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Our body is a complex system and its working too is quite complicated. It consists of several bones, muscles and ligaments, which are directly or indirectly connected with each other. Therefore, damage to any of these interconnected bones and muscles, leads to pain and problems in multiple areas of the body. Neck and shoulder pain is an example of such interconnected pain.

Well, the most common cause of neck and shoulder pain is injury. An injury of a severe type, either to the neck or the shoulder, or both can lead to pain in both areas. However, the intensity of pain depends upon the severity of the injury.

Bursa is a cushioning sac which enables efficient and smooth movements of the joints and the muscles. Swelling in the bursa can lead to
bursitis, which can further stimulate pain and inflammation in the neck and shoulder area.

The shoulder consists of an important part called the rotator cuff. Due to excessive stress on the shoulders through physical activities, the rotator cuff can get injured and therefore, if the injury is of a serious nature, then it could stimulate pain to the shoulder and neck region.
Sometimes, there would not be any injury, damage or fracture to the neck and shoulder muscles, yet one can experience neck and shoulder pain. The reason behind such pain could be structural abnormalities in the positioning of muscles, bones, ligaments and other essential parts of the neck and shoulder region. Problems such as structural abnormalities can lead to neck and shoulder pain after sleeping.
The neck and shoulder region also consists of tendons, which act as connecting channels between the muscles and bones. Tendons get damaged on account of excessive or overuse of the muscles by heavy exercises and activities.  This could trigger swelling and thereby lead to pain and inflammation in the individual, which would further develop tendonitis.
arthritis can occur in the cervical spine (spine of the neck). This condition can lead to pinching of nerves, which could trigger neck and shoulder pain, either separately or at the same time. Damage to the shoulder blade can also cause shoulder and neck pain.

Heart attacks, disorders associated with lungs and spinal cord, dislocation of bones and muscles (either permanent or temporary), improper positioning while sleeping, stress, etc. can also be other causes of neck and shoulder pain, stiffness and discomfort.

Neck and shoulder pain can be irritating as well as troublesome. Therefore, treating it is necessary to avoid complications such as permanent dislocation of joints and muscles, aggravation of damage, etc. Physical therapy is one of the most effective treatment measures for neck and shoulder pain relief. This includes neck and shoulder pain exercises which help in alleviating the pain and also prevent future occurrences. However, performing the exercises regularly and frequently is necessary in order to get relief from the pain. Despite
physical therapy being an effective treatment, it is not the only treatment. In fact, there are many other remedial measures and the treatment largely depends on the underlying cause. In many cases, pain killers or anti inflammatory medications are effective. However, a doctor's prescription is necessary before making use of any of the remedial measures.

Be it a mild or a sharp pain, medical intervention is necessary, as the causes of neck and shoulder pain differ from person to person and so do the related treatments.

By Ujwal Deshmukh


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