be felt on just the shoulder, or just on the neck. It is sensible for one to consult a doctor or other health professional to conduct proper investigations into the pain as failing to do so may only lead to a worsening of the pain over time.

Diagram of the Spine and Slipped DiscNeck Pain Causes

As we all know, the neck is the fragile area joining the head with the rest of the body. It encapsulates the spinal cord that is strategically situated within the neck and many sensitive nerves also pass through this region. The wind pipe and food pipe are also within the neck, and this relatively small area is therefore very instrumental in the structural performance of the entire body system. Neck pain has a number of causes as discussed below:


Trauma to the neck may be the result of many things such as falls, road traffic accidents, fighting or sporting inuries. Most victims of neck trauma suffer in varying degrees from recurrent neck pain, memory lapse, vertebral injury and spinal cord vascular disease.

Joint or Bone Abnormalities

Changes of the joint and bone from various musculoskeletal conditions may result in muscle contraction and spasticity thus radiating out and affecting the spine and all lower joints within the neck area.

Muscle Strain

A muscle strain may be caused by work-out sessions that the neck tissue is not accustomed to, and injury to the tendon or muscle may cause a tear due to stretching a muscle too far. The likelihood of this occurring may be exacerbated by not properly warming up prior to exercise.

Poor Habitual Postures

Sleeping, sitting and standing postures that are strenuous on the neck joints and tissues may trigger spasmodic pain which grows over time. Sitting at the computer or in the car for long periods is a prime trigger for neck pain, as many people subconsciously stoop or lean forward when sat down, thus stretching the neck muscles and causing chronic neck pain.

More Serious Degenerative Diseases

Before you read this please don’t assume that you necessarily have a more serious condition, these are a lot more unlikely than the simple causes of neck pain that we listed above. We are simply listing these conditions so you are aware of the full range of possible causes of pain.

A degenerative disease is one that results in the partial or complete deterioration of the structure or functioning of the tissues affected; common diseases that fall into this category are Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease for example.

A Tumor Within the Neck Area

Tumors are the abnormal division and growth of tissue cells, causing a competitive strain on space, hence causing localised pain within the region.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint that facilitates movement in the lower and upper arm, and since it is a mobile joint it is more prone to injury. The root causes of shoulder pain are as follows:

Over Exertion Strains

These are mostly caused by tearing or stretching of a ligament – otherwise known as strains. Rapidly increasing workouts will leave you with a high chance of causing a strain.


Tendonitis is an injury caused by overuse, such as when a person commences on a new exercise or activity, he or she is required to progress gradually as the muscles adapt to this new change. A rushed progression of upper body activity causes an irritation on the tendon and thus shoulder pain.

Instability of the Shoulder Joint and Shoulder Dislocation

Strenuous activities and accidents may de-stabilise the shoulder joint, dislocating it and potentially resulting in detached tendons and tissues. If you experience pain as severe as this it is unlikely that you will be searching the web to find out the cause of your agony!

Fractures on the collar bone or upper arm bone perhaps due to accidents or sporting injuries are a major cause attributed to most shoulder pains and aches.

Lastly on the causes of pain is a frozen or stiff shoulder and radiculopathy, commonly known as pinched nerves. Both conditions make shoulder movement almost impossible and very painful.

Immediately you notice any unbearable pain within your shoulder or neck you should seek medical attention to eliminate any potential serious causes or complications. 99% of the time it will have  a simple explanation, however you can never be too prudent. If further investigation of your neck or shoulder is deemed appropriate, a thorough diagnosis of the pain can be completed with an X-ray, MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Myelographe or CT scanning and Electromyography.

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