Factors that Cause Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulder pain can be hugely disconcerting for people. Some people often suffering from the pain blame neck pain as more distressful, others however claim the shoulder hurts more than the neck. The intensity of the pain in the neck and shoulder varies according to the different activities you carry out. Sometimes your usual routine is your worst enemy as you carry out activities that are damaging to your body and the physical attributes. In other cases however, the pain is caused by a condition or illness that the patient is not entirely aware of.

To understand the pain in neck and shoulder it is imperative to understand the impact different activities can have on the shoulder and the upper body. Here is a list of potential reasons to help you figure out the different causes of pain in the shoulder and neck.

Cervical Spondylosis

The degeneration of the cervical spine is called cervical spondylosis. This can lead to cervical osteoarthritis degenerative disc disease and other sorts of wear and tear to the conditions of the spine. The degeneration of the spine usually begins with age as one or more than one intervertebral foramen becomes smaller. This is called foraminal stenosis.

The compression of the intervertebral foramen may limit the room available for the spinal nerve, making it inflamed or compressed resulting in radiation of pain from the neck to the shoulder.

Herniated Cervical Disc

Tear in the outer layer of a cervical disc causes a leak in the soft inner layer. The outwards leak of the soft inner layer causes the nerve root nearby to become painful and inflamed. Herniation of the lower cervical spine can result in radicular pain in the shoulder blade area. This is usually followed by pain in the neck region which can be severe.

Stinger Injury

Sometimes collision causes the neck to bend sideways resulting in huge problems for the neck. Injuries of this sort are called the stinger injury or the burner. The injury feels like a shock like pain that shoots down the arm and may also result in huge tingling, numbness or weakness in the region. This sort of injury usually goes away quickly, but their high likelihoods of them lasting for long durations. Sports collisions when playing football or hockey are the main reason for stinger injuries.

Muscle Strain

The neck and shoulder are connected with several muscles. Strain in one of these muscles results in huge pain and stiffness for both the shoulder and the neck. Sometimes pain that originates primarily in the shoulder or the neck can pass on to the other parts of the body.

Sometimes it can be difficult to blame one reason for pain in the shoulder or the neck. As mentioned above more than one factors can work in harmony to cause pain to the shoulder and the muscle. Traumatic injuries such as car accidents or a great fall can result in a herniated disc, muscle strain and fracture. These factors can then result in muscle strain, pain in the shoulder or in the neck.

Here we have highlighted some less common reasons for neck and shoulder pain that take a while to become evident.

Brachial Neuritis

A collection of nerves that move to the lower neck and the shoulder to the upper body are called the brachial plexus. Inflammation in this region is called the brachial neuritis. This pain can start all of a sudden as the person suffering will feel pangs of electric shock in the body. Usually this kind of pain is felt in a shoulder or an arm of one side of the body, however, it can also extend to the neck hindering its movement.

A numb sensation and continuous tingling follow this incur and it is followed by prolonged weakness in the hand, shoulder or the arm.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

This is a situation which occurs upon the compression of the blood vessels or the nerves in the tiny region between the collarbone and the top rib. This syndrome usually results in pain, weakness, tingling and numbness in both the arm and the shoulder. Neck pain may also be a result of this injury, as the poor blood circulation causes the neck to feel hot and cold.

Pain in the neck is usually felt when the nerves are compressed in the thoracic outlet. Their compression causes a feeling of numbness and tingling in the neck.

Shoulder Osteoarthritis

An injury in the protective cartilage of the shoulder joint can result in inflammation and pain in the shoulder region. Degenerative changes in the joint may result in compression of the nerve that ends up radiating pain to the neck.

Cervical Myofascial Pain

Not much is known of this condition. All we know is that can create painful trigger points in the connective tissues and the muscles of the neck. Pressing the trigger point of the neck may descend the pain to the shoulder region or areas that are close to the neck.


This syndrome usually includes fatigue, tender points and widespread pain. This sort of pain is usually prevalent in people suffering from host of other issues including depression and anxiety. Doctors associate this pain with the presence of trigger points present in the different parts of the body especially the shoulder and the neck.

These trigger points feel tight or tender and pressing them can release pain to the other parts of the body.

There are many other causes of neck and shoulder pain that are found in the body. You should try visiting the doctor if any pain of such sort is found in the body. Persistence of pain for more than two weeks is a signal that should be enough for you to get yourself tested. Weakness, dizziness, nausea and numbness are the indicators that follow the pain. Don’t take them lightly and visit a doctor immediately. Ignoring the problems can also result in coordination problems that might hamper your day to day life.