Neck & Shoulder Pain – Treatment tips for the New Year!

We all know at least one person who suffers from pain into their shoulders and neck region. The type of pain can vary from dull to a sharp pain in the muscles surround our neck and are aggravated upon movement of the neck or by resting the neck in a constant position.

Chronic Neck and shoulder pain is mainly caused by traumatised and fatigued muscles and ligaments of the neck. Underlying causes can be disc bulging and facet joint locking. The most common causes of neck and shoulder pain that I see in my clinic each day are (a) people who have suffered whiplash in a car accident where muscle damage was never fully rehabilitated and( b) people who sit incorrectly at their desk whilst working or studying, (c) drivers who sit with their head tilted forward and elbow elevated on the armrest of the car.

Correcting these occupational sitting dysfunctions is essential in order to alleviate the resultant shoulder and neck pain. When we sit in a forward leaning position, with our neck tilted forward for several hours, or when we have a shoulder constantly elevated whilst on the phone or because of the arm rest in the car, we cause the muscles that surround our neck to tighten. These tightened neck muscles develop trigger points which are fibrotic knots in the belly of a muscle, and notoriously refer pain into the temples of the skull which is often mistaken for migraine. These Trigger points of the fatigued shoulder and neck muscles are aggravated by turning of the head when driving or when holding the weight of the head in a forward tilting position for long periods such as when staring down at a computer screen.

By addressing the following points, you can then commence the road to recovery from the torment of shoulder & neck pain;

  • Sleep with one pillow

  • Adjust your desk chair to ensure your knees are bent at 90 degrees

  • Sit tall and adjust computer screen so that your eyes look directly at the centre of the computer screen.

  • Don’t slouch whilst driving & keep both hands on the steering wheel!

  • Under the guidance of a Physical therapist commence an exercise strengthening program of the muscles of the neck and spine.

Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy and is based in Thurles.

Contact Number: 0504 26672

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Physiotherapy & Injury Rehabilitation Clinic in Tipperary

0504 26672


The Surgery, Fianna Road, Thurles


Riverside Medical Centre, 7 Upper

Irishtown, Clonmel

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