Neck pain can restrict your mobility and cause immense discomfort both at work and at home. But when your neck pain is coupled with shoulder pain, you may not be able to engage in normal activities at all. You may feel sharp pain when turning your head, raising your arms or holding up your torso. This lack of mobility can be frustrating and can keep you from simple activities like writing and typing. As a result, you need to find relief for your shoulder and neck pain as fast as possible.
Your shoulder pain and neck pain symptoms may include:
- Neck stiffness.
- Numbness at the base of your neck.
- Tingling in head or hands.
- Shooting pain across your shoulders or into your arm.
- Muscle spasms.
- Arm weakness.
Often, feeling both neck pain and shoulder pain at the same time indicates a strain or a sprain. These injuries can be treated with a variety of noninvasive techniques, including physical therapy.
What causes neck and shoulder pain?
Injuries to your muscles, ligaments, or tendons can cause neck pain and shoulder pain. You may have irritated this tissue over time while overusing or overstretching a specific set of muscles or tendons, causing them to develop microscopic tears. This can happen while at work or even while sleeping in awkward positions, when your shoulder is forced to bear your body weight.
You may also have injured your shoulder or neck after an acute event like falling or sustaining heavy impact. Many instances of neck pain can be traced to whiplash, or neck injury due to sudden movement such as in a car accident. You can also experience neck and shoulder pain if you pinched a nerve, which can cause sharp or tingling pain to radiate down your neck to your shoulder.
Since the neck and shoulders are intricately connected, any injury to your shoulders can cause the muscles in your neck to tighten, and vice versa. The risk of developing neck and shoulder pain is higher among women and can increase if:
- You’ve experienced long-term stress, anxiety or depression.
- You don’t sleep well.
- You grind your teeth at night.
- You remain sedentary for long periods of time.
- You have other preexisting health conditions.
4 tips to relieve neck and shoulder pain
If you want to relieve your neck and shoulder pain quickly and effectively, you can try the following techniques:
- Stretches — Gentle stretches can help release built-up tension in your neck and shoulders and increase circulation to the surrounding tissue. As a result, your neck and shoulders may become more receptive to movement. A physical therapist can guide you through gentle stretches in a safe environment to help relieve your neck and shoulder pain.
- Dry needling — Dry needling is performed by a licensed physical therapist. During a dry needling session, small, sterile needles are placed in trigger points along your tight muscles. These needles can increase blood flow across your neck and shoulders, ease tension, target specific points of inflammation, and increase your range of motion. Your physical therapist can tell you more about how dry needling can help relieve your neck and shoulder pain.
- Breaking your sedentary lifestyle — Many instances of neck and shoulder pain can be caused by sitting for long periods of time, especially if you have poor posture. Slumped shoulders can pull on your muscles and strain them over time. To avoid this, studies show that you should exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and take short, few-minute breaks between long sitting sessions. Doing so can help relieve neck and shoulder pain throughout the day.
- Physical therapy exercises — Physical therapists are especially trained to ease your musculoskeletal pain, especially in your neck and shoulders. In fact, physical therapy treatment is at least as effective as surgery in managing pain. Plus, if you go to physical therapy sooner, you can get your life back faster and save money on long-term treatment.
How can physical therapy help relieve your neck and shoulder pain?
Physical therapy for neck and shoulder pain can offer the following benefits:
- Education regarding posture and sleep positions.
- Manual and soft tissue mobilization for decreased pain.
- Therapeutic exercises for increased range of motion.
- State-of-the-art modalities like dry needling and the Graston Technique®.
Forever Fit can help relieve your shoulder and neck pain
While physical therapy exercises may sound daunting, our physical therapists at Forever Fit will take their time to find an exercise routine that works for your body. You don’t have to be an athlete or even physically fit to do our physical therapy. Our therapists believe in empowering you to live your life pain-free and at your own pace.
Ready to experience the Forever Fit PT difference? We can help you find the pain relief you need. Fill out an appointment form to talk to one of our physical therapists today.