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What Can Cause Neck And Shoulder Pain

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What Types Of Headache Are Serious Or Dangerous

Is Your Shoulder Pain Coming From Your Neck or Shoulder? How to Tell.

All headaches are unpleasant and some, such as headache from medication misuse, are serious in the sense that when not tackled properly they may never go away. However, a few headaches are signs of serious underlying problems. These are uncommon in many cases very rare.

Dangerous headaches tend to occur suddenly, and to become progressively worse over time. They are more common in older people. They include the following:

Why Chronic Neck Pain Should Never Be Ignored

    Neck pain is one of the most common medical complaints among both women and men, and thanks to an increasing use of computers and mobile phones for just about any activity under the sun, those complaints are becoming more common. Lots of factors can contribute to neck pain, including spending hours hunched over electronics.

    Sometimes, neck pain is a minor nuisance that can be remedied with a few lifestyle changes and maybe some gentle stretching. But other times, chronic neck pain can be a sign of a more serious issue thats just not going to clear up on its own. Unless youre a doctor, it can be difficult to tell when persistent neck pain is due to minor strain and when its being caused by a serious underlying problem that needs immediate care. Heres why chronic neck pain shouldnt be ignored and how the chiropractors at Premier Spine Institute can help you find welcome relief.

    Ways To Relieve Pain From A Neck Problem

  • Physical therapy or yoga to increase range of motion and strength.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications and /or muscle relaxants.
  • Ice, heat and massage therapy.
  • Injection of cortisone to reduce inflammation or local anesthetics to relieve pain.
  • Whether you have chronic pain in your shoulder, your neck or both, dont wait to see an expert. Having a neck or shoulder specialist evaluate your complaints will determine where the main problem is and will get you started on the correct treatment, says Dr. Ricchetti.

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    What Are Neck Pain Symptoms

    Other than neck pain itself, you may notice other symptoms that accompany the pain. Some of the more common symptoms of neck pain include:

    • Neck muscle stiffness: Tight muscles in the back of the head or a muscle knot in the neck. This may spread to your shoulders, upper back and arms.
    • Headache: Experiencing headaches in the occipital region is very common but can also extend to the top of the head, causing “tension” headaches from muscle tightness.
    • Pain and/or weakness that shoots down the arm: This may be caused by muscle fatigue or nerve compression. Very often along specific nerve roots .
    • Loss of neck mobility: Inability to turn your head and neck easily.
    • Paraesthesias: A sensation of numbness and/or tingling in the arms, most often caused by nerve compression at the level of the spine, or as the branching nerves pass through tight, inflamed muscles.

    If your neck pain is caused by nerve compression, you may experience the following symptoms:

    • Weakness in the shoulder, arm or hand
    • A feeling of numbness or pins and needles in arm, fingers or hand
    • Sharp, burning pain near the pinched nerve that radiates outward

    Some conditions, such as coronary artery disease or even lung tumors may mimic these conditions, notes Stewart G. Eidelson, MD. It is best to have a skilled physician perform a thorough physical examination when the symptoms described are present, he says.

    What Is The Cervical Spine


    The cervical spine is the neck region of your spinal column. It’s made up of seven small, highly mobile bones, and their associated ligaments, muscles, and shock-absorbing discs.

    Anything that aggravates or comes into contact with your spinal nerve roots can lead to radiculopathy, and that includes several common conditions in which growths or abnormalities cause something to invade the space of the nerve root.

    • Herniated disc: The shock-absorbing discs between vertebrae can become damaged and may develop a bulge and/or leak fluid.
    • Synovial cyst: These lumps are caused by a buildup of joint fluid that forms a sac.
    • Bone spur: An extra bit of bone forms in response to damage or chronic inflammation.
    • Cervical spondylosis : This condition involves the formation of bone spurs in the neck.
    • Spinal stenosis: An advanced stage of spinal arthritis, stenosis occurs when the spaces in the spine become narrowed, usually due to excess bone growth.
    • Degenerative disc disease : Discs between vertebrae erode and fray over time, which may cause a herniated disc. In cases of severe degeneration, bone-on-bone contact can cause bone spurs in the joint.

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    How Are Back And Neck Pain Treated

    In many cases, acute back or neck pain may simply improve with some rest. Over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also help with the discomfort. Try to move gently during this period, so that you won’t become stiff and lose mobility.

    If you have chronic pain of your back and neck, try several remedies before considering surgery. These include:

    • Hot or cold packs as advised by your healthcare provider
    • Certain exercises to strengthen back and belly muscles and ease pain, such as stretching and flexing. Your healthcare provider can show you these exercises. Physical therapy can also help you find the correct exercises.
    • Aerobic exercise may help with your overall fitness and strength.
    • Certain anti-inflammatory medicines or muscle relaxants may be used, as advised by your provider.
    • Sometimes your provider may suggest a brace or corset for extra support.
    • Shots for pain relief in the area
    • Nerve block. This eases pain signals from the affected nerve.
    • Acupuncture
    • Osteopathic manipulation

    Pain Between Shoulder Blades: Causes Symptoms And Treatments

    Experiencing some kind of pain between the shoulder blades may not seem like a very serious experience. You may have had a rough sleep that night or maybe worked out a bit too hard, so you immediately think that the pain must be a result of some kind of physical stress or activity.

    Though it is possible for upper back pain between the shoulder blades to simply be related to muscles, there are instances when it can be much worse. Your facet joints could be swollen, you can have a herniated disc, or the pain in-between your shoulders could actually be something called biliary colic. If this is the case, its potentially very serious. A gallstone blocking one of your bodys bile ducts is what initiates the pain and leads to this condition.

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    How Do I Get Rid Of Gas Pain In Chest And Shoulder

    Pain in the shoulder due to gas can be annoying and even disabling sometimes. Taking a muscle relaxant might not do the trick. So, how to get gas pain in shoulder relief.

    There are multiple strategies that you can try. The goal of these strategies is to prevent the accumulation of gas in your abdomen. Some of the techniques also help to reduce the gas that is already trapped in your gut.

    The strategies that we share here can be used for trapped gas even if it does not affect your shoulders. For example, they can help if you have upper back pain due to gas.

    Treating Neck And Shoulder Pain

    Is neck instability causing your 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:

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    Posture And Sleeping Position

    Holding your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged time can lead to strains in the muscles and tendons of your neck and shoulders.

    Some of the postures and activities that commonly contribute to neck and shoulder pain are:

    • sleeping on too high a pillow or a stack of pillows
    • grinding or clenching your teeth at night
    • sitting at a computer or over a phone with your neck strained forward or tilted up
    • suddenly jerking your neck during exercise

    Gallstones Or Enlarged Gallbladder

    Pain in your right shoulder can be a sign of a gallstone blocking a duct in your gallbladder. You may also feel pain in your back between your shoulder blades. The pain may be sudden and sharp.

    You may or may not feel the more common symptoms of gallstones or gallbladder inflammation. These are:

    • sudden pain in your upper right abdomen
    • pain in the center of your abdomen, below your breast bone
    • nausea or vomiting

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    What Is Back And Neck Pain

    Back pain can range from a mild, dull, annoying ache to persistent, severe, disabling pain. Pain in your back can limit your ability to move. It can interfere with normal functioning and quality of life. Always talk with your healthcare provider if you have persistent pain.

    Neck pain occurs in the area of the cervical vertebrae in your neck. Because of its location and range of motion, your neck is often left unprotected and at risk for injury.

    Pain in your back or neck area can come on suddenly and intensely. Chronic pain lasts for weeks, months, or even years. The pain can be constant or come and go.

    Will I Need Surgery For Neck Pain

    4 Most Common Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain

    Most patients with neck pain respond well to non-surgical treatments, so cervical spine surgery is seldom needed to treat it. In fact, less than 5% of neck pain patients need surgery.

    Surgery is typically a last resort, explains Dr. Penhollow, unless its an acute disc herniation compression on the spinal cord where its a neurosurgical emergency, such as when someone experiences loss of bowel or bladder control, or extreme weakness in the limbs where decompression of the cord is imperative.

    You may need cervical spine surgery if:

    • Non-surgical treatment is not helping. That is, youve tried a combination of medication, chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage, exercises, and more, and youre still in pain.
    • Your pain is worsening. A pinched nerve in your neck called cervical radiculopathy can lead to pain, numbness, and weakness in your shoulders or down your arms. If your pain is worsening, surgery can remove the source of pressure on your nerves .
    • Your spinal cord is being compressed. Certain neck conditions can put pressure on your spinal cord. You may experience pain or stiffness, problems with balance, or have difficulties with fine motor skills.
    • You experience progressive neurological symptoms. If you are feeling numbness, tingling and weakness in your arms and legs and/or are having trouble with balance or walking.

    What Kinds of Surgery Are Used For Neck Pain?

    There are two common types of cervical spine surgeries performed to relieve neck pain:

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    How Neck Pain Is Treated

    You doctor will perform a physical exam and take your complete medical history. Be prepared to tell your doctor about the specifics of your symptoms. You should also let them know about all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements youve been taking.

    Even if it doesnt seem related, you should also let your doctor know about any recent injuries or accidents youve had.

    Treatment for neck pain depends on the diagnosis. In addition to a thorough history and physical exam by your doctor, you may also need one or more of the following imaging studies and tests to help your doctor determine the cause of your neck pain:

    • blood tests

    What Causes Neck And Shoulder Pain

    When neck pain and shoulder pain occur together, some people may find the neck pain more concerning. For others, the shoulder pain may be more painful or limit more activities. Depending on the cause of the pain, it is also possible for the neck and shoulder pain to alternate in intensity during different activities.

    Learn about issues and conditions that can cause neck pain. Watch:Neck Pain Causes Video

    Below are some of the potential causes of neck and shoulder pain to appear at the same time.

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    Neck To Shoulder Pain Causes :

    Muscle tension and strain :

    This is usually due to activities and behaviors such as :

    • Poor posture
    • working at a desk for too long without changing position
    • sleeping with your neck in a bad position
    • jerking your neck during exercise
    • Over-exercise
    Injury around Neck and Shoulder area :

    The neck and Shoulder is particularly vulnerable to injury mainly during fall on shoulder to neck, car accidents and sports, where the muscles and ligaments of the neck and shoulder are forced to move outside of their normal range.

    If the Neck bones and /or shoulder are fractured due to sudden jerking of the head and shoulder, Pain and related symptoms are seen.

    Cervical Spondylosis :

    As you age, the cervical discs can degenerate. This is known as spondylosis, or osteoarthritis of the neck. This can narrow the space between the vertebrae. It also adds stress to your joints.

    Cervical disc prolapse :

    Sudden jerky movement in Neck causes disk prolapse as from a trauma or injury, it may add pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. This is called a herniated cervical disk, also called ruptured or slipped disk.

    Spinal canal stenosis :

    It can occurs when the spinal column narrows and causes pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots as it exits the vertebrae. This can be due to long-term inflammation caused by arthritis or other conditions.

    Heart attack :

    Neck and shoulder pain can also be a symptom of a heart attack, but it often presents with other symptoms of a heart attack, such as:

    Fix Your Form To Stop Shoulder Pain

    How Your Shoulder Causes Neck Pain & Headaches

    There are a lot of ways to jack up your shoulder in the gym. Kipping before your shoulders are ready is a major one. Im fine with kipping during your gymnastic moves. But you need to have shoulder mobility beyond the normal range and strong shoulder stabilizers before trying it. Kipping is a way to speed up pull ups, not a way to skip the work required to do a strict pull up. A couple other common-problem lifts are highlighted below.

    Shoulder position is the most important thing when performing overhead press. Keep them at a 30 degree angle instead of straight out at the side. Click HERE for more details.

    Shoulder position is even more important during bench press. But it is a full body lift, and if you are only using the upper body, youre setting yourself up for pain. Check out our complete post HERE for more.

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    What Are Home Remedies For Shoulder And Neck Pain

    Minor injuries that have only slight pain can be treated at home. If the source of the pain and the cause of the pain are not known, or if symptoms suggest you might have a more serious condition, you should contact your doctor while initiating basic care measures.

    • Rest: Use the injured area as little as possible for the first two to three days, then slowly begin to exercise the injured area. This speeds recovery.
    • Ice: Place the ice in a plastic bag, wrap the bag with a towel, and then apply to the injured area for 15-20 minutes every hour. Directly applying ice can damage the skin.
    • Elevation: Elevation of the injured area above your heart helps the swelling go down. This reduces your pain. Use pillows to prop yourself up.
    • Pain control: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help control swelling and pain.
    • Heat: Do not apply heat in the first week after an injury because it can increase the swelling in the injured area and worsen your pain.

    What Causes Osteoarthritis

    There are many factors that can increase a person’s chance of developing OA, including:

    • Obesity. Maintaining an ideal weight or losing excess weight may help prevent osteoarthritis of the knees, hips, and back. Weight loss can also decrease the progression of OA.
    • Injury. People with joint injuries due to sports, work-related activity, or accidents may be at increased risk of developing OA. For example, athletes with knee-related injuries may be at higher risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition, people who have had a severe back injury may be predisposed to develop osteoarthritis of the spine. People who have had a broken bone near a joint are prone to develop osteoarthritis in that joint.
    • Heredity. Some people have an inherited defect in one of the genes responsible for making cartilage. This can cause defective cartilage, which leads to more rapid deterioration of joints. People born with joint abnormalities are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, and those born with an abnormality of the spine are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the spine.
    • Joint Overuse. Overuse of certain joints increases the risk of developing OA. For example, people in jobs requiring repeated bending of the knee are at increased risk for developing OA of the knee.
    • Age. Although age is a risk factor, research has shown that OA is not an inevitable part of aging.

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    Neck Pain On Left Side

    Neck pain ranked among the top five pains in the world. Temporary neck pain, particularly of the left side, can be caused by fatigue, an improper sleeping position, and irritating daily activities.

    To be more literal, the neck pain we experience is caused by inflammation, muscle strain, or tension. While there aren’t any severe and specific causes behind neck pain on the left side, persistent pain means something is wrong.

    What Symptoms Relate To Neck Pain

    Shoulder Pain Symptoms &  Conditions

    The pain often spreads from the neck towards the shoulders or upper back, and it often causes headaches. You might find the pain is worse when you hold your head in one position for a long time, for example, at a computer.

    Neck pain might also come with muscle tightness or spasms, and you might not be able to move your head very well.

    If you have a neck injury, you might also have dizziness, pins and needles or numbness, weakness, changes to your vision or hearing, problems concentrating or difficulty swallowing. See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

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