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Neck Shoulder Pain

Neck Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulder discomfort are issues that affect so many people. The pain can be slight or unbearable, making it difficult for people to carry on with their lives. Nevertheless, the good news is that there are numerous therapeutic options designed to address this problem in spite of its multiple causes.

In Aurora, Physical Therapy Advantage’s experts have a glowing reputation as they excel at precisely evaluating neck and shoulder pain so they develop exclusive North Aurora Physical Therapy programs targeted at customized treatment.

Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain

Wondering what causes neck and shoulder pain? There are a variety of factors that can contribute to pain in neck and shoulder. Some of the most common causes include:

Muscle Strain

Muscle strain often leads to uneasiness in the neck and shoulder, frequently resulting from activities such as marathon typing or prolonged telephone use. These actions can cause muscle spasms and stiffness in the neck and shoulders—additional examples are sudden reaching movements or twisting, which aggravate muscle tension even more.

Herniated Disc

Within the spinal domain, discs act as shock absorbers nestled between vertebrae. A breach in the outer lining can pave the way for the jelly-like core to protrude, heralding the presence of a herniated disc. This unwelcome guest may irritate surrounding nerves, translating into discomfort cascading down the arm.

Pinched Nerve

The consequence of undue pressure from neighboring tissues on a nerve echoes the dynamics of a herniated disc. This scenario commonly unfolds as nerves embark on their journey away from the cervical spine, encountering compression in the neck.


Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis throw their weight around in the neck and shoulder joints. The collapse of protective cartilage sparks inflammation and joint decline, unveiling a trio of stiffness, swelling, and pain.

Poor Posture

The tendency to slouch or maintain a continually forward-bent neck posture puts pressure on the muscles of the neck and spine. This departure from good posture disrupts the neck’s natural alignment, allowing for muscle fatigue and discomfort.

Amongst this quilt of stimuli, Physical Therapy Advantage’s virtuoso talent emerges as strategic pathfinders who perform specific actions that unravel strands of annoyance in the neck and on the shoulder.

Symptoms of Neck and Shoulder Pain

The symptoms experienced with neck and shoulder pain on right side can vary depending on the underlying cause. Common symptoms include:

  • Aching or stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Sharp, shooting pain that radiates down the arms
  • Muscle spasms in the neck and upper back 
  • Constrained movement when swiveling or inclining the neck 
  • Headaches stemming from the base of the cranium 
  • Prickling or numbness in the arms or hands

Should the neck and shoulder pain on left side symphony be accompanied by fever, chills, nausea, or unexplained weight loss, consulting a medical maestro is paramount to unveil potential serious conditions.

Seeking a Professional Diagnosis

So as to comprehend what causes neck and shoulder pain, an accurate diagnosis from a medical expert is essential. These players in this dance of diagnosis include a general practitioner, orthopedic specialist, physical therapist, and even chiropractor, depending on the seriousness of the complaint.

The physician starts off with this diagnostic pas de deux by physically conducting a symphony in the neck and shoulders, examining them thoroughly as he hopes to solve the mystery. 

Besides reflex check-ups and muscle strength tests, all of which involve the range of movement, they probe for tender spots, hoping to find a faint pain. If there is, something like a pinched nerve would involve any tactics like fascinating Spurling’s maneuver used to evaluate if there is any nerve impingement.

On a more detailed inspection through the inner sanctum where cervical vertebrae and soft tissues hold sway, images might be requested from MRI scans, CT scans, or even X-rays. These visual symphonies promise to unveil concealed secrets, providing a visual tableau to aid the diagnostic tapestry. Let’s take a look at what is the best treatment for neck and shoulder pain.

Treatment Options for Neck and Shoulder Pain 

The good news is there are many effective treatment options if you wonder how to relieve shoulder and neck pain, including:


For mild to moderate discomfort, consider non-prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. Severe pain might necessitate prescription muscle relaxers or potent NSAIDs.

Physical Therapy 

Engaging with a physical therapist works wonders for neck and shoulder pain. They prescribe exercises to elongate tight muscles, fortify weaknesses, and refine posture and mobility. The therapeutic arsenal may include manual techniques like massage or trigger point therapy.


Chiropractors weave their magic through hands-on spinal maneuvers, aligning and alleviating pain from muscle strains or joint hiccups. These interventions act as a restoration spectacle, reviving the range of motion and functionality.

Ergonomic Changes

Transform your workstation, driving stance, or sleep posture to alleviate neck and shoulder strain. An ergonomic audit unveils areas ripe for enhancement.

Hot/Cold Therapy

Embark on a dance of relief with hot packs or ice, curbing muscle spasms and inflammation in neck and shoulder pain. Heat befriends blood flow, while cold quells swelling.

Stress Management

Chronic stress unfurls as neck and shoulder discomfort. Unwind with relaxation techniques – deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or the enchanting realm of shoulder therapy in Aurora.

Long-Term Management for Chronic Pain

For those suffering from chronic neck and shoulder pain, the goal of treatment should be improving function and managing pain. The following are some tips for how to sleep with neck and shoulder pain.

This requires a multipronged approach:

  • Physical Therapy North Aurora to improve strength, mobility, and posture through regular exercise. Aquatic therapy provides a low-impact option.
  • Massage to relieve muscle tightness and spasms.
  • Over-the-counter analgesics like NSAIDs to control pain and inflammation.
  • Complementary treatments like acupuncture, dry needling, or heating pads to ease muscle tension. 
  • Lifestyle modifications include breaking up computer use, proper sleep positioning, and stress management.
  • Bracing may provide extra support and improve posture.
  • Injections of corticosteroids or anesthetics can offer temporary symptom relief in some cases.
  • Surgery like cervical fusion or discectomy may be a last resort for severe, unrelenting pain.

Improving Posture to Reduce Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulder pain often stems from poor posture, the consequence of prolonged desk hunching and persistent neck craning. However, a few little posture adjustments can relieve pressure in these places and offer much-needed pain relief.

Imagine a thread at the top of your head gently tugging you upright to preserve proper posture. Maintain a straight back, slightly tucked in the chin, and evenly spaced ears over the shoulders. No hunching over or slumping forward! The finest companions of posture are ergonomic aids, such as monitor risers and lumbar pillows, which maintain your spine's alignment and happiness as you work. 

Don't let tension build up at the computer—take regular standing or movement breaks to give those muscles a breather. Also, be mindful of posture when looking down at your phone—angle it to keep your neck straight.

Sleeping with the right pillow that supports your neck's natural curve can help you wake up without pain or discomfort. Sleeping on your side or back is better than sleeping on your stomach.

When standing, keep your knees slightly bent, engage your core muscles, and keep your head level. Stand tall with good posture to help avoid pain and strain.

Carry bags evenly over both shoulders to prevent muscle imbalances. Making good posture a habit takes effort, but it leads to less strain, better mobility and prevents future aches. A physical therapist can give you customized tips to improve your posture.

Exercises to Alleviate Neck and Shoulder Pain

Targeted exercises, strengthening weak muscles, improving flexibility, and stretching can help reduce neck and shoulder pain. This releases tightness and tension caused by muscle imbalances and lack of flexibility.

Some good exercises are chin tucks to lengthen the neck, shoulder rolls to relieve upper back tension, back hugs, chest stretches to open the shoulders, and exercises to strengthen the upper back. Lying on your stomach and stretching your arms out with thumbs up effectively strengthens the shoulders, too.

Talk to experts like chiropractors or physical therapists to design an exercise program tailored to your needs. They can teach proper form and stretching techniques to fix muscle imbalances and incorrect movement patterns. With some commitment, you'll be moving and feeling better soon.


Navigating what can cause shoulder and neck pain can indeed be a test of patience, but fear not, for an array of treatment tactics stands at the ready to lend a helping hand in taming this vexing beast. 

Consulting knowledgeable professionals like the Physical Therapist at Physical Therapy Advantage, Aurora, and staying active provide the best chance for recovery. With patience and consistency, most people find a combination of therapies that provide adequate pain relief and restore mobility.

COVID-19 Update: Due to the continued COVID-19 concerns we wanted to update everyone on our current policies. We are still considered to be an essential healthcare provider, but as of January 1, 2023...