Neck shoulder pain referral

malc7747 Member Posts: 73
Hello everyone,

Can some one please explain how the pain referral works ?

1. I get pains in my neck which I have been told is due to my shoulders.
2. I get pain in my shoulders which I have been told is due to my neck.
3. I get pain in the middle of my back in the muscles which is due to both my neck and shoulder.

Its no wonder I get confused about whats happening behind my back with my neck and shoulders.

many thanks

:?: :?:


  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 3,578
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Malc

    Referred pain is a complex question and you'd probably get a more comprehensive answer from an allied health professional such as a physiotherapist. We're just educated (allegedly) lay people here, but I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my ability.

    Many ligaments and muscles are attached to the spine and fan out from the neck to the shoulder blades and back. The muscles control movements of your head. The spine protects the spinal cord from outside damage while still allowing you to move your head in any direction.
    The nerve roots in the neck join to form the nerve trunks that run into your shoulders and arms. Impulses travel along these nerves, sending sensations such as touch and pain to the brain and messages from the brain to the muscles.
    Over time changes occur to the discs in the spine.
    The discs become thinner and this causes the spaces between the vertebrae to become narrower. Also, 'spurs' of bone, known as osteophytes, form at the edges of the vertebrae.
    When these changes cause pain it could come either from the linings of worn joints or from stretched ligaments.Sometimes, bulging discs or osteophytes pinch the nerve roots and this causes pain or numbness that travels from the neck into the shoulders and arms. I've not heard of it happening the other way round though i.e. from the shoulders into the neck. Which is why it would be best to ask a professional.

    Best wishes
  • malc7747
    malc7747 Member Posts: 73
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your reply and explanation.

    I think its when people (like me) have problems or some one knows another person who has the same problem they know the frustration in trying to understand what is going on.
    Until things go "wrong" in a person we don't need think about how the neck/shoulders/vertebrae and muscles all work together.

    I am now booked in to see a specialist in a few weeks and hopefully will have the answers to all my questions (hopefully).

    thank you once again Paul for your time.