Neck and Shoulder Pain : Osteoarthritis, Causes, Treatment

Originally posted on September 30, 2022 @ 5:02 pm

There are many distinct types of neck and shoulder pain. Some people only suffer from pain in their neck or shoulders, while others experience pain in both places.

Causes of Neck Pain?

Neck pain has a variety of causes, such as:

  • Abnormalities in the joints or bones
  • Trauma
  • Improper posture
  • Generative illnesses
  • Tumors
  • Strained muscles

What Brings About Shoulder Pain?

As a ball and socket joint, the shoulder has a wide range of motion. An injury is more likely to occur in a joint that is so dynamic. One or more of the following conditions can result in shoulder pain:

  • overexertion-related strains
  • Tendonitis caused by overuse
  • shoulder joint instability
  • Dislocation
Neck and shoulder pain
Neck and shoulder pain
  • Bone fractures in the collar or upper arm
  • Crushed shoulder
  • Tense feeling (also called “radiculopathy”).

Shoulder and Neck Pain Diagnoses

Plain X-Rays can show fractures, narrowing of the spinal canal, malignancies, slipped discs, arthritis-like disorders, narrowing of the space between two spinal bones, and instability of the spinal column.

MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a minimally invasive technique that can show the specifics of neurological (nerve-related) components as well as issues with tendons and ligaments. Occasionally, myelography or CT scanning is employed in place of MRI.

Electro Diagnostic Tests: Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) and electromyography (EMG) are sometimes used to find the cause of arm, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as numbness and tingling.

Treatment of Shoulder and Neck Pain?

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen are frequently used in the treatment of soft tissue neck and shoulder pain (Aleve or Naprosyn). It could also be advised to take painkillers like acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Antidepressants  Depending on the cause of the pain, medications such as muscle relaxants and even antidepressants may be beneficial. Localized applications of cold or moist heat are other methods for treating pain. Injections of local corticosteroids are frequently beneficial for shoulder arthritis.
  • Exercises could be beneficial for pain in the neck and shoulders. Surgical techniques can be required in cases when the spinal cord or nerve roots are affected. Your doctor can recommend the optimal course of treatment for you.

Osteoarthritis Treatment

Degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, is the most prevalent form of arthritis. It is connected to the cartilage in a joint deteriorating. In healthy joints, cartilage, a strong, rubbery substance, covers and cushions the ends of the bones. Its major purpose is to act as a “shock absorber” and reduce joint friction.

The cartilage in a joint becomes stiff and loses its suppleness as a result of osteoarthritis, leaving it more prone to injury. The cartilage may lose some of its strength over time, drastically reducing its capacity to absorb trauma. Tendons and ligaments stretch and hurt when the cartilage wears away. If the problem gets worse, the bones can start to rub against one another and cause even more pain and movement loss.

Neck and shoulder pain
Neck and shoulder pain

The most prevalent age groups for OA are middle-aged and older people, and the severity of its symptoms can vary greatly. Nearly every joint in the body can be affected by the illness, although the hands and weight-bearing joints, including the knees, hips, feet, and back, are most frequently affected. More often than men, women are affected.


Osteoarthritis symptoms

Osteoarthritis symptoms include:

  • Joint pain and discomfort, especially while moving
  • Discomfort brought on by overuse or prolonged inactivity.
  • In the middle and end joints of the fingers, there are bony expansions. There is a chance that these enlargements will hurt.

READ ALSO Knee Pain : Causes and Treatment

Causes of Osteoarthritis?

A person’s likelihood of getting OA can be influenced by a variety of circumstances, such as:

  • Obesity. Osteoarthritis of the knees, hips, and back might be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight or shedding extra pounds. Losing weight may also slow the progression of OA.
  • injury. A person’s chance of developing OA may rise if they sustain joint injuries through accidents, sports, or work-related activities. For instance, athletes may be more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee if they have sustained knee-related injuries. Those who have suffered serious back injuries may also be more likely to develop spinal osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is more likely to develop in a joint of someone who has broken a bone close to it.
  • Heredity. Some people inherit a flaw in one of the genes encoding the protein that builds cartilage. As a result, joints may degenerate more quickly and develop faulty cartilage. Osteoarthritis is more common in people who have atypical joints, and it is more common in people who have abnormalities of the spine (such as scoliosis, a spinal curvature).
  • joint abuse The risk of getting OA is increased by overusing some joints. For example, people who have jobs that require them to bend their knees a lot are more likely to get OA of the knee.
  • Age. Age is a risk factor. However, research has demonstrated that OA is not a necessary component of aging.

Osteoarthritis diagnosis

A physical examination and a patient’s medical history are used by doctors to diagnose OA. Combining the following factors allows for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis:

  • A list of the symptoms
  • Where and how is the discomfort occurring?
  • X-rays may be used to confirm a diagnosis and rule out the possibility of another type of arthritis when certain problems are found during a physical exam.

Blood tests are performed sometimes. Although blood tests cannot specifically show anything that can help a doctor establish the presence of OA, they can help the doctor rule out another type of arthritis.

The doctor may perform a procedure known as joint aspiration to remove some of the fluid that has built up in the joints of the body. The fluid can then be looked at with a microscope to make sure there aren’t any other problems.

Treatment of Osteoarthritis

The goals of treating OA are to lessen discomfort and enhance joint mobility. The following treatments are available:

  • Painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory drugs are available over the counter. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), naproxen, acetaminophen (Tylenol, for instance), and ibuprofen (Aleve).
  • Topical Treatment To reduce pain and inflammation, several drugs can be applied topically to the skin of the affected areas as creams, rubs, or sprays.
  • Exercise can make joints move more easily and make the muscles that surround joints stronger. It is advised to perform gentle workouts like swimming or walking on level surfaces because they put less strain on the joints. Running, high-impact aerobics, and other such activities should be avoided because they aggravate joint pain. If you have arthritis, find out which fitness program is ideal for you by speaking with your doctor.
  • Weight control: Shedding additional pounds can reduce stress on joints that support weight.
  • Prescription anti-inflammatory pain relievers: these aid in the reduction of joint discomfort and swelling.
    Some people with osteoarthritis may benefit from receiving these medications via injection.
  • Drugs including Euflexxa, Hyalgan, Orthovisc, Supartz, Synvisc, and Synvisc-One are available.
Neck and shoulder pain
Neck and shoulder pain
  • Cymbalta was initially licensed as an antidepressant, but it is now used to treat pain from osteoarthritis and other conditions.
  • You can use hot showers or baths, heating pads, or cold compresses to treat these conditions.
  • Joint protection tools: These can assist in keeping sore joints from being overused or stressed.
  • Integrative therapy: Research has shown that acupuncture can help people manage their discomfort. Even though the research is mixed, there is some indication that the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin may help some patients with osteoarthritis, particularly in the knee. According to numerous studies, SAMe may, in some cases, be more effective than prescription anti-inflammatory painkillers. Other nutritional supplements, particularly herbal ones, can sometimes ease the discomfort associated with OA. To determine whether these are appropriate for you, consult your doctor before using them.
  • Injectable steroids. These strong medications can be injected by your doctor right into your joint to help with
  • Pain relief. They might harm the joints if used too regularly.
    When osteoarthritis pain is extremely bad and other therapies are failing, doctors may recommend stronger painkillers like narcotics.
  • Surgery: Some people may require surgery to manage their persistent joint pain after other forms of treatment have failed.

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