How are the neck and shoulder linked?
Your neck is the bridge between your head and your trunk. This sturdy moveable bridge houses different structures, some anchored to your shoulderblade. This link between your neck and shoulders means that issues in the tissues can lead to problems in the other area.
Our muscles are essentially pulley systems that allow movement. The levator scapulae, trapezius, and scalene muscles attach to both the shoulder and neck, via insertional sites on the collar bone, shoulder blade, vertebrae, or base of the skull.
If you suffer from neck pain that travels to your shoulder, with distinct “nervy” features, it may be caused by nerves. “Nervy” pain for lack of a better word, are all those weird and wonderful sensations that’s difficult to explain or make you feel nervous to describe it. Pins and needles, numbness, warm or cold sensations, ants crawling up and down your skin, increased pressure, as though you have a very tight shirt on. The brachial plexus is an interlinked network of nerves from the neck that merge and diverge to ultimately form the three main nerves of the arm, the radial, ulnar and median nerves.
Read these articles if you would like to know more about specific structures of the neck and shoulder.
Physiotherapists spend years studying how to examine to find the culprit causing a specific shoulder or neck pain, sometimes the original problem is clouded by numerous other things that went wrong and we are skilled to start unpacking the problems one by one.