Shoulder pain and neck pain overlap so much that some even refer to both as “shneck pain.” So, are shoulder and neck pain linked? This confusion surrounding what’s shoulder pain and what’s neck pain is due to the nerve root in our neck. When a cervical nerve root in our neck becomes irritated, pain can shoot across our arm, hand, and even shoulders, making it confusing to find the source of the pain.
How to spot the difference between shoulder pain and neck pain
If you’ve ever had pain in your neck feel worse after keeping your head in one position for a long time, you most likely suffer from neck pain. Muscle spasms, headaches and issues moving your head around also accompany neck pain. Most of this pain comes from the neck muscles getting strained from poor posture, injuries or nerve compressions. Shoulder pain, on the other hand, is caused by the shoulder getting overextended or dislocated. It also comes from having stiff muscles or ligaments, a collarbone fracture or a pinched nerve in the neck. The shoulder is a very flexible joint with a lot of mobility; thus, leaving room for wear and tear and injuries.
When to see a doctor for shoulder pain and neck pain
Tension from shoulder pain and neck pain can feel unbearable at times, but here are some red flags for when to go to a doctor. You should see a doctor for neck pain if the pain starts to feel severe, continues for several days, spreads to your legs and arms, or if you start feeling numbness, weakness, tingling, and a headache with the pain. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, see a doctor if you notice swelling, redness or warmth around the shoulder.
Regardless if you’re experiencing mild, moderate, severe or chronic shoulder pain or neck pain, your best bet is for our experienced professionals to take a look. Let us help you jumpstart your road to recovery by visiting our physical therapists who specialize in both shoulder pain and neck pain relief therapy. Contact us today and schedule an initial appointment at our clinic in Apache Junction, Arizona.