Neck Shoulder Pain

From Dr. Bryan Schuetz of The Columbus Chiropractors, Columbus, Ohio.

I often see patients here in Columbus Ohio that complain of a combination of joint aches and pains. Hip and back pain, knee and ankle pain ect.

The most common joint pain combination I have seen over the years is neck and shoulder pain.

The biomechanical relationship between the neck and shoulder can be a love hate affair. If everything is working properly in carrying the load then all is well. If not, it becomes a downhill spiral of pain and dysfunction because of this close relationship.

The shoulder actually attaches to the base of the cervical spine and top of the thoracic spine by way of the clavicle bone and many musclular and ligamentous structures.

When the shoulder is injured by way of a trauma or even just sleeping on it in the wrong position, it causes pain in the shoulder joint itself and can also produce pain and problems where the joint attaches to the spine.

On the other hand, there is also the case of the neck causing shoulder problems. This occurs when a cervical spine injury causes pressure on the nerves that leave the neck area also called a Pinched Nerve . Those nerves control the sensation and function of the shoulder, wrist, elbow and hand. So a pinched nerve in the neck can produce pain in the shoulder joint that is also called referred pain because it does not actually originate in the shoulder.

So you see, shoulder pain can cause neck pain and vice-versa. To get neck shoulder pain relief you must understand this relationship.

 In Columbus Ohio Office we use a combination of Chiropractic Adjustments and Spinal Decompression to get fast neck shoulder pain relief by taking the pressure off the nerve by aligning the neck and shoulders to their proper position. We also recommend home therapy that is listed below. These therapies are to be done after a consultation with a doctor to determine the cause of your pain.

Neck Shoulder Pain Relief

One of most common causes for this painful combination is the side sleeping position. When you sleep on your side it causes pressure on the shoulder joint and abnormal pressure where it attaches to the spine.

So the obvious solution is Not To Sleep On Your Side! But that can be challenging if you have spent a good part of your life sleeping on your side.

I like to have patients use a Neck Pain Pillow if they sleep on their back and side, and a body pillow to produce a correct sleep position at night if they are a true side sleeper. has many to choose from. Here is one that I personally recommend.

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I tell patients to reach one leg and arm over the pillow and turn half way onto the stomach for a good sleep position that takes pressure off the shoulder and neck area.  Another thing you can do at home is neck pain exercises for a few minutes each day to help in relieving the stress and alignment issues in the neck and shoulder area. Icing the area can also be of help to many people. I recommend 3-4 applications per day to the area of pain for 20 minutes per application. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a cloth to avoid direct contact with the skin.