The neck and shoulders are very important parts of the human anatomy. However, the area may also prove to be some of the most complicated and vulnerable parts of the human body. Neck and shoulder pain, for example, happens when the body is exposed to stress, injury, bad posture, and certain diseases. People of older age are especially prone to experience this.
A number of different causes can lead to shoulder and neck pain. Some may just be minor issues such as contusions or strains while some are dangerous, even life-threatening, such as major trauma and heart attacks.
What are the Possible Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain?
As stated earlier, there may be a number of different reasons as to why people may experience neck and shoulder pain. Some causes may be major or dangerous while others are minor and may resolve on their own. Listed below are some of the possible causes of neck and shoulder pain:
1. Injury or damage to soft tissues
One of the most common reasons for developing shoulder and neck pain is injury or damage to the soft tissues located in the area where the neck and shoulders are. These soft tissues that may be injured include ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Certain medical conditions such as degenerative arthritis may exacerbate and increase the risk of individuals in terms of developing some form soft tissue injury in the neck and shoulders. Another medical condition that may cause injury to the nerves found in the neck and shoulders is called degenerative disc disease or cervical spondylosis This can result in a pinched nerve and herniation of the discs which may further add to the pain levels felt by individuals.
2. Broken collarbone
Accidents that may result in an individual falling on his or her spread or stretched arms may cause a break in the individual’s collarbone. Cyclists and bikers commonly experience this form of injury especially when they accidentally fall off their vehicles.
Having a well functioning bursa can help the body and the joints move more efficiently as the bursa can act as a cushion for the joints to be able to smoothly twist, rotate and move without any problem. However, a swelling of the bursa may result in shoulder and neck muscles feeling stiff and even extremely painful.
4. Heart attack
Pain caused by a heart attack is usually called referred pain. Heart attacks may primarily affect the heart, but pain may also present itself in the neck and shoulders.
5. Broken shoulder blades
Broken shoulder blades are not very common but people who experienced it have gotten it due to a strong impactful force. When this happens, it may result to pain in the neck and shoulders.
6. Injured Rotator cuffs
Rotator cuffs play an important role in the general movement and mobility of the shoulders and neck of individuals. It is quite understandable then that an injured rotator cuff may contribute to neck and shoulder pains. Rotator cuffs are composed tendons that acts as a support structure for the shoulders and make a number of various moves and mobility options possible. These injuries to the rotator cuffs usually develop because of physical activities considered repetitive such as certain sports and other hobbies. If left untreated, an injured rotator cuff may progress into a frozen shoulder or a condition where there is a limited range of shoulder motion.
7. Shoulder A-C separation
This type of injury or trauma can occur when connecting tendons of the scapula or shoulder blade and the collarbone or clavicle are torn or stretched beyond its normal range.
8. Whiplash can cause pain in the neck and shoulder
Accidents that occur in motor vehicles may result in what is called a whiplash injury. Whiplash happens when the supporting structures in the neck or shoulders get quickly accelerated or decelerated. This may result in tears and injuries to the tendons. If not treated immediately, a whiplash injury can further progress into spasms of the neck and shoulder muscles.
9. Tendonitis can also lead to neck and shoulder pain
Tendons are the connective tissues that link bone to muscles. Once these linkages get swollen due to strain other forms of injury, the result will be tendonitis. This is a condition that can greatly increase the risk of individuals developing some form of neck and shoulder pain. If a patient suspects that he or she has tendonitis, he or she may visit a medical professional or doctor to seek treatment or medical attention.