Helpful Information

5 Common Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain

Often, neck and shoulder pain is experienced simultaneously. Whether it comes after an injury or from gradual wear and tear, this combination can significantly reduce your range of motion, thus affecting your everyday routine. 

Before treating your pain, it’s important to find out what’s causing it. Below are five of the common causes of shoulder and neck pain. 

Cervical Herniated Disc

The neck, also known as the cervical spine, houses six intervertebral discs that separate the vertebrae. We often compare these discs to the jelly inside of a doughnut. When the jelly (aka discs) is squeezed out of the donut (aka vertebrae), it can cause compression in the nerves, creating pain and weakness in the neck, shoulder and spine. Cervical herniated discs can vary by severity and are caused for several different reasons. In most cases, it’s recommended that people suffering with this condition consult a spine specialist to determine the best course of action and pain management protocol. 

Muscle Strain

There are several muscles connected to both the neck and shoulder, including the levator scapulae (scaps) and trapezius (traps). A strain in either of these muscles can cause pain and stiffness. If you are performing exercise or labor that involves the muscles around your neck and shoulders, we recommend properly warming up and stretching to prevent a strain.

Poor Posture

Many of us spend a significant portion of our day behind a desk, reading texts and emails on our phone, and in the car. If you have poor posture and spend too much time sitting, you may begin to experience shoulder, neck and upper back pain.

Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative disc disease. For many, our spines degenerate as we age. Sometimes this degeneration can cause your spinal nerve to become depressed or inflamed which can lead to pain that radiates from the neck down into the shoulder.

Stinger Injury

Collisions can cause the neck to bend sideways, causing the nerves to overstretch between the neck and shoulders. This type of collision is called a stinger injury. This type of injury results in a shock-like pain that shoots down the arm. It can also cause tingling, weakness or numbness. Sports collisions are often the common cause of stinger injury.


Dr. Bendt P. Petersen is an orthopaedic and neurospine surgical specialist with over twenty years in operative clinical practice. He is a fellowship-trained surgeon whose practice is the only one in the Mobile-area devoted exclusively to the treatment of your spine.

The Center for Spine Health employs the most advanced operative and non-operative therapies in concert with the most highly-trained physical therapists and other advanced ancillary practitioners to help you live the life you want to live.

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