Is Your Shoulder Pain Actually a Neck Problem?

Experts diagnose & treat 'shneck pain'

Is Your Shoulder Pain Actually Caused by a Neck Problem?

An aching shoulder may not signal a shoulder problem. And a sore neck may not indicate a neck problem.

“People may come in with shoulder pain when they really have a neck problem,” says Eric Ricchetti, MD, a shoulder specialist in Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Conversely, neck pain can mask a shoulder problem.

Shneck pain

“The way the body reports pain is somewhat unreliable,” explains E. Kano Mayer, MD, an interventional spine specialist in Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Spine Health. “Neck and shoulder pain so commonly overlap that some refer to it as ‘shneck’ pain.”

Why? Because the neck and shoulder are intimately connected by multiple nerve pathways. When injury occurs, the brain can’t always trace pain pathways back to their source, and what we feel may not be what is really going on. “This is known as ‘referred pain,'” says Dr. Mayer.

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When the shoulder is the usual suspect

Shoulder pain is most often caused by an injury to the rotator cuff, a group of tendons and muscles that stabilize the joint. The rotator cuff develops wear and tear with age, and can be easily injured. When this happens, we compensate by using different muscles to pick things up or reach for them. “This may cause both shoulder and neck pain,” says Dr. Ricchetti. You may have a rotator cuff injury or other shoulder problem if pain:

  • Develops in the shoulder itself or on the outside of your upper arm
  • Is dull and aching
  • Occurs when you reach overhead or behind your back, or when lifting
  • Radiates into the upper arm, but not past the elbow
  • Persists at night
  • Improves when you rest your arm

When the neck is the likely culprit

Inflammation of any of the 14 nerves or eight pairs of joints in the neck can cause neck pain. The joints — or vertebrae — serve as a “hinge” that lets us nod or shake our heads during conversation (no wonder they wear out). In fact, up to 70 percent of 65-year-olds may only have symptomatic arthritis in one or more neck joints.

“Because pain in one area can so often be confused with another, a thorough exam must be done, including range of motion, strength testing and provocative neck and shoulder maneuvers,” says Dr. Mayer. You may have arthritis or nerve-related neck pain if pain:

  • Radiates to your shoulder blade, or close to or on the side of your neck
  • Electric-like, stabbing, burning or tingling
  • Radiates down past your elbow or even into your hand
  • Persists at rest
  • Radiates down your arm when you extend or twist your neck
  • Is relieved when you support your neck

It’s important to see a specialist to get a thorough physical examination of your neck and shoulder. To help with diagnosis, they may inject lidocaine (a local anesthetic) into the shoulder, or the joints or nerves of the neck. “This diagnostic test helps guide treatment — if it relieves pain, it demonstrates where the problems are,” explains Dr. Mayer. Whether the problem lies in your neck or your shoulder, he and Dr. Ricchetti note that conservative measures are usually tried first.

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5 ways to relieve pain from a shoulder problem

  1. Resting from activities that aggravate pain
  2. Physical therapy exercises
  3. Icing the shoulder, especially at night
  4. Anti-inflammatory medications
  5. Cortisone injections to reduce inflammation in the shoulder

If these measures fail to bring relief, you may need an MRI of your shoulder. If that shows a torn rotator cuff, then shoulder surgery may be necessary, says Dr. Ricchetti. If the physical exam and imaging indicate arthritis or a nerve-related pain in your neck, he recommends referral to a spine specialist. Spine specialists will conduct a thorough neurological examination, and do imaging and other tests. They will also begin with conservative care.

4 ways to relieve pain from a neck problem

  1. Physical therapy or yoga to increase range of motion and strength
  2. Anti-inflammatory medications and /or muscle relaxants
  3. Ice, heat and massage therapy
  4. Injection of cortisone to reduce inflammation or local anesthetics to relieve pain

Whether you have chronic pain in your shoulder, your neck or both, don’t wait to see an expert. “Having a neck or shoulder specialist evaluate your complaints will determine where the main problem is and will get you started on the correct treatment,” says Dr. Ricchetti.

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  • Jeffre

    Instead of painful injections, meds or unnecessary imaging, you could just go to a Physical Therapist and get better.

    • Lynn Ludam

      I like your response, and that ‘s what I will be doing again. I have a neck brace with magnets in it for magnet therapy seems to give some relief.

  • SWE

    In my 33 years of clinical experience, the majority of these shneck syndromes are multi-faceted and can best be handled by conservative care that includes grade 5 spinal closed joint reduction therapy which can only be done best by today’s Doctors of Chiropractic. S.W. Engen, DC, PAK, PES.

  • myomary

    Often, it is a soft tissue dysfunction due to myofascial trigger points: ;a common but often unrecognized source of pain that mimics other diagnoses and may be easily treated by a Board Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist.

  • Marty

    Has anyone thought about the shoulder/neck pain may be “nerves”? Tension?

    • lola88

      Of course, many people carry stress in their shoulders. But that stress can cause a physiological problem. Do you find your shoulders are shrugged a lot? Is it cold where you live? People always scrunch up their shoulders when it’s cold out. Do you sleep with your arm under your head? There are many reasons to get shneck pain. You have to figure out which one your facilitating. “Nerves” is one of those reasons.

  • Alex Gometz, DPT

    Prehab is a great way to start, however, I agree with all the options above when they are customized by a good clinician with experience in rehabilitation.

  • Vincent Regan


  • sherita coleman

    Will amphetamines cause a constant pain in upper arms and shoulders? Heart rate goes up pain intensifies. No relief no matter what I do.

    • Health Hub Team


      We strongly urge you to seek care from a physician. It is very difficult for us to know without a physical examination and medical history, but in some cases amphetamines can cause unsafe changes to heart rate and rhythm, which in turn can cause referred pain to left arm and shoulders. If you do not currently have a primary care physician and would like to come to Cleveland Clinic, please call 800.444.CARE. If this is a medical emergency, please immediately call emergency personnel (911) to get prompt medical attention.
      Dr. Kano Mayer

  • Lynn Ludam

    Been having numbness/tingling in left arm cause is from neck. Seen doctor today @ another very good facility and were going to try physical therapy, besides a lot of the pain has subsided since I made the appointment to see doctor. Plus it is on going since childhood not from accident. This is new on the left side and finding out it is from my neck.

    • ian

      i got the same problems but its all on the left side of my body I get pain in my left arm and left leg

      • Ginsengbull

        Me too. Knee, elbow, shoulder… I carry my cell phone on my left side.

        I wonder if that contributes.

        • kate

          yes wallets can be a big problem. i have heard of truck drivers with back issues . they dont realize how long they sit on wallet. it messes up your balance.

    • Nina

      Read book by pete egoscue pain free its awesome. And check out the egoscue video on you tube

  • adhesive capsulitis treatment

    A 30 year old man presented with increasing deep seated shoulder pain
    for the past 1 year. It was attributed to a work accident where his left
    shoulder was forcefully pusshed backward while supporting against a
    heavy container. He did not feel as if his left shoulder was dislocated
    but started to have deep seated left shoulder pain when performing
    overhead activity.
    adhesive capsulitis treatment

  • Scott Poynor

    Severe and persistent left shoulder pain was due to a splenic infarct, a potentially serious condition!

  • Joy Lisle

    what do you do for a reversed ‘c’ ?

  • ian

    hi I have a really bad neck pain for about four years now constant, I have also been having pain down the left side of my body and in my face aswell. I have been to the doctors and he sent me for an xray and the result come back and said that they was nothing wrong but I am still getting the pain

    • Rebecca

      Ask for a MRI I had severe pain in my shoulder and had several X-rays taken but they never showed a problem . I was sent to 5 specialists and finly got a MRI and on it showed my c7 vertebrae to be collapsing causing excruciating pain down to my fingers . Surgery was preformed and I’m 4 months post op now I have tremendous pain in my neck but shoulder ,arm and fingers are pain free . I would never have thought shoulder pain would result in neck surgery

    • marium

      MRI is very important for you

    • Debra MacCarthy

      me too Ian I had a mid back xray as the pain is so bad at times I can’t stand it! and the results came back with noting. I have not had a spine scan have you ?

  • imran

    Have severe right shoulder pain, seen doc 2 years ago and said I had a growth on my bone, needed operation. But couldnt do it at that time, went to a shoulder specialist today and there saying its my neck, so stressed out HELP

    • nina

      Buy book pain free by pete egoscue and do exercises has on you tube

    • Johnnie Brown Ennis

      Have they done an MRI of your shoulder and your neck recently? No one would be doing anything to me until they did a MRI of my shoulder and if it was clear, then a MRI of my cervical neck and spine. No one needs to guess at what’s going on. NOT AN XRAY, NOT A CT SCAN , BUT YOU NEED AN MRI. I pray all goes well for you. I don’t know where you live, but I would make sure the MRI was done. If it shows any type of growth , I would have them set me up an appointment with a doctor at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

  • Angela

    Neck pain for months. Doctor says its from shoulder. Does a tear in shoulder tendon actually cause neck pain?

  • beverb

    When is epigastric pain due to aortic dissection rather than stomach pain?

    • beverb


  • knee pain

    This may sound surprising and scary to several folks however
    the reality is that there rise of manufacturing plant and industrial kind jobs,
    together with a rise in farm work hands ANd an flow in workplace primarily
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  • zenabsabu

    Hi . I am 41 years old. Last one week my neck pain start.and than slowly slowly this pain move to my shoulder.i feel somebody inject inside.i think my nervs is pain is continue same .no improvment .pls help me

    • nina

      Look up Egoscue on you tube for neck or shoulder pain. It works wonders buy the book pain free from pete egoscue

    • Lovelygay

      I had carpal tunnel surgery back in 2008 and now i was diagnosed of bi-lateral epicondylitis and a sharp pain on my right shoulder that goes up to the back of my neck and back of my right ear.. Right now, i have discomfort at fhe bottom of my right jaw.. I am undergoing physical therapy right now but my condition i guess just got worse because of the stretching i’ve been doing.. Please help me with any duggestions

    • Dee

      I am feeling the same thing,s same place what is it please tell me .

  • dave

    I am 28 and have for the past 12 years had a dull non bothering shoulder pain that didn’t hurt much till about 5 months ago. I really started to notice pain back in May and it would go crazy if I had half of a 12 ounce bottle of beer. Not sure if that is related or how but very long story made short on September 16th I started to have back spasms and a week later the emergancy room told me I had shoulder birsitis. Two weeks go by and I notice I couldn’t lift the shoulder at all unless I manually picked ny arm up with my right hand. I was told it is rotator cuff tendonitis and told to see a orthopedic surgeon. About three days ago I notice an increase in pain and now neck and some back pain and when I move my head a certain way I get a tingly feeling that last for about 5 to 10 minutes. Can someone tell me what’s going on? All left side btw

    • bret

      Probaly a pinch nerve or torn rotator cuff screw the er go see a specialists

    • Health Hub Team

      We would recommend getting evaluated by your primary care physician to
      determine the cause of your pain. Then, if a referral is necessary, they
      would be able to recommend a specialist. If you would like an
      evaluation from a Sports Health physician, you can make an appointment
      at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health please call 877.440.TEAM (8326).
      HealthHub Team

    • Adena Amparano

      I had a lot of your symptoms and I was very low on vitamin D.

      • Adena Amparano

        After taking active vitamin D I felt much better. I was becoming stiff. Thanks to google and vitamin D i can function.

    • dama

      If you still have your gallbladder have it checked immediately

  • Henry Mark

    Neck and shoulder pain can be due to many reasons.Sometimes our modern lifestyle itself can be a cause.Activities like sitting hours in-front of desk can really fasten the process.You can know more how to treat with this here:

  • judy

    Once, after an accident, I had neck stiffness with some pain down to half way on shoulder and my arm, deltoid area, felt like it had a rubberband pulling it in. A hospital P.A. asked if my rib was broken on that side. Sure enough x-ray revealed fx rib.

  • Aurea

    My shoulder pain is slowly getting better.
    The pain is a achy and dull.. just like what you described. Have today.

  • Carebearz

    I get pain randomly on my left side but it’s lower shoulder pain (sharp like I dislocated it then after awhile it will just go away, if i feel it coming on I try to stretch my arm up and over the back of my shoulder)… Hard to pinpoint the exact spot because it’s almost level collar bone but radiates all over…

  • Hilary@shoulder pain treatment

    I am 35 years old and I am a housewife. From last two year I have facing serious shoulder pain. It was begins after giving birth of my 2nd kids. Is that shoulder pain have any relation with pregnancy ? Please explain me and also suggest me how can I get relief from this misery.

    • Melissa

      I’ve been facing chronic right sided shoulder and neck pain. I had a baby in 2012, so it started when she was 9 months old. Doctor said it was because of carrying a little one around and sent me for physical therapy which doesn’t help. A nurse friend says to demand a MRI.

      • Alice Jackson

        It could be your shoulder but it could be referred pain from your gall bladder. After having a baby a lot of women develop gall stones and other problems with the gall bladder. Watch after eatting for pain. Try and avoid greasey fried, fatty foods and see if that helps. See a Dr. Also for the pain!

  • Chris Prosperie Molaison

    I have been diagnosed with Arachnoiditis in both hips. It was recommended by my neurosurgeon to seek relief at one of four clinics including The Cleveland Clinic. Any info would be appreciated

  • SMB

    Since the ’70’s, I have had severe pain in my shoulder and neck, which would ‘come and go’. So severe I could not function on my job, and put me into depression. Then in 2003, my husband and I were in Cleveland, Ohio. He suggested we go to the Cleveland Clinic to see if they could help with the pain. There, i met Dr. Steven Samples, who gave me 21 shots of Botox. The pain started subsiding in 30 minutes. Since that day, I have had shots of Botox every 3 months, and this is the ONLY thing I have found that completely stopped the pain. They found I have a malady called Spasmotic Torticollis, and only—–3 people in 10,000 are struck by this severely painful illness.
    Botox is extremely expensive, like $6,000, so you would need good insurance.

    • Andrea Renee Boudreau

      I get Botox every 3 months for a poorly healed whiplash injury combined with out if control shoulder tension. Without the botox I get migraines everyday, horrible neck, head, and shoulder pain. Nothing else they told me to do or take helped. It’s a miracle.

  • Starfish Karen

    I have severe neck, shoulder and arm pain down to my fingers. It’s been going on for over three months. i was in the hospital for a upper GI bleed and they did an xray on my shoulder and found nothing. I do have a herniated disc in my neck I found out 10-12 years ago about it when I had a MRI. Do you thiink the neck is causing all this problem and pain? I can’t lift my arm hardly at all. been using moist heat and trying to do range of motion but just makes it worse. What should I do. i am 68.

    • Kim Ronkainen

      I had bad shoulder pain in 2006 and could hardly lift my arm as well. I had an MRI and it turned out I had a torn rotator cuff. You might want to ask for a MRI of the shoulder if you haven’t had one done yet. X-rays won’t show a tear. My surgeon told me range of motion exercises won’t help if it’s a tear.

      • Starfish Karen

        Kim, did you have surgery on your shoulder? And if so, how bad was it after surgery on the healing process?

        • Kim Ronkainen

          I ended up having rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders. With my experience, my arm was in a special sling that had a cushion piece placed between the arm and the body. The sling had to be worn for a month and I wasn’t allowed to use the arm for that first month. Physical therapy is a bit painful to get the range of motion back, but is worth it. Both shoulders are good now. Hope you find out what’s wrong and wishing you a speedy recovery.

          • Starfish Karen

            Thank you kim.:)

          • Kim Ronkainen

            You’re welcome. :)

  • Cindy

    was a firefighter (paid on call) in 2004, I fell off a parked fire truck and broke my left wrist. After 3 years of going doc to doc per workmen’s comp., found out I had 3 torn ligaments in my left hand and 1 in the right (corrected by surgery on ’07), CT scan of my neck showed C4, C5 & T1 have budging disc (still do – hard to move my head to look up – stiff). An Othro MRI showed that the Infra tendon cuff has a partial tear. Had a couple of rounds of PT for the shoulder that worked, Chiropractic care for the neck. Ice/heat as needed,Tylenol (pain) Advil (swelling) when necessary steroid shots. 2013, (now 57) I tore my left shoulder Supra tendon cuff 100%. Ortho Surgeon states that I will be off work for a year due to the type of work I do (as an independent contractor – if I don’t do my job today I do not have it tomorrow. I drive 100 + miles 5 days a week delivering a local paper). I pay for my own health insurance and can not afford the deductible, plus there will be NO income after surgery. If I can wait 5 more years, I will recieve my husbands disability and will be able to have the surgery. My question is, how long is it safe to do the steroid shots or take the medicine before it harms/side affects my system? Thank You..

  • Teresa Skelton

    I have left shoulder and left side of my neck that hurts.If I hold something in my left hand for a few minute it gos numb and the it start tingling.I’ve notice my sciatica starts in on my right side and gos down my leg and sometimes it feels like I have fire in my right foot on the bottom coming out.My right shoulder is also hurting and burning now.About 7yrs.ago I had a big TV fall on my right shoulder at work.I had 3 different times of therapy.It got to where it was making it worse.Even hurt in my chest.They disabled me 3%.I’m almost 56yrs.old and it’s getting to where I can’t work anymore. Any suggestions?

  • jodiblond13

    Lot’s of pain starting at the base of my neck, middle of my back just above my bra. Follows my scapula, down the back of my arm and numbness with tingling in my hand and fibgers. Work como Dr said it was muscle stain and didn’t even do xrays.

    • Alice Jackson

      Work comp drs are the worse. They’re paid not to find something wrong that is work related. See another Dr. Could be a pinched nerve.

  • Terry Hendrix

    I was working on my truck today and when I went to loosen a bolt I pulled hard and something popped loud in my right shoulder and now my arm and my back pain is so severe I can’t walk straight or lay back I’m in a lot of pain what do I do I’ve never had back problems

  • Gary Bridger

    I have suffered shoulder and neck pain frin the 80s after a tractor went into the back of my car, and yeas of ju jitsu on too. Im ok when working, most of the time. Its when I stop and rest. The ache starts, then pain moves up the neck and into my head., making head ache and eyes , if I sneeze, this also gives 3 to 4 days of sickening pain. I have been to consultants, waste of money, all say the same, pain killers or op, 50 percent work or worse. I hear of a new op that inplants a micro mesh, this pulls all the nerves and things togethers, very succesfull, in th uk, I could do with this, as this effects my enjoymentbof life, makes me irritable, im a diver, photographer, so lifting and carrying bags is a way of life. Any help.?

    • Health Hub Team

      We would recommend being evaluated by your primary care physician to determine the cause of your pain. Then, if a referral is necessary, they would be able to recommend a specialist. If you would like an evaluation from a Sports Health physician, you can make an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health please call 877.440.TEAM (8326).
      HealthHub Team

  • Dee

    I started with an eye twitch that lasted a week and a half. Then the “tightness” started moving down the right side of my face. Then, it started pain in my neck behind my ear into my shoulder and sending shooting pains down iron my fingers. I went the the Dr. They said pinched nerve but didn’t do any testing. Now it’s going into my lower back and down my right leg. Has anyone had this?

  • 4realvideos Ike

    I have constant slight pain above right shoulder blade what should I do. Help please.

    • HealthHubTeam1

      I would recommend being evaluated by your primary care
      physician to determine the cause of your pain. Then, if a referral is
      necessary, they would be able to recommend a specialist.

      -Eric Ricchetti, MD

  • Carine Weisbrot Nadel

    rt. shoulder was already compromised when I was nearly killed in a car accident. since then I’ve endured countless injections in both shoulder/neck. pain radiates from shoulder down to hand and the opposite way to shoulder blade and up neck. I have RA, degenerative discs (C3-5, L3-5, S1-2). have gone through 3 muscle relaxers, gabapentin, the epidurals, PT (which made all this WORSE) and I can’t take pain meds-make me sick to my stomach. Plus-I have severe osteoporosis and levo scoliosis

    • hankf68

      I feel ya, although my accident was on heavy equipment (I rolled a dozer down a mountain side, a track broke and caused it), was in hospital 10 days, I have had 4 back (lumbar completely fused) 4 knee (3left, 1right), 3 shoulder (1left w/pins and screws, 2right, 3rd surgery just 3weeks ago) and 3 other minor ones, now I have (been hurting over a year and is very bad now) a pinched nerve in my neck and my surgeon said we would deal with it after my shoulder surgery heals and I too cannot take their narcotic meds, so it sucks indeed, good luck to you and remember, you aren’t alone in your suffering. :)

      • Carine Weisbrot Nadel

        thank you! I know a support group/cyber pal is a good thing to have. I have one RA buddy who, while we’ve never met, is wonderful for the both of us to have-it’s a commiseration team that no one but us understands. Our husbands are more than fantastic, but only we know what the other is going through

        • hankf68

          You are welcome, it is always great to have support from those who understand and who have walked in your footsteps. I haven’t ever been in a support group and no one in my family really understands, so sometimes I comment on sites such as this and sometimes people reply, that help some when I am real down, so thank you. I hope you find some relief and comfort and wish you the best. I will check out the support group if want to give me the name of it.

          • Carine Weisbrot Nadel

            hank, demanded to see another shoulder guy-this one is a sport’s med spec. He said b/c of my osteoporosis, no surgery. too dangerous-but he sent me to his “A++” PT team. In less than 2 weeks, a lot of hard work on both their and my part-my shoulder is moving! No spasms and even though it hurts-I am feeling very helpful. Yeah!

          • hankf68

            That is great news, any relief is a good thing indeed, keep up the hard work and I hope you find more help and relief from pain, peace always :)

  • zennit

    i m 21 i feel same back neck pain and i hardly move it start when i return from gym plz help me

    • Health Hub Team

      It is recommended that you get an evaluation from a Sports Health
      physician. To make an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health
      please call 877.440.TEAM (8326).
      HealthHub Team

  • CottonCandyKiss

    I have pain between my left shoulder blade when I slept on my side. It did this on my right side first, but after that pain stopped the left one started to hurt. It was so painful that I could not turn my head and had to take pain killers. I went to see my doctor and she told me to do some therapy exercises. It’s been five years and the pain has not gone away. Does anyone know what it is? I am thinking I’m going to see my doctor again and ask for an MRI because some days it is hard to turn my head or lift my left arm without it hurting.

    • Health Hub Team

      It is recommended that you get an evaluation from a Sports Health
      physician. To make an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health
      please call 877.440.TEAM (8326).

  • lancenugget

    I am a sixteen year old male, and get very little exercise. Last year, i took a lifting class, but dropped it after two days because i was so sore. Ever since, i have had a dull ache in my upper arm (both arms).It spread over time to my shoulders, then my back, and now its up to my neck. Please help. is my E-mail.

    • HealthHubTeam1

      It is recommended that you get an evaluation from a Sports Health physician. To make an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health
      please call 877.440.TEAM (8326).

  • shar

    Have had terrific. Numbness. In both arms and then shoulder pain, then finally. Neck pain. Finally got an mri, among too many dx’s effacement of the thecal sac is stated at least four times. What does this mean?

  • brian

    Hi im 20 and my shoulder hurts from front to the back by the cuff and got severe pain all over from the left side of my neck is stiff, can barly move neck and shoulder my arm is tiggley and this happend in football with no pads tackling someone and they hit a wall and my left shoulder hit his body didnt hurt till my heart slowed down its a pushing, pulling, stiff and burning pain so should i go see a doctor and what do you think my problem is?

    • Health Hub Team

      We would recommend seeing a sports medicine physician since this happened during football. Should you like to see one of our sports and exercise physicians, please call 877.440.TEAM.
      HealthHub Team

  • ryan

    I hurt my neck and shoulder lifting in 3/2014. Tried P.T. and during traction my BP and heartrate spiked up to 190/130 and 140. Normally 120/60 50. Sent to E.R. and taken off of work and PT for 6 months with no treatment. Now I am with a new doctor and have had a semi clean MRI, meaning burring in 2 locations, small disc buldge, and arthritis in 3 locations. Had a clean EMG, clean XRAYS, 4 Steriod injections only lasted 4 days. Restarted PT through Accelerated Rehab, but am getting worse. Mobility is reduced to less than 20 degrees to the right and 50 degrees to the left. Starting Aslym treatment today. Have tried pain killers, muscle relaxers, anti inflammatory, and every other type of med and no help. Is there anything else I can do to get better?
    29 yr. old male

    • Health Hub Team

      We would recommend seeing a sports medicine physician since this
      happened during exercise. Should you like to see one of our sports and
      exercise physicians, please call 877.440.TEAM.

  • alan_1969

    I have had a Cat Scan, MRI and X-rays, done on my neck, due to intense pain and nothing is ever found. After reading this article, things do make sense. I have injured my right shoulder back in 1992 from a fall. I’ve learned to live with the shoulder pain, but after reading this article, it could be connected to the pain in the back right side of my neck, which usually hurts extremely bad when my blood pressure is up.

  • Lisa Desjardins

    About a year ago I had back to back elbow surgery due to a bad car accident. Epicondylitis and nerve repair the first surgery then more nerve and muscle repair as well as bone scrapping. About three months ago I started having shoulder pain (still had the elbow pain) and just last week the pain has traveled into my neck. Unable to get into see surgeon until next week and was wondering what this could be. Please help. I’ve been taking Advil and Tylenol as directed and doesn’t work.

    • Health Hub Team

      Your best option would be speaking with a physician. If you
      would like to see if we can accommodate you sooner, you can call our
      appointment line at 866.275.7496.

  • Gary Bridger

    Hi i live in borneo. However something that has been noted.. my last visit to the doctor , revield my uricacid was high agai , this is like a yo yo. Then i started to getpain in my big toe. After i been in the push photographing insects, I wondered if i got stung, treated it with hot water. THEN weeks later googled it, as id did not go away , and came across gout. Putting two and two together , done more research, changed my diet to what was recomended and drank none filtered water with bicarb in, now , the pains in my neck from after work have subsided. If this is fact, time will tell. I am wondering as us who like to do sport and like my self diving , running and eat allot of high protine foods, , uric icid could be the key to why we get re a couring pains. So i have ginny pigged my self , taki g note mentally to whats going on in my body. If i lamd up free of pain in the next month. Then this is the answere, watch this space. As i have allot of travelling and off shore work soon. So if this does not work out, I will look at seeing this sports specialist .

  • Gayla

    I have had several whiplashes in my life. The first from a car wreck (when I was 19), then a farm tractor accident (28 years old) and then from falling out of the top of a barn on to my head (45 years old). This August (I’m 53 now) I got ran over by a sheep and fell on my elbow and hit my head. My neck and shoulder blade area are causing a great deal of pain. I have been to a chiropractor an have had x-rays in the past. All say spinal stenosis. Any suggestions you may have?

    • Kim

      Physical therapy

  • Tammy R. Bayless

    I’m a 48 year old female I had neck surgery 2 years ago in march and I still have a headache I have had one for over two years now I have been hurting in my neck,shoulder and arm. I also have a tumor in my left arm that is where most of my pain is. My arm and left side sometimes goes numb what should I do?

  • Kian

    I have just suddenly got realy bad pain in neck and both my shoulders last night but I don’t have much movement in my left arm (can’t hold it up or lift withought the help of my other arm) the pain can get worste than kidney stones I’ve prevously experienced, only my second day of pain and restricted movement but I’m scared for my aprenticship in boatbuilding

  • Chassie Hightower

    I am 32 years old for about the last 3 weeks my right arm/shoulder between the base of my neck and the top of my arm has had this sharp burning stabbing feeling it comes and goes but when it comes it stays around for several hours. Not sure what or why or how but if anyone has any idea please let me know.

  • courtney

    I’m 13, for them past months I’ve had horrisble neck and shoulder pain I went to the doctor she said I have a torn legiment and a pinched never but that was a 6 weeks ago and the pain is only getting worse. What should I do?

  • lavina

    Hi,I am 29 year old , I get severe pain in my left shoulder , from shoulder to left thumb. This happens only when i lay down usually or sometimes when I walk fast. I am also suffering from thyroid and treatment is on fron last 4 months.Can someone tell me whats should I do? is it because of thyroid?

  • Mary

    My husband has pain in his right shoulder and pain in his left side, he has been taking voltaren but it doesn’t help, could shoulder and side be connected even though on different sides

  • Victoria

    I am 24 years old I have been having pain it begins in my neck then my neck and all the way across my shoulders begin to burn EXTREMLY bad what can this be from

    • HealthHubTeam1

      I’m sorry but we cannot answer your question over the internet.
      I would recommend an initial evaluation with your primary care physician who can then determine if a referral is necessary.

  • Ricardo

    I have this pain on my right shoulder and arm for the last 3 days that came out of no where. Is this related to anything? I haven’t done anything physically to cause it.

  • mj

    After a bout with the flu in Dec. 2014, I developed a dry cough that is triggered by speech and movement. It has progressively gotten worse. I often experience SOB with slight exertion (carrying laundry, washing hair). In the past several months, I have noted hand and grip weakness, slight swelling in my elbows and hands and significant neck discomfort (sharpness in the front and tightness in the back). Massage and Physio seem to cause increased symptoms and no relief. I have had a multitude of tests (CT neck and lungs, xray of hands and chest, bloodwork, PFT, Gastroscopy,Speech pathology, Swallowing Assessment, ENT assessment..)all negative. I am now having discomfort in my elbow/forearm,picking up even a coffee cup. I occasionally have low abdominal cramping as well. Up until this point, I was an active healthy 50 y/o female. Any ideas?

  • Juana Ramos

    Im 24 female. Left arm, shoulder, and neck has been hurting for about 3 weeks now. My arm is now starting to numb, not sure what to do. Husband doesn’t want to go to doctor if its nothing bad. So please someone is there any idea as to what it could be. Thank you

  • Shane

    My pain started in my right shoulder and eventually went up into my neck and down my entire arm. The arm now goes dead off and on. I had an MRI and the Neurosurgeon says that I have a bone spur at the top of my spine pressing on the nerve that goes all the way down my spine. He has told me I need surgery but I’m very reluctant.

  • Linda Smith

    A chiropractor really helped me with my neck and shoulder pain. I would recommend you try a chiropractor before cortisone shots or surgery. Probably similar to having physical therapy, but a chiropractor has more schooling than a physical therapist. My pain was due to arthritis in my neck possibly due to an old whiplash injury.

  • kb

    I too had shoulder and neck pain; it was so bad it kept me out of work and caused problems and threats from work that “I must do something about it”, after months of seeing my Orthopedic doctor and my Neurologist, no one could tell me where the pain was coming from. The pain test on your arm is the very worst! don’t want to scare you but beware. Two Orthopedic doctors told me that I had the worst case of a torn rotator cuff that they had ever seen, and that I needed, get ready for this, a shoulder replacement! But I could not have one until I was 70 years old. No way was I going to believe that. I ended up having surgery on my neck and had my C4-C5 disc removed, and now I have no more pain.

  • Pamela Pace

    I started having neck shoulder and arm pain. It’s stabbing pain when I move any higher than my chest pain reaches mostly to my elbow but does at times go to lower arms started on left arm and moved to my right. Inflammation of my arms. Neck is always in pain but the neck pain is different the pain in shoulder and arm pain are severe and the only time the pain stops is to keep arms still. I lay on a heating pad for my neck but early in the morning when I have slept for awhile I wake up in serve pain in shoulders and arms. General practicer. Thinks barcal. Neuritis. Going to neurologist for treatment.

  • Tim

    Had a minor procedure done on the right side of my neck and now of late i have started having some pain on my right shoulder.Please help.

  • Kevin C

    I am 30yrs old and have been suffering with severe right shoulder pain for nearly two years, it started with a crackling/popping sound just under my collar bone then progressed to severe pain in my neck, upper and lower back, right torso/rib cage, front and back of shoulder and burning/tingling in my right hand!

    I have been attending hospital and physiotherapy but the pain and stiffness is only getting worse, it is so bad some days that I can hardly move at all, I have been prescribed pain killers and anti inflammatory pills but they only take the edge off the pain.
    This has been going on for two years and is far worse now than before I started any treatment.
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated as I am at my wits end and am considering a clinical neglegance claim against said hospital

  • Talli

    Hi im 28, I was having severe neck and shoulder pain (both sides) for a couple of weeks, after a pretty intense massage from my husband the left side stopped hurting, but the right side seems to have intensified, it feels as if my shoulder blade is tearing away from the muscles in my back when I try to move my arm, and when I turn my head it gets to a certain point and then feels like if I move it even 1 more mm that my neck is going to snap, jus feels like there’s a lot of resistance? I’ve seen my doctor and due to family history had blood tests to check for arthritis and vitamin D deficiency but all came back clear, Any ideas?

  • AnthonyNJennifer Badillo

    I have a really bad pain right under my right shoulder blade. I feel like it’s something inside. I can’t get the pain to go away. It hurts so much I can’t stay still. It happened all of a sudden about a week ago. I also noticed my right arm feels weird also like heat or something maybe numb…I don’t really know how to explain it but the pain doesn’t go away and has gotten worse. I thought it was only when I sat down or stood up but even when I lay down I still feel the pain. I don’t work out and haven’t moved anything and this definitely doesn’t feel like I pulled something. As crazy as this sounds I have punched the area and just try to apply pressure to see if it will go away but nothing. I can’t sleep because it hurts. I have tried stretching my arm and all kinds of common things and still nothing. I have also been having breast pains and slight bloody nipple discharge from only o e breast but that’s on the opposite side so I’m not sure it relates. Someone help

  • Tammy

    31 years old, work in a physically straining job as a nurse aide where at times i have 30 ppl to take care of over time my pain has become noticable but i would say in the last 4 months i have new pain burning and stabbing in both shoulders, back of neck and at times radiates down my arm and makes it hard to write being that i am in nursing school. also, seen the dr. Refused to take xrays, mri, or cat scan said im too young and its just inflammed now its more persistant, seen a chiropractor when this began and he said my spine was rotating the wrong when i brought his xrays in to my dr. He refused to look at them and said your spine is meant to move. To get into a new dr will take 6 months at best. I try ice, more and heat, stretching only gives relief when im doing it, and i feel the same after im done working out? What should i do until then it is becoming unbareable, the only thing that helps is laying down which is not an option all the time

  • Valerie Dimitrijevic

    I am only 13. Got in a bicycle vs car accident (me being on the bike) under a year ago. I had a spinal injury with my brain Changing position And numbness in my hands due to nerve cut offs in my neck. I got those fixed by a chiropractor. But he now himself got in a car accident. I now have full coverage pain on my shoulder blades and back of neck… what should I do, we do not have alot of money to pay for a doctor. The pain is constant stabbing and stinging and to just make it worse I have a sever sunburn… what should I do… I’m free to answer anymore questions that need to be asked to help my case.

  • Darnell

    When I tilt my head back my neck and shoulder hurt. And it is an ongoing pain, I try and massage it but can’t find the spot to massage

  • Kat

    I am 29 and have pulled my left shoulder out of place quit a few times on top I have fallen on my shoulder a bunch of times as well as rough house and getting slammed to the floor landing on it. I am asked to get x Ray and see an orthopedic person, my left shoulder blade is up and out to far as well as Dr said that side is to thin, she also said I had a hard not and asked if I could feel it. I said no my shoulder cuff has been my biggest issue here. When I release the muscle and relax the joint I feel pain on side and inside the cuff, if I sleep I must sleep on my back since pressure keeps me up and sleeping on the right gravity takes toll on my left shoulder and I feel pain. She said rehabilitation only I have no idea what is thinking it could be or why I am asked for x Ray as well as to see orthopedic. I thought it was a simple week muscle or tendons and just doing strength exercises would be what I would need. I feel confused as to what could really be going on. I am nervous it might be more than just wee muscle. But than I told her that is not possible that is the shoulder I use to carry all my heavy weighted bags when I am walking on a daily bases if anything left side should have more muscle than the right. So I am totally lost as to what to expect of x Ray and what kind of x Ray I am to get since it is a referral. And not much info was given about my left shoulder cuff pain I have had for 12 years with it locking above certain hight and for one week now it’s a consistant annoying dull pain even though I have made of it for a week now. Does any one know what I am looking at for treating it, just possible treatments for it.

  • Richard Washburn

    My pain is when I move my head to the left and down its behind the right shoulder blade the doctor I’m seeing has given me a steroid shot meds.for swelling pain meds muscle relaxers and nothing is helping going to try some therapy last resort. Need help …

  • Amy Bray

    I have some of the worse pain in my neck and right arm and I have 2 fingers that are completely numb after a mri on my neck it showed a 8 mm hole leaking spinal fluid is there anything I can do to relieve the pain I can’t handle it much longer…thanks

  • strengthtrainer

    I have burning pain radiating from my lower neck into my right shoulder and my upper arm – sometime it’s electric shocks or stabbing pain – the burning is intense and terrible. I am a strength trainer and had a pinched nerve in c4 three years and think it’s back – any fixes for this? I have tried PT, massage, ice, heat, yoga, a tens machine and the list goes on – steroids as well but they don’t work and I wont’ take pain meds.