Shoulder Pain or Neck Pain, Which is it?

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Shoulder Pain or Neck Pain... Which is it?

This is a question we ask a lot, the reason being the neck and shoulder is such a complex area it’s often very difficult to differentiate where the issue is actually coming from. By finding the root cause we can target that area and then start to move on to the surrounding structures.

Often clients are getting pain referral so they are a little confused as to where the issue is. Is it the referral point or somewhere else that is where we will palpate and apply functional testing to understand the root cause.

Remember current pain is one thing and looking at the whole structure and seeing were pain may come from in the future is another. If the posture is bad with rounded shoulders, which is a very common these days. You may be asked to raise your hands above your head, but with shoulders rounded forward, you are not likely to be able to complete the task.

The first thing to work on is the posture and the soft tissue around the front of the chest and neck to enable this movement. Again the neck and the shoulders are all linked and one will not be able to optimise full movement without the other operating correctly. This is a classic case with many people on smart phones, they are not paying attention to the posture and what issues may arise in the future due to this. Dysfunctional muscles will pull bones out of alignment and this is what gives the structural problems.

Points of neck pain

  • Muscle Pain: Irritation and general tightness.
  • Muscle Spasm: Sudden tightening of the neck muscles.
  • Headache: Often linked to the bottom of the skull/ base of the neck.
  • Nerve Pain: Can cause a sharper deeper ache which is different to muscular pain.
  • Bone/Joint Pain: Cervical spine tenderness, which could indicate something more serious.
  • Referred Pain: Pain in one part of the body which can be triggered by an underlying issue from another structure.

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