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Shoulder and Neck Pain

Shoulder and neck pain accompanied by certain other symptoms should not be taken lightly. Read on...
Aastha Dogra Apr 19, 2019
Pain in the neck and the shoulder area can be caused due to a variety of conditions, ranging from minor problems like, muscle strains to extremely serious conditions, such as a tumor. It can be either a sharp pain or a dull, burning sensation. Many a time, along with the pain, stiffness might develop in the affected area.
Other symptoms, which can accompany are, weakness and numbness, coolness and changes in skin color (if the veins and arteries are blocked or injured), swelling and deformity (if there is a fracture, dislocation, or inflammation of the bursa). Here is some useful information on its causes as well as treatment.

Causes

  • One of the main causes is a poor posture. If a person is working on the computer for a very long time with his back and neck bending, or generally sits with a slouch, he can experience pain in both these body parts.
  • An injury to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck and shoulder region can cause pain in and around these structures.
  • Degenerative diseases, such as arthritis of the spine can pinch the nerves in the area, and lead to pain in the neck and the shoulder. Cervical spondylosis is another degenerative disease, which can cause neck and shoulder pain.
  • A rare cause of pain can be a tumor/cancer in and around the neck and shoulder. Gallbladder disease can sometimes cause referred shoulder and neck pain.
  • Any conditions that involve either of the lungs, heart and spinal cord can cause pain in both these areas. For example, a heart attack or heart disease can cause "referred" left shoulder and neck pain.
  • Broken collarbone, rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, injury in the shoulder blade, tendonitis, and whiplash injury i.e., injury to the muscles and ligaments of the shoulder, can all cause pain in these areas.

Treatment

If the pain is caused due to some minor injury, and if the symptoms of pain are mild, then certain home care methods are more than enough to treat it. These, pain management methods include, giving proper rest to the affected area by not using it for about two to three days.
After sufficient rest, you have to undertake certain exercises to hasten the healing process.
Keeping the affected area at an elevation i.e., above the heart helps in minimizing the swelling, and hence, should be undertaken. The most effective of home care method to treat the pain is, applying ice packs to the affected area for ten-fifteen minutes, every hour or so, as it helps in reducing the swelling as well as pain.
Medical treatment includes painkillers like acetaminophen, sometimes combined with anti-inflammatory medicines like naproxen or ibuprofen. In some cases, the doctor recommends a cast so that the affected area remains immobile and properly rested. If the injury is severe, the patient might be referred to an orthopedist and may get hospitalized for a few days.
Pain caused by minor problems like bruises or strains can be dealt with the given methods. However, if the pain, numbness and weakness becomes severe, if there are visible deformities in the affected area or the skin color changes, and if there is fever, chest pain, sweating and nausea, the patient must be rushed to the emergency room for prompt treatment.