Chronic Pain

Understanding Shoulder and Neck Pain

Source: WebMD
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Causes of Neck Pain

With so many people now working in an office setting, tension and muscle strain in the neck and shoulder areas has become a common complaint at the doctor’s office..

While work may be one reason for neck pain, there are a variety of other causes to watch out for including the following:

  • Abnormal growth in bone and joints (genetic or otherwise)
  • Injuries and accidents
  • Posture (e.g. – When sitting all day in an office chair)
  • Disease
  • Tumors
  • Straining muscles from overuse (e.g. – intense exercise)

Causes of Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that allows for an extensive range of motion. Despite being a very unique asset to the human body, it is also very susceptible to injury because of its design. Causes of shoulder pain are numerous and include the following:

  • Overuse
  • Injuries and accidents
  • Posture (e.g. – Leaning forward too much)
  • Pinched nerves

Diagnosing Shoulder and Neck Pain

There are a variety of tests that can determine the source of shoulder and neck pain. Doctors will begin with a simple medical history check and may conclude with one of the following:


Electro-diagnostic Tests

Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests can pinpoint the source of pain and numbness


X-rays

X-rays allow doctors to see if there are any growths, strains, fractures, slipped discs, or narrowing bone canals that are causing the pain


MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can highlight damage or issues with nerves and tendons  

Treatment Options

Doctors will begin with natural and non-invasive procedures such as physical therapy and chiropractic. The next step would be anti-inflammatory medications that can be obtained over-the-counter. If pain is still consistent and severe, your doctor may provide corticosteroid injections. Lastly, if the pain is severe and there is a clear problem, your doctor may suggest surgery.