Can shoulder pain cause neck pain?

Can Shoulder Pain Cause Neck Pain?

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain and neck pain, you may be wondering, “Can shoulder pain cause neck pain?” Thanks to the muscles, nerves and other structures the shoulder and neck share, the short answer is yes it can. At SSOR, our physical therapy team can help you find ways to treat shoulder conditions that are also causing you to feel neck pain.

Our SSOR physical therapy team is made up of experienced and highly educated therapists. We’re also dedicated to helping you achieve rapid results from your therapy with us. One thing that may help with this is the fact that we try to ensure you see the same therapist every time you visit our clinics. This allows you to develop a positive relationship with your therapist and ensures they’re well-versed in your treatment plan. This in-depth knowledge can be particularly helpful when you have shoulder pain that’s causing neck pain, too.

Conditions that can cause shoulder pain and neck pain

You may not have known this, but the shoulders and neck are connected in many ways. For instance, they share many of the same muscles, nerves, tendons and other structures. Unfortunately, this closeness means that conditions that cause shoulder pain can also cause you to feel neck pain.

One condition that can lead to pain in both your shoulder and neck is shoulder bursitis. This condition is also known as shoulder impingement syndrome, and it affects the fluid-filled sacs in your shoulder, which are called bursa. The shoulder bursa are located between the top of your upper arm bone and the tip of the shoulder.

Their job is to protect the tendons in your shoulder, but injuries or infections can cause the bursa to become inflamed. The inflammation leads to less space for the shoulder tendons to move, and this may result in the tendons becoming pinched and causing shoulder and neck pain.

A rotator cuff injury is a second shoulder condition that may cause you to feel both shoulder and neck pain. Your rotator cuff is a structure of four muscles and tendons in the shoulder. This structure is designed to help keep your upper arm bone, or humerus, in your shoulder socket.

Rotator cuff injuries are fairly common, and often result from repetitive overhead motions that place high stress on the shoulder. For example, the throwing motion used by many baseball pitchers can increase their risk of a rotator cuff injury. People who work as house painters are also at risk for rotator cuff injuries since they spend lots of time working over their heads.

If you think you might have one of these shoulder conditions, our SSOR team can create a treatment plan for you that may include therapies like:

  • Joint mobilization
  • Range-of-motion exercises
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Electrical stimulation

Using these and other therapies, our team can help you treat a variety of shoulder conditions that may be causing you both shoulder and neck pain.

Would you like to find out if your shoulder pain is causing your neck pain? If you would, there’s only one step you’ll need to take. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule a free 15-minute screening.