Neck pain is one of the major reasons people visit doctors regularly, and it is frequent in women than men. It is usually caused by poor posture, overexertion, a wrong sleeping position, an injury, or stress. This sharp pain can also result from arthritis or an injury where the neck suffers a rapid, forceful whiplash (back & forth movement).

On the other hand, shoulder pain tends to arise from injuries, i.e., tendinitis or strains.

Treat It First With Exercise

The first treatment for neck and shoulder pain is exercise. Stretch and strengthen your neck muscles through regular exercise. Research has shown that exercise works better than any treatment or medication for treating shoulder and neck pain. Apply the heat therapy for up to fifteen minutes periodically for the first few days after the injury. Remember to place your neck on a pillow and place pillows under your knees when lying on your back. This acts as the needed support for your neck and shoulder. This also keeps your head and neck in a neutral position.

If there’s a need for further relief, you can get painkillers like naproxen (Aleve & generic) or ibuprofen (Advil & generic).

If That Doesn’t Work

Try physical therapy alongside exercise. This technique is effective on persistent shoulder and neck pain. Recent studies have shown that people can get relief from neck pain through physio in one to four sessions. The best way to do this is to work with a physical therapist to improve your posture. For instance, a physical therapist will teach you how to position your neck and head when working on your computer or talking on your phone.

In a nutshell, consulting a cognitive-behavioral therapist is one of the best techniques for overcoming neck pain. This is because you get to learn stress-reduction and relaxation techniques, which help you reduce stress-induced pain.

Get to an Emergency Room

The pain may result from a car crash or a recent fall, which could cause a severe issue such as a dislocated shoulder. This pain can be sharp, running from your shoulder to one or both hands and the jaw. It may come with sweating, dizziness, or shortness of breath which could be signs of a heart attack.

Do not do this

Try to avoid cervical traction. Do not let a physical therapist pull your neck. Studies have not shown this to be of any help to a person with shoulder and neck pain. Do not also take too many injections; frequent steroid shots have weakened the neck muscles. Also, note that Botox injections are no better than placebo injections.

Prevention is preferable to cure, so prevent it first.

Regular exercise and stretching can help prevent muscle spasms, the core element that triggers shoulder and neck pain. You can also try out acupuncture. According to a November 2015 research in the Annals of Internal Medicine, frequent exercise and stretching can greatly ease the neck pain of persons with chronic symptoms. In the alternative therapies survey that we carried out in 2011, forty-four percent of persons with chronic neck pain stated that acupuncture helped ease the pain significantly. Try to buy a new pillow based on how you like to sleep. Back or side sleepers should get small pillows. This keeps the neck in a neutral position. Do not sleep on your stomach. Back sleepers should also avoid sleeping on pillows that pitch their neck forward.