A hurting shoulder may not indicate an issue with the shoulder. A painful neck, on the other hand, may not indicate a neck condition. People may present with shoulder discomfort when they have a neck issue. Neck pain, on the other hand, can conceal a shoulder issue. Here’s how to determine the difference between a sore neck and a painful shoulder, as well as treatment alternatives.
Shoulder & Neck discomfort
The way the body reports pain is a little shaky. Some people refer to neck and shoulder discomfort as ‘shneck’ pain since they frequently overlap.
Because several neural channels go through the neck and shoulder, they are inextricably linked. When an injury happens, the brain isn’t always able to track pain circuits back to their source, so what we’re feeling may not be accurate.
When the suspect is the shoulder
Consumption of pain o soma gives a unique experience of pain free shoulder. An injury to the rotator cuff, a bundle of tendons and muscles that support the joint, is the most common cause of shoulder discomfort. The rotator cuff deteriorates with age and is susceptible to injury. When this happens, we adjust by picking objects up or reaching for them with alternative muscles. This might result in shoulder and neck discomfort. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have a rotator cuff injury or another shoulder condition.
- Develops on the outside of your upper arm or in the shoulder.
- Is drab and achy.
- When you reach aloft or behind your back, or when you lift, something happens.
- Radiates up the upper arm but not beyond the elbow.
- At night, it persists.
- When you rest your arm, it improves.
When the neck is most likely to be the source of the problem
Neck discomfort can be caused by inflammation of any of the 14 nerves or eight pairs of joints in the neck. The joints, also known as vertebrae, act as a hinge, allowing us to nod or shake our heads during a discussion (no wonder they wear out). Up to 70% of people over the age of 65 may have symptomatic arthritis in one or more neck joints.
Because discomfort in one location might be mistaken for pain in another, a full examination is required, which includes a range of motion testing, strength testing, and provocative neck and shoulder motions. If you experience neck pain that is caused by arthritis or nerves, you may have arthritis or nerve-related neck discomfort.
- Radiates from your shoulder blade to the side of your neck or near to it.
- Electric, stabbing, burning, or tingling sensations.
- Radiates all the way down to your elbow, and even into your hand.
- At repose, it persists.
- When you stretch or twist your neck, it radiates down your arm.
- When you stabilize your neck, it feels better.
A comprehensive physical examination of your neck and shoulder should be done by a professional. They may inject lidocaine (a local anesthetic) into the shoulder or the joints or nerves of the neck to aid in diagnosis. This diagnostic test helps guide therapy because if it eliminates pain, it reveals where the issues are. Conservative methods are generally tried first, whether the issue is in your neck or shoulder.
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Five strategies to alleviate shoulder discomfort
- Resting from pain-inducing activities.
- Exercises in physical therapy
- Using an ice pack on the shoulder, especially at night.
- Medications that reduce inflammation.
- Injections of cortisone to alleviate shoulder soreness.
If these methods don’t work, you could require an MRI of your shoulder. Shoulder surgery may be required if the rotator cuff is torn. A full neurological examination, as well as imaging and another testing, will be performed by spine specialists. They’ll also start with cautious treatment.
Four techniques to alleviate neck discomfort
- To improve range of motion and strength, try physical therapy or yoga.
- Muscle relaxants and/or anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Ice, heat, and massage treatment are all options.
- Cortisone injections or local anesthetics can be used to decrease inflammation or alleviate pain.
Shoulder and neck discomfort are causes
Neck discomfort is frequently caused by nerve irritation and compression. Carrying heavy bags and spending hours slumped over computers, as well as falls and automobile accidents, can aggravate the nerves in your neck. Other typical causes include degenerative disorders such as arthritis and spinal stenosis. Even simple things like sleeping on an unsupportive mattress can lead to persistent neck discomfort.
Shoulders aren’t the same as the rest of the body. The rotator cuff, a ring of cartilage that keeps your shoulder stable, is involved in a lot of shoulder discomfort. Another typical source of discomfort is frozen shoulder, which is caused by persistent inflammation. Your shoulder, like your neck, can develop arthritis in the primary joint or where the shoulder meets the neck.
Don’t put off seeing a doctor if you have chronic discomfort in your shoulder, neck, or both. Having a neck or shoulder expert assess your concerns will help you pinpoint the source of your discomfort and get you started on the right therapy.