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Neck & Shoulder Pain

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Neck pain and shoulder pain are both very common, with the neck and shoulders generally being prone to injury. Trauma, poor posture and arthritis are all common causes of neck pain, and tendon problems and instability frequently occur in the shoulder.

Chiropractic treatment can generally help neck and shoulder pain.

Quick facts

Extremely common
Low difficulty to treat

Did you know?

Right now, 1 in 10 adults in Australia are suffering with neck pain which is underdiagnosed.

source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

The head is supported by the neck, which is made up of seven vertebrae stacked one on top of the other. The vertebrae are cushioned by discs of cartilage and bound together with ligaments. Muscles provide movement and additional support.

The neck is very mobile, which means it is less stable than other areas of the body and more susceptible to injury. Trauma, poor posture and degenerative diseases, such as arthritis, are the most common causes of neck pain.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint with a large range of movement. Once again, a mobile joint tends to be more susceptible to injury. The shoulder joint relies heavily on the shoulder muscles for stability. Any dysfunction of these muscles or other anatomical structures, such as the collarbone, shoulder blade or joint itself, can cause pain and mobility problems.

Treatments like physiotherapy, osteopathy or remedial massage can generally help neck and shoulder pain. The more chronic the case, the more specialised training (advanced understanding, as compared to specialising in one area of treatment) is required.

Causes of neck and shoulder pain

  • Abnormalities in the bone or joints.
  • Poor posture
  • Muscle strain
  • Workplace injuries
  • Trauma
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Tumours (Pan Coast Tumour is a tumour of the lung)

Other symptoms of neck ∧ shoulder pain

The neck and shoulders are susceptible to injury not just from common factors such as sports, workplace injuries and heavy lifting, but also because of the important role that having a strong and functional musculature plays in ensuring that the spine, neck and shoulders are aligned properly.

Neck & shoulder pain can include the following conditions:

  • Whiplash (more common than one would think)
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Shoulder strain
  • Pain as a result of a shoulder injury
  • General shoulder pain
  • Wry neck (torticollis)
  • Neck strain
  • Pain as a result of a neck injury
  • General neck pain

Top tips for neck and shoulder care

  • keep mobile and exercise daily
  • be careful when lifting
  • keep well hydrated
  • eat sufficient protein to help repair tissue
  • ensure you have a supportive mattress
  • during repetitive tasks or heavy labour, make sure to vary your rhythm, take regular breaks and have a stretch
  • seek professional chiropractic advice

Effective treatment of neck and shoulder pain

The most common treatments for neck and shoulder pain generally include chiropractic, osteopathy, physiotherapy, remedial massage and acupuncture. In some severe cases, surgery.

This page has been produced, reviewed and approved by:

Dr Shermain Wong

BAppSc (Chiropractic), Masters (Clinical Chiropractic)

Photo of Dr Shermain Wong

Dr Shermain Wong is a chiropractor at Jurmaine Health with expertise in general treatment and over 6 years experience.

With a Masters in Clinical Chiropractic from RMIT University, Shermain has provided chiropractic and movement rehabilitation services at international sporting competitions, professional dancers, professional football players and professional athletes.

At Jurmaine Health, she helps patients address and treat common musculoskeletal symptoms and conditions, including back pain, neck pain; shoulder pain; nerve pain, joint pain and many other conditions

She is a member of Sport Medicine Australia, College of Osteopathy and Chiropractic Association, Australian Association of Musculoskeletal Medicine and International Society of Clinical Rehabilitation Specialists.

With her experience in Sports Medicine and treating Sports Injuries, she is a sought after expert for professional athletes and sports clubs. She has worked with the Coburg Lions VFL club, Melbourne Ice Hockey Women, World Ironman Championships, Australia CrossFit Regionals and others.

This document was last updated and reviewed in May 2016.

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