How You Get Shoulder-Neck Strain and How to Treat It


Shoulder-neck strain is a common condition that causes pain and discomfort in the neck and shoulder areas. Shoulder-neck strain can be the result of many problems. However, treatment methods can effectively treat the condition. Getting to know about the causes can make you understand better about the treatment. So let’s start.

What causes shoulder-neck strain?

Shoulder-neck strain is the result of strain in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments in the neck and shoulder. But, it is not the result of a problem in the disk or nerve.

Neck contains many structures. Neck protects the spinal cord, provides support to the head, and allows the head to move up, down, or side to side. Because the neck is flexible, it is vulnerable to injury.

Shoulder is one of the largest joint in your body. It is made of upper arm bone, shoulder blade; muscles; tendons; and many other soft tissues. As you use your arms to do many actions, your shoulders are prone to pain.

Shoulder-neck strain can be triggered by some common activities, such as:

  • Poor position in daily activities. You may get shoulder-neck strain if you keep hunching over when driving a car, looking down to text on your mobile phone, or leaning forward to work on a computer.
  • Heavy lifting. When you lift heavy objects such as a large bucket full of water, a suitcase, or a table. Your muscles, tendons, ligaments may suddenly be damaged or worsen over a long period of time.
  • Poor sleeping position. You sleep in a poor position with poor support equipment such as an unsuitable pillow; a too hard or too soft bed for nights.
  • Accidents and injuries. A traffic accident, an injury in sport or in daily life can also lead to strain in the neck and shoulder.

Risk factors that lead to shoulder-neck strain

Some risk factors which contribute to strain include:

  • Lack of activities. Your muscles can become weakened and are prone to injuries.
  • When you are tired, your muscles provide less support to the joint. They may also be unable to stand the pressure from your actions.
  • Improper warm up. Warm up is very important before you start doing sports. Warm up help you set your muscles in active mode, prevent them from getting injuries.

Can shoulder-neck strain be treated?

Most minor shoulder-neck strain can heal in a short period of time. But you can use some method to help relieve pain and discomfort.

Cold packs

The cold can decrease the size of blood vessels, reducing inflammation in the area. The healing process can be promoted. You should apply cold packs for 20 to 30 minutes within 24 hours. Cold packs can be ice packs, frozen vegetable packs, or cold compress bought at the drug store. Remember not to put them directly on your skin to prevent cold burn.


The heat can increase the size of the blood vessels, promoting the flow of nutrient-rich blood to the area. Some people prefer moist heat, some prefer heat compress. You can try a hot bath, hot shower; or applying a hot compress to the neck and shoulder. These may help. But be careful with burn.


Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen helps reduce inflammation, or acetaminophen can help reduce the perception of pain. They both can work in your situation.


Massage can help stimulate blood flow in the neck and shoulder, which help in healing process. Gentle massage can also help relax your muscle, which reduces muscle spasms or tired muscles. Massage can be done by bare hand or with massage oil.

What to think about?

Prevention is the most effective treatment for any medical problem. You can prevent shoulder-neck strain by taking some simple steps.

  • Do exercises every day to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck and shoulders.
  • Build up warm-up routine before you do sports. Warming up only takes 5 to 10 minutes.

Do proper exercises gently. Do not suddenly change the position or the level of intensity. Everything takes time.

Shoulder-neck strain can be the result of injuries, poor position, or other damage to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments in the neck and shoulder areas. Most of them can get better at home after one or two days. However, some treatments can help you with pain and discomfort during the healing process.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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