Can Shoulder Bursitis Cause Neck Pain

Can Shoulder Bursitis Cause Neck Pain

Summer is associated with days filled with vibrant activities, from beach outings to nature hikes.

But for many, there’s an unwelcome companion that can overshadow these sun-drenched days – neck pain.

Shoulder bursitis, often overlooked, can play a significant role in this discomfort.

Imagine gearing up for a summer holiday, only to be hindered by a persistent ache in your neck, making every turn of your head a chore rather than a joy.

This blog delves into the often-unseen connection between shoulder bursitis and neck pain, offering insights and solutions as we reach Summer.

Understanding The Link Between Shoulder Bursitis and Neck Pain

While neck and shoulder pains are often treated as distinct issues, they are more interconnected than one might think.

Shoulder bursitis, a condition marked by inflammation of the bursae (small fluid-filled sacs) in the shoulder, can lead to pain that radiates up into the neck.

This pain can be particularly aggravating when you’re trying to enjoy your holiday activities. Understanding this link is crucial for effectively managing and treating the pain.

How Shoulder Bursitis Can Cause Neck Pain

While neck pain isn’t a direct symptom of shoulder bursitis, it can be present in addition to shoulder pain.

Here is how the pain can radiate to your arm:

Referred Pain:

  • Nature of Referred Pain: Referred pain occurs when pain from one part of the body is felt in another. In the case of shoulder bursitis, the inflammation and irritation in the shoulder can trigger pain signals that are perceived in the neck area. This can be misleading and often makes pinpointing the true source of pain a complex task for both the patient and the practitioner.
  • Diagnosis Challenges: Accurate diagnosis requires a thorough understanding of how pain radiates in the body. Health professionals often need to conduct comprehensive examinations and sometimes use imaging techniques to distinguish between neck pain originating from the neck itself and pain referred from the shoulder.

Compensatory Movements:

  • Unconscious Adjustments: When your shoulder is in pain, you may subconsciously start using your neck and upper back muscles differently to minimize discomfort in the shoulder. This might mean holding your neck rigidly while moving your arm or adjusting your posture to offload the painful shoulder.
  • Resulting Neck Strain: These altered movement patterns and postures can lead to additional strain on the neck muscles and joints. Over time, this strain can manifest as stiffness, discomfort, or even chronic neck pain, as the neck muscles become overworked to compensate for the shoulder’s limitations.

Muscle Imbalances:

  • Impact of Bursitis on Muscles: Shoulder bursitis can lead to a disruption in normal muscle function around the shoulder girdle. Some muscles may become tense and overactive to protect the joint, while others may weaken due to reduced use.
  • Effect on Neck Muscles: These imbalances around the shoulder can affect the neck. Overactive muscles in the shoulder area can pull on the neck, causing tension and pain. Similarly, weakened shoulder muscles can lead to the neck taking on more load than it is accustomed to, resulting in discomfort and potential injury.
  • Altered Biomechanics: The neck and shoulder are closely linked in terms of movement and function. Muscle imbalances in the shoulder can lead to altered biomechanics when performing everyday activities, further exacerbating neck pain and potentially leading to a cycle of pain and dysfunction in both areas.

Ways Osteopaths Can Help With Neck Pain

Holistic Assessment:

Osteopaths don’t just focus on the site of pain, they consider the body as a whole.

This approach is particularly beneficial in cases where shoulder bursitis might be contributing to neck pain.

Manual Therapy:

Techniques like massage, stretching, and mobilization can be employed by osteopaths to relieve both shoulder and neck pain, addressing the root cause and the symptomatic area.

Personalized Exercise Programs:

Osteopaths can provide tailored exercise regimes that focus on strengthening and balancing the muscles in the shoulder and neck, reducing the risk of pain recurrence.

Ready To Say Goodbye To Neck Pain? 

Waking up to neck pain can be more than a mere inconvenience; it’s a barrier to fully enjoying the summer holidays. But here’s the good news!

This November, at Focus Osteopathy, we’re offering a FREE Neck Pain Assessment.

Our experienced team is here to help you understand the root causes of your discomfort and guide you towards effective, personalised solutions.

Take advantage of our FREE Neck Pain Assessment. 

During this session, you’ll have the opportunity to consult with one of our resident osteopaths.

They’ll help identify the root causes of your discomfort, offering personalized advice and unwavering support.

If this sounds like the answer to the pain that you’ve been searching for, arrange your FREE Neck Pain Assessment by filling in our simple web form or call our Mount Waverley or Murrumbeena clinic at 1300 003 007 and a member of the team will be happy to help!

Other Free Resources For Shoulder Bursitis and Neck Pain

Read Our Blog – 5 Things That Will Not Help Your Neck Pain

Read Our Blog – 3 Ways To Get Rid Of Neck Pain After Waking Up

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