Dealing with Right Shoulder and Neck Pain

It starts as a little ache or tension in your right shoulder. Maybe you think you just slept on it wrong or strained a muscle exercising. But soon the discomfort spreads up into your neck and doesn’t seem to be going away on its own. Right shoulder and neck pain like this is common, especially among women. But it can significantly impact your daily life if left untreated. Getting to the root cause and finding the right treatment is key to feeling better.

Possible Causes

There are a few likely culprits behind persistent pain isolated in your right shoulder and neck:

  • Poor posture – Slouching at a desk job or looking down at your phone strains the muscles between your neck and shoulder. This causes them to spasm and tighten. Maintaining proper upright posture can help prevent and treat pain.
  • Pinched nerve – There is a network of nerves that run from your neck down through your shoulder. If one gets compressed or inflamed, it can radiate pain. Things like herniated discs or bone spurs can pinch nerves.
  • Rotator cuff injury – The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in your shoulder. Overuse through repetitive motions or sports can cause rotator cuff tendinitis or tears. This will make your shoulder ache.
  • Osteoarthritis – Wear and tear damage to the joints where your neck and shoulder bones connect can lead to stiff, sore joints. Osteoarthritis often develops with age.
  • Referred pain – Sometimes a problem elsewhere like your heart, lungs or gallbladder can cause pain that is felt in the shoulder and neck area.

Seeking a Correct Diagnosis

Trying to self-diagnose shoulder and neck discomfort often leads to delayed treatment or incorrect assumptions. Make an appointment with your doctor for an exam. Based on your symptoms, medical history and specific areas of pain, your doctor can determine what is causing discomfort. Diagnostic tests that may help pinpoint the issue include:

  • X-rays to see bone injuries or arthritis
  • MRI scans to view soft tissues like nerve and muscle problems
  • Bloodwork to check for underlying conditions

Effective Treatment Options

The right treatment will depend on the cause of your shoulder and neck pain. Common options that can provide relief include:

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen to reduce swelling
  • Physical therapy exercises to improve mobility and posture
  • Chiropractic adjustments to relieve muscle knots or pinched nerves
  • Orthopedic care like steroid injections for arthritis or rotator cuff repair surgery
  • Lifestyle changes to reduce strain on your shoulders like ergonomic equipment

Dealing with persistent shoulder and neck discomfort can be frustrating. But seeing your doctor promptly for an accurate diagnosis and following their recommended treatment plan can help you finally resolve this pain and get back to your everyday activities. Don’t just try to live with it – take steps to target the source of your upper body pain.