Shoulder pain and neck have common things and some conceptual clarifications to do. Let’s break it down:
1 – The first thing I want is to clarify what is neck and what is shoulder
Shoulder pain. TrapezoidsIt seems simple but the same happens to the hip. What doctors understand by hip or shoulder does not always coincide with the concepts of people who are not in the health world. When we talk about the shoulder we refer to the joint, as we see marked in the initial photo of the post. It is very often incorrectly understood as a shoulder to the muscle area of the trapezoids that run from our neck to the shoulders. The trapezes have been marked in red in the photo on the right so we can understand. The part of the trapezius muscle we have marked belongs to the neck. It is part of the musculature that mobilizes and stabilizes the cervical. It is also a muscle that suffers contractures and pains irradiated when there are injuries to the neck.
It is common for a patient to come to the office and tell us that he has shoulder pain and refers to the trapezius area. For that reason and from what we will comment later it is frequent that the doctor examines us as much the neck as the articulation of the shoulder.
2 – Sometimes shoulder injuries can cause neck pain
Shoulder painThe shoulder is a very frequent area of painful lesions. In the shoulder, the tendons of the muscles of the so-called rotator cuff are often injured. They are the deep muscles of the shoulder. They are so named because they embrace the shoulder joint and allow movements in different directions. The tendons of the rotator cuff muscles are like a blanket that covers the shoulder joint and over the years undergoes small tears. If these tendons are injured and inflamed, in the movements of the shoulder we will feel pain with pinching sensation. This pain of impingement we are going to feel it in the zone where they point the black arrows of the photo. The trapeze again we point it with a red ellipse so that we can differentiate the different types of pain. If you look at the photo again,
Shoulder injuries cause pain that gets worse by raising the arm. To avoid pain, we unconsciously shrug our shoulders during the movement and force the neck muscles. Our body knows that the shoulder is damaged and makes us limit mobility. Shrugging the shoulders we managed to raise the arm more without moving the shoulder. When we shrug our shoulders we are fully activating the trapezius muscle. This continuous activity generates an overload in this muscle and causes neck pain. In this way we end up having pain in both places.
It should not be forgotten that sometimes an injury to the neck can be accompanied by shoulder pain without a direct relationship between the two.
In summary, shoulder and neck injuries can be confused. Sometimes by nomenclature errors and other times by the relationship between these two areas of the body. I hope I did not bother you much. In any case, our doctor can tell us what injury we have and clarify any doubts we may have.