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How to Resolve Right Neck and Shoulder Pain

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Neck and shoulder pain are common among working adults. Besides poor posture, many adults also have physically demanding jobs. These can lead to injuries along the neck and shoulder. If left untreated, pain can become chronic and debilitating. This will affect your daily functioning and mobility.

But is there a way to get rid of right neck and shoulder pain? There are several home remedies that can ease your symptoms. You also have the option of over-the-counter painkillers. Of course, posture correction is a long-term solution that can help minimize injuries and degeneration. There are also non-surgical approaches that can work for chronic pain.

Diagnosing Neck and Shoulder Pain

Before your medical team can work on resolving pain, it’s important to find the root cause first. Most cases in adults are caused by sports injuries, poor posture, and long-term muscle fatigue. These can lead to damage to the muscle or nerve fibers along the neck and shoulder.

Common Causes and Affected Muscles

There are multiple muscle and joint injuries that can cause neck and shoulder pain. A common cause is soft tissue injury, caused by damage to muscles and joints around the area. These are often accompanied by stiffness, migraines, and spasms. Rotator cuff tears can also cause pain. These happen when the tendons holding your upper arm get torn due to trauma. This is common in sports that require heavy use of the arms, such as badminton and tennis.

As people get older, rotator cuff tears become more common. Blood supply significantly decreases as people age, leading to a higher risk of damage to the tendons. Tears can even happen suddenly, causing immediate and intense pain around the shoulder. If the cause of your pain is a rotator cuff tear, expect that reaching movements will become painful or difficult.

Another common cause is whiplash in the right neck and shoulder. This happens when your muscles tear due to a sudden movement in the neck, typically in car accidents. Commonly affected muscles include the sternocleidomastoid, trapezius, and scalenes.

Related Conditions

Cervical osteoarthritis is an umbrella term for the degeneration of spinal discs. This is related to aging and becomes more common in adults over the age of 60. As people age, their discs become more rigid. This makes movement more difficult and painful. If you have cervical osteoarthritis, you may also have a pinched nerve that causes radiating pain along the shoulder.

Although rare, pain along the right shoulder can be caused by gallstones. Although the gallstones primarily affect adjacent organs, the pain can become intense and radiate from the abdomen. Contact your doctor if you also have nausea or vomiting alongside the pain.

People who experienced a heart attack may also develop neck symptoms. If you feel sudden pain along the neck, back, or jaw, it can be related to a problem with the cardiovascular system. The sudden onset of pain should be considered a medical emergency if it’s debilitating and intense.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Conservative Treatment Options for Right Neck and Shoulder Pain

Right neck and shoulder pain usually resolves on its own. However, pain due to an injury or long-term condition can affect daily functioning. There are many home remedies that you can use for instant relief. These can be done using common household items and are effective against acute pain.

1) Home Remedies

The use of warmth or cold has long been documented. A heating pad or warm compress can help bring down swelling and pain in the area. You may alternate it with an ice pack for maximum effectiveness. Feel free to repeat this procedure up to 5 times a day.

Gentle massages can help with muscle strains. If you’re having trouble reaching the affected areas, you can take a tennis ball and place it between your back and a flat surface. Roll the ball around the areas to reach the pressure points.

A shoulder wrap can help you recover from acute pain. Mild sports injuries can be resolved by restricting movement in the affected area for a couple of days. You can ask your nurse or doctor about getting a wrap or bandage. Of course, you should also refrain from returning to sports so soon after the injury. Depending on the impact of the injury, you may need a couple of weeks or months to make a full recovery.

2) Over-the-Counter Medications

If the pain becomes intense, you can take paracetamol for short-term relief. Make sure to follow the packaging instructions to prevent overdosing. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin also work, but they’re not advisable for those with underlying conditions. Before taking any painkillers, notify your doctors first. They may prescribe you alternatives for your safety.

3) Posture Correction

Many adults fail to maintain proper posture during their daily activities. It’s easy to forget to keep your neck in an upright position while working a desk job. If you’re working from home, you can get an ergonomic office chair for proper posture. In the office, you can ask your supervisors if arrangements can be made to accommodate your condition. There are also braces that you can use for neck and shoulder support.

Other Treatment Options at The Spine and Rehab Group

A multi-disciplinary approach is helpful for patients who don’t respond well to home remedies and over-the-counter medications. Combining minimally invasive treatments can help make recovery faster. These treatments are all available at The Spine and Rehab Group, administered by our team of doctors and specialists.

1) Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a common solution prescribed for patients with chronic pain issues. To address your injuries and muscle issues, physical therapists can create a treatment plan specifically for you. This plan may include exercises for your neck, shoulders, and upper back.

Therapists may also incorporate a patient education plan into your treatment. This will include discussions and resources that tackle the causes of your injuries. Your therapist may also give you recommendations about incorporating hourly breaks into your work routine. You’ll also be taught stretches that you can do at home to help with healing.

Your physical therapist may also use manual therapy. Direct spinal manipulation and tissue massages can help with pain relief and long-term muscle relaxation. Manual therapy will be done on a case-to-case basis, and not all techniques will be useful for all patients. But if effective, the massages may be continued at home through self-administered movements.

2) Medical Massage

Medical massages are another manual treatment method used for shoulder and neck pain. While it’s a part of physical therapy treatments, therapists can also use them to target specific areas.

The goal of medical massages is to remove tightness and tension around the neck and shoulder. Pressure from the massage helps the body release endorphins, minimizing pain response.

3) Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a popular non-surgical approach for painful conditions. In this procedure, fine needles are used to target trigger points beneath the skin. The needle insertion process is painless, with each needle only measuring 0.5 to 2.5 inches.

Like massages, acupuncture stimulates endorphin release to minimize pain. Your acupuncturist may use a reflexology map to cover all possible trigger points associated with right neck and shoulder pain.

4) Electrodiagnostic Medicine

Electrodiagnostic medicine is used to help the doctor check for long-term illness and injury along the neck and shoulder. A common method is electromyography (EMG), a procedure that checks on the muscles and nerves in a specific area. It’s especially useful for patients who have acute and intense pain due to injury.

Your doctor may recommend an EMG if you’re also experiencing numbness or weakness in the arms. The EMG can help identify the cause of unexplained pain, especially if a pinched nerve is suspected. The results will help you decide which treatments to pursue for long-term relief.

Safe and Effective Pain Management at The Spine and Rehab Group

Not all treatment plans are applicable to all patients. You’ll need to find out the cause of your pain by consulting a licensed and credible specialist first. At The Spine and Rehab Group, we have a team of licensed therapists and doctors with extensive experience in pain treatments. We offer a wide range of therapies—from acupuncture and physical therapy to electrodiagnostic medicine.

All our clinics get consistently high approval ratings from clients. We’ve also received the award for Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors from 2014 to 2021. If you’re looking to get treatment for your neck and shoulder pain, feel free to browse our website or give us a call at 833-847-7463.

Page Updated on Nov 11, 2022 by Dr. Hosny (Interventional Spine Specialist) of The Spine & Rehab Group
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