When Should I Seek Medical Care For Shoulder Or Neck Pain
If pain or other symptoms start to worsen, call your doctor or immediately go to a hospital emergency department.
- For milder cases, basic home care measures are adequate until your doctor can see you.
- In many cases, simple injuries, such as strains and bruises, heal themselves and do not require an office visit.
- For persisting pain in the shoulder or neck, an evaluation by a health care professional is appropriate.
- If you have severe or worsening pain, weakness, numbness, coolness, deformity, or color changes, you should go to a hospital emergency department immediately.
- If you develop a high fever , severe headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, or sweatiness, or if you develop the sudden onset of numbness or weakness, particularly on one side of the body, call 911 for emergency services to go to the nearest emergency department by ambulance.
Ultimate Solution: A Gravity Inversion Table
The ultimate solution to chronic neck pain and stiffness, bad back, and general stress related chronic pain is, of course, the gravity inversion table. The bottom line is, if we have to reduce over-curvature, compression, and tightness in the whole skeleton, this can most easily and pleasantly be achieved in a completely passive way with gentle anti-gravity traction as shown in the next video.
Causes Of Neck And Shoulder Pain
With a neck and shoulder pain combination, the underlying causes can be a wide variety of things, including some that originate in the neck and others that originate in the shoulders. Some of the more common ones include:
One of the most common types of neck and shoulder pain is cervical radiculopathy, in which pain comes from compression or irritation of spinal nerve roots . These nerves travel between the neck vertebrae, through the shoulder, and down the arm.
Also called a clavicle fracture, this is a break of the bone that extends from the top of the sternum to the outer tip of the shoulder blade. Most broken collarbones are the result of falling on the shoulder itself or landing on an outstretched arm.
A bursa is a small sac of of fluid in your joints that acts as a cushion and prevents excessive friction between bone and soft tissues. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, which can happen due to injury, infection, or disease.
Shoulder bursitis can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain in the shoulder joint that can radiate into the neck because of all the common structures and connections.
Shoulder blade injury
Rotator cuff injury
The rotator cuff is made up of the muscles and connective tissues surrounding your shoulder. Together, they keep your arm in the shoulder socket.
Shoulder impingement syndrome
Soft tissue damage
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Stretches To Help A Stiff Neck
The key to relief for a stiff neck is proper stretching and manipulation, Dr. Bang says. Doing slow range-of-motion exercises, up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear, can help to gently stretch the neck muscles. Certain yoga poses can also help ease stiffness.
Here are some other specific stretches you can try at your desk or in the car that may help you avoid a stiff neck:
- Roll your shoulders backwards and down 10 times.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together 10 times.
- Push your head backwards into your car head rest or hands and hold for 30 seconds.
- Bring your ear to your shoulder 10 times on each side.
What Is The Best Pillow Positioning For Neck Pain
Sleep experts recommend either back or side sleeping if you suffer from neck pain. Sleeping on your stomach causes your head to bend at a sharp angle and arches your spine, which puts unwanted pressure on your neck. Strict stomach sleepers should choose a pillow with a low loft to minimize pressure.
For best results, back and side sleepers should ensure that their head, neck, and top of the spine form a straight line. Sleeping with a pillow thats too high or too low can cause aches and pains. Likewise, sleeping with your head rolled to one side or the other is also likely to cause neck pain.
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For Those Who Don’t Like To Look Up
Often we suddenly look up, thereby increasing the over-curvature of the cervical vertebrae even more and begin to look like a vulture. Worse than being unsightly, a partly self-strangulated neck cuts off regular blood supply to the brain. A brain, hungry for blood containing oxygen and energy coming from the heart cannot think properly. Finding it difficult to look up also affects one’s mood, morale, and attitude. Someone who can only look down is a negative person.
Correct head alignment when looking straight ahead and when looking up.
How Does Stress And Anxiety Cause Tension In Your Neck And Shoulders
When you experience a stressful event or a bout of anxiety, your muscles contract, sometimes forcefully. This is an automatic or reflex reaction. Its known as a stress response or fight or flight response.
Its your bodys way of gearing up to face a perceived physical threat that youll need to fight off or run away from. Along with muscle tension, you may also notice other physical symptoms when youre stressed or anxious, such as:
- a fast heart rate
- cold skin
Although your bodys stress response is designed to help you deal with physical threats, your body responds in the same way when the threat isnt physical. Your muscles may tighten up when youre stuck in traffic, dealing with pressure at work, or watching the news.
According to the American Psychological Association , your muscles and other organs may only relax again once the perceived threat has passed.
If stress is ongoing meaning the stressful situation doesnt seem to have a clear end your body may stay in a heightened state of readiness to face a threat. As a result, your muscles may stay tense and tight for much longer than they need to.
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Office Exercise : Wall Squats
Stand with your back against the wall, your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms up in goal post position. Lower your body into a squat, making sure your knees are aligned with your heels and that your back is pressed flat against the wall. Hold, then glide your arms up to straighten and return back to goal post, all while keeping each body part glued to the wall. This requires no equipment, says McGuire, but will strengthen your muscles in your back and shoulders to help keep your head and body tall.
How To Treat Pinched Nerve In Neck And Shoulder
Trigger points occur in the muscle tissue, which means that the first stage of treatment will typically include functional rehabilitation to relieve the symptoms and restore range of motion. The best treatment choice I find is Active Release Technique . ART requires moving the body part, using the right muscle whose primary task is that movement which applying pressure strategically over the area where the muscle is most restricted. This produces a much-needed increase in the range of movement which is necessary to effectively address the dysfunctional movement.
Dysfunctional movement treatment has two parts. The dysfunctional body part that is involved in the movement that needs to work with the rest of the body and the brain part of the movement equation. The mistake is made when we only address the body part, not its cooperation in movement with the rest of the body, and then the correction of the brains blueprint of movement.
The exercise below is a great example of these two concepts used in an exercise addressing both the neck and shoulder.
My blog 3 Must Dos in the Treatment Of Pinched Nerve will also discuss how Ergonomics are involved and what you need to do to address your work space ergonomics. Use my Ergonomic Checklist to make the necessary adjustments to avoid neck and shoulder pinched nerve symptoms.
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Treating Neck And Shoulder Pain
Treatment of neck and shoulder pain depends on the underlying cause.
Heart attack, stroke, and other serious conditions often include emergency treatment. For most other situations, home remedies, physical therapy, and massage will bring improvement.
Some of the more serious situations that may require surgical treatment include:
Why Our Lifestyles Matter Especially Working From Home
Working in an office for long hours is bad enough, but a work from home set-up is even worse. The beauty of working from home is that you can just move from your bed to desk in under 5 minutes, but that doesnt allow much movement for your body. At work, you would normally walk to different areas and even go grab lunch with some coworkers.
Another issue with working from home is that you may have gotten too comfortable and fallen asleep on the couch or spent too long in that one position. Even if youre not working from home most people come home to their couch or bed and relax after a long day. We turn on some entertainment and watch tv series or movies and that puts us into that one spot for the next few hours.
When we get too comfortable we tend to forget about our body until that one morning we wake up and go..
my neck and shoulder feels stiff and tight,
Im having a major headache today,
there is radiating pain from the base of my neck to the base of my shoulders.
Have you called a sickie from this situation before? Comment below and let us know.
I use to say it all the time before I became a qualified Physiotherapist. I know the feeling when I treat a patient so I understand this is a very common issue.
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How Are Neck And Shoulder Pain Diagnosed
- X-rays: Plain X-rays can reveal narrowing of the space between two spinal bones, arthritis-like diseases, tumors, slipped discs, narrowing of the spinal canal, fractures and instability of the spinal column.
- MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging is a noninvasive procedure that can reveal the detail of neural elements, as well as problems with the tendons and ligaments.
- Myelography/CT scanning: This is sometimes used as an alternative to MRI.
- Electrodiagnostic studies: Electromyography and nerve conduction velocity are sometimes used to diagnose neck and shoulder pain, arm pain, numbness and tingling.
Move #: Scalenes Pin & Stretch
The scalene muscles help you inhale, flex your head forward, and rotate side to side.
When the scalene muscles get tight, they can entrap the nerves that pass under them, resulting in numbness, pain, and tingling down the arm into the fingers.
To do the scalenes pin and stretch technique, you first hook your fingertips down onto the scalenes, right in the middle portion of your clavicle bone, thats the collarbone.
Then turn your head toward the fingers to shorten the scalenes, pinning them down with your fingertips. Take a deep breath and inhale, and as you exhale, turn your head away to stretch the scalenes.
Repeat this pin and stretch technique until you reach the end of the clavicle. Then, do the same thing on the opposite side.
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Relief For Neck And Shoulder Pain Caused By Poor Posture
For a quick remedy to your neck and shoulder pain, try a Tiger Balm Pain Relieving Patch. By effectively targeting specific pain areas, these muscle pain patches provide you with long-lasting relief while you work through your daily tasks or sleep. Plus, these flexible hydrogel patches contour to your body and arent greasy, making it convenient to wear underneath any clothing.
Seeking Assistance For Back Shoulder And Neck Pain
While most neck pain during pregnancy is harmless, there are instances where it can be more severe. If you have any doubts about what your back, shoulder, or neck pain could mean then reach out to your doctor. In cases that have the potential to be life threatening, its better to speak with a doctor just to be safe.
If your neck pain is benign but you cant find any relief, your doctor may recommend alternative treatment. Many doctors recommend that you see a chiropractor. Since carrying a child is so stressful on the spine, its easy for a pregnant womans back and neck to fall out of alignment. A trained and experienced chiropractor will help realign the spine to reduce back and neck pain.
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Why Is Neck And Shoulder Pain Such A Problem
Is your posture hunched, bent at the middle or leaning slightly to one side? Far too many of us these days suffer from shoulder and neck pain, so maybe we should have listened to our parents and teachers when they told us to “SIT UP STRAIGHT!” and stop slouching…
We have become a nation of ‘slumpers’, with many of us spending hours hunched in front of computers for work. Plus, in our leisure time, more often than not we are bent over our smartphones or slouched on the couch in front of the TV.
So, it is no wonder our poor shoulders and necks have started to complain! The combination of this slouchy behaviour with factors such as sleeping awkwardly, muscle strain, stress, age and overexertion puts added pressure on our necks and shoulders.
Home Remedy #: Stretches
While youre taking a few days off from aggressive workouts, its a good idea to continue light stretches for your neck and shoulder. Some gentle exercises can help to ease the symptoms more quickly.
For shoulder pain, try rolling your shoulders back and forth. Then, squeeze your shoulder blades together. For neck pain, move your ear slowly from one shoulder to the other. Follow up on this exercise by turning your head from side to side.
When you are performing stretches for neck and shoulder pain, beware of your movements. Make sure you avoid jerky, sudden motions that can aggravate your pain. Move slowly and cautiously in your exercises.
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Other Remedies For Neck & Shoulder Pain Hot Cold And Tens Therapy
Heating pads, ice or cold packs, and TENS Therapy are natural ways to get relief from neck and shoulder pain. A general rule of thumb suggests choosing different therapies based on how long youve been experiencing pain.
Use cold for recent neck or shoulder pain
During the first six weeks after a fresh injury, experts recommend applying ice to help reduce inflammation and pain. Ice packs, cold sprays, and/or cold gels are great options to relieve acute swelling.
Use heat for chronic aches and pains
Heat encourages blood flow and helps relax tight muscles. This type of therapy can be introduced six weeks after an injury, and also works best for lingering aches and pains. Make sure your heat therapy isnt too hot. Try:
- Heating pads
How To Relieve Neck And Shoulder Pain And Achieve A Weightless Nights Sleep
Heres a confession for you I cannot remember a day when I didnt have sore, tight shoulders and an aching neck. Working from a laptop every day has naturally had a negative impact on my posture. And, whenever Im stressed, I have a habit of tensing my shoulders, which ultimately leads to neck pain .
Im not out here looking for sympathy. Because I know that Im not the only one who is constantly plagued by tight muscles, knotty shoulders and a stiff neck. These aches and pains are very much part and parcel with our current, technology-centric lifestyles.
And, lets face it, as draining as neck and shoulder pain can be, no one is willing to completely cut back on their screen time. So, in place of saying never sit at a desk / stop working at a computer screen, here are some more practical ways to ease aching muscles
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Neck Pain And Pregnancy Hormones
When a womans body becomes pregnant, and as it nears delivery, many hormones are released to help relax ligaments throughout the body. This change contributes to an easier labor, however can make getting comfortable quite the task. As ligaments, muscles, and joints become more flexible to make room for the growing baby, they need more support.
As the back and neck fight to accommodate the change in center of gravity, they are required to support more weight than they are used to. This additional weight combined with the change in center of gravity can put a large amount of strain on the back and neck. Muscles become sore as they balance the changes that have occurred.
A pregnant womans body under strain from the changes shes experiencing due to the pregnancy. This also makes everyday tasks more challenging and difficult. Movements that were painless before may now cause discomfort. The stress of daily activities can leave a pregnant woman feeling more exhausted and sore than she would otherwise be if she were not expecting. However, with the proper support, some of this pain can be reduced and prevented.
When Neck And Shoulder Pain Indicate A Problem
There are instances during pregnancy where neck and shoulder pain could indicate a serious problem. In the early weeks of pregnancy, severe neck and shoulder pain could indicate an ectopic pregnancy. If you suspect this could be a possibility then its important to seek medical attention right away. Most ectopic pregnancies arent diagnosed until the mother notices excessive pain or bleeding. Its important to see your doctor right away as an untreated ectopic pregnancy can quickly become life threatening.
Preeclampsia is another problem that presents with shoulder and neck pain during pregnancy. This is also a serious condition that can lead to death for mothers and their unborn children. Complications from preeclampsia and eclampsia occur in approximately 25% of all pregnancies. It is extremely dangerous to both mother and child and requires immediate medical attention.
Meningitis can also present with neck pain. It is an inflammatory disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis typically presents with a headache, fever, and stiffness in the neck. Meningitis is caused by a number of infections such as listeriosis. It is dangerous to both mother and child.
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