Pain in the neck and shoulders can be caused by many different factors, including:

  • Abnormalities in the bone or joints
  • Trauma
  • Poor posture
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Tumors
  • Muscle strain
  • Strains from overexertion
  • Tendonitis from overuse
  • Shoulder joint instability
  • Dislocation of the shoulder
  • Collar or upper arm bone fractures
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Pinched nerves (also called radiculopathy)

Pain can occur in only the neck, only the shoulder, or in both places, depending on the underlying cause.

Mild cases of neck and shoulder pain are often treated with over-the-counter pain medications. Depending on the source of the pain, other medications, such as muscle relaxers, may be prescribed. Local corticosteroid injection is often helpful for arthritis of the shoulder. For both neck and shoulder pain movement, exercises and physical therapy may help.