Neck and Shoulder Pain: Understanding the Root Cause and Seeking Treatment
You are not alone.
While neck and shoulder pain can be a minor irritation at best and debilitating at worst, there are resources out there to help you get back to a life that is pain-free.
The first thing you need to do about treating your neck and shoulder pain is to uncover the root cause of the issue.
Next, you need to collaborate with a trained professional on a treatment plan for your neck and shoulder that is sustainable, practical, and effective for you.
If you’re interested in learning more, then keep reading!
Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain
Over time, people’s lifestyles have had a drastic shift.
We are moving around less during the day and sitting more.
Perhaps the most impactful shift has been the increased amount of time we are spending on technology- whether it be the computer, watching TV, or scrolling through our phones.
With this change in lifestyle, a different type of strain is put on our body, oftentimes creating issues within our musculoskeletal system that we may not even realize.
If you are experiencing neck and shoulder pain over a long period of time, the root of the issue has likely been building and building. That’s why it is essential to seek professional advice for neck and shoulder pain.
Forward Head Posture
Imagine your spine is a vertical line going straight through your body.
Forward head posture, or anterior posture, is when your head and ears are positioned in front of your body’s midline when looking from the side and it leans over to the front.
Our necks are responsible for carrying the weight of our head, which is extremely heavy! In fact, an adult head weighs around 5kg on average.
Adding on to that, for every 2.5cm of forwarding head carriage from the neutral head position, it doubles the stress load onto the joints and surrounding tissues of the neck and shoulders.
When we have a forward head posture and our heads are leaning forward, this puts an unnecessary and damaging strain on our cervical spine, muscles and connective tissue.
Naturally, this can result in chronic neck and shoulder pain.
Tech neck, sometimes referred to as “text neck”, is caused by a repetitive strain that happens when we are constantly looking down at our phones, computers, TVs, and other devices.
Having your neck bent forward constantly with rounded shoulders puts a tremendous amount of stress on your neck, resulting in neck pain that can reach all the way through your shoulder blades. The muscles supporting your neck and upper back consequently must also work harder to support the weight of your head which can result in more pain.
If you are experiencing neck pain that you believe to be a result of tech neck, one immediate action you can take is to raise your screen up till the top 1/3 of your screen is around eye level so that your neck remains upright and doesn’t arch over to see.
Tech neck goes hand in hand with forward head posture.
This does not just contribute to poor posture and neck and shoulder pain, other issues such as the following may start to occur:
- Jaw pain
- Numbness in the arms and hands
- Upper back pain
- Muscle spasm
- Further back problems such as a herniated disc
- Decreased range of motion
Notice Your Posture to Help Prevent Neck and Shoulder Pain
If you fear that you may have anterior posture or tech neck, schedule an appointment to see a doctor or a Doctor of Chiropractic to manage your neck pain and begin the process of healing.
Alongside that, you can work on noticing and correcting your posture to prevent further neck pain.
Here are some activities that can contribute to pain that can travel all the way from the neck to the shoulder blade if done too frequently and/ or with bad technique:
- Driving in your car
- Sitting at your office desk
- Watching TV
- Looking at your phone for long periods of time
- Carrying a heavy backpack
- Activities that cause you to lean over, such as sewing, writing, or drawing
If you frequently engage in any of these activities, try your best to sit up straighter. Since this is not always possible, you should also get up and stretch and create a plan with your Doctor of Chiropractic to prevent neck pain and shoulder pain.
How We Treat Neck and Shoulder Pain at Elite Spine Centres
If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder blades or neck, don’t worry!
Seeing a Doctor of Chiropractic for back pain is an effective, safe, and non-invasive treatment option that can give you back your independence.
Here are just a few treatment options you can explore with our doctors to relieve neck pain:
Functional Correction Method (or FCM)
FCM is a comprehensive body therapeutic approach that is designed to improve and correct the proper biomechanics of your spine, joints, and soft tissue.
While many types of therapy tend to focus on one area, this practical approach allows for the whole body to heal which will save you time, money, and frustration when it comes to your treatment plan.
Modern chiropractic is a method that encourages your body’s natural response to heal itself.
This approach is much more than just another treatment- it is actually a comprehensive wellness system that combines elements such as science, philosophy, and even the art of application.
With this approach, the goal is to reach optimal wellness and eliminate neck pain.
Treatment Plans for Neck and Shoulder Pain
When you are experiencing pain in your shoulder blade, neck, or back, a chiropractor can help identify the root of your issue and create a plan for overall healing.
As you continue seeking treatment with our doctors, your scheduled visits should transition from a treatment-focused plan towards self-management. After all, chiropractic treatment encourages the body’s natural response for healing.
Gain back your independence and live a life free of neck pain and shoulder pain.
Dr. Michael Bryant, doctor of chiropractic and member of the Alliance of Chiropractic (AOC) Singapore, graduated summa cum laude from Life University in Atlanta and received several distinctions, as well as completing additional coursework and NBCE certification in physiotherapy. Michael Bryant is the founder of Elite Spine Centers. Read more about Dr. Mike here.