Neck & Shoulder Pain

Simultaneous pain in the neck and shoulder is common, and is usually the result of a strain or sprain.

Pain can range from mild to very severe and can include: tingling, shooting pain, stiffness, numbness, spasms and soreness. 

Neck and shoulder pain causes:

Most neck and shoulder pain is due to sprains and strains from sports, overexertion, or incorrect posture.

Soft tissue injuries

Neck and shoulder pain is often due to an injury of the soft tissue. Soft tissue includes your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The term is used to distinguish it from the hard tissue of bones and cartilage.

Soft tissue injuries can cause many kinds of pain, including: stiffness, headache and muscle spasms.

Neck and shoulder pain with headache

Muscle tension in the neck is a very common cause of tension headache. This is a type of referred pain known as cervicogenic headache.

Cervicogenic headaches may feel similar to migraine. Symptoms include: pain on one side of your head or face, stiff neck and headache after certain neck movements and pain around your eyes.

Treating neck and shoulder pain at home

If your neck and shoulder pain is mild, you can help relieve the pain with home remedies. For more severe symptoms, see a doctor.

Try some of the following tips and prevention methods at home:

  • Take a break from sports or other activities that may aggravate the area.
  • Use an ice pack on the area for the first three days after your pain starts. Wrap the ice pack in a towel and use it for up to 20 minutes, 5 times a day. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Apply heat using a heating pad or warm compress.
  • Take OTC pain relievers such as topical pain relief
  • Wear a pain-relieving shoulder wrap to reduce swelling and pain. 
  • Gently massage the neck and shoulder area.