Pain in the neck and shoulder

Pain in the neck and shoulder is something that most of us will suffer from at some time or other. We find ourselves saying that we think we may have “slept funny” or maybe sat in a draught and our neck and shoulder has stiffened up, resulting in pain. We like to rationalise where pain in the neck and shoulder has come from so that we can figure out a way to get rid of it.

The structure of the shoulder

The shoulder is a highly lubricated and versatile ball and and socket joint. It has ends of bones covered and protected by articular cartilage and a fibrous capsule enclosing the whole structure. Ligaments around the joint help provide stability and muscles produce movement.


There are not many strong ligaments in the shoulder joint and it is by its nature, a mobile and unstable joint.

Several muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) attach very near the joint and are called the “rotator cuff”. The tendons can be injured by heavy lifting and stretching.

The shoulder joint, the shoulder blade and the collar bone are all involved in movements of the shoulder. Some typical medical diagnoses of pain in the neck and pain in the shoulder may be “frozen shoulder”, rotator cuff syndrome, or subacromial bursitis.


Causes of pain in the neck and shoulder

The most common cause of neck and shoulder pain is injury to the soft tissues, which includes the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Degeneration or herniation of the discs in the neck can cause areas of local neck pain, or radiating neck pain. Pinched nerves, conditions involving the spine, heart, lungs, and some abdominal organs also can cause neck and shoulder pain.

  • A broken collarbone or shoulder blade results in pain in the neck and shoulder.
  • Bursitis : sacs for protection around the shoulder joints become swollen, stiff, and painful after injuries.
  • Referred pain : Heart attacks, gall bladder disease and inflammation below the diaphragm can cause pain in the neck and shoulder, and this is called referred pain as the pain in the shoulder is actually a symptom of another problem.
  • Rotator cuff injuries, leading to shoulder impingement and a medical diagnosis of frozen shoulder are common injuries often caused by heavy lifting.
  • Stretched or torn ligaments, and inflamed tendons.
  • Muscle spasms from whiplash, can cause neck pain and shoulder pain.

Any cause of neck and shoulder pain must be properly diagnosed by a person medically qualified to make a diagnosis. A Kinesiopractor® will not be diagnosing neck and shoulder pain in this way.

The Kinesiopractor® will find out how the shoulder and neck muscles are working and which ones are functioning below par. Your goal for the session may well have nothing to do with your shoulder. That doesn’t mean that the neck and shoulder pain are being ignored by the practitioner, it just means the kinesiopractor® has an entirely different approach and will not be treating your pain in the shoulder and neck in the same way as a doctor would.