How to Tell if Your Shoulder Pain is Actually Coming from Your Neck!

Do you have pain in the back of your shoulder? Some of the time that pain is coming from your neck, but let’s take a look see!  We look down a ton as a society. In doing so, we put a repetitive and constant stretch on all of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This mechanism of “stretch” is what commonly causes mechanical joint pain. If you are a typical patient (80%) your pain gets worse when the majority of time you are bending forward, and especially if sitting for long periods of time such as driving or working at a desk.

Let’s try this exercise to test if your shoulder is coming from your neck.

*(Use a towel, dog leash or belt) *

  1. Perform a seated extension, seated rotation, and different shoulder ranges of motion to determine your baselines. 
  2. Sit and relax against the back of the chair.
  3. With the edge of a towel placed at the base of your skull and pulling towards the eyebrows, lift forward and upward and fully extend your head and neck over the chair. Return to the starting position. 
  4. Perform 10 reps
  5. Recheck the baseline movements and see if your pain has decreased in the shoulder or your range of motion has increased.
  6. If either one of those is better, your pain is actually coming from your neck!
  7. If your pain starts traveling further down your arm or your pain increase, stop this exercise and contact a medical provider.
  8. The goal of this exercise is to take the pain traveling down into your arm L (peripheralization) and help it to move up your arm J (centralization), towards the center of your neck.



**If the pain starts traveling down your arm further STOP and contact a medical provider**
If the pain moves up the arm (for example was in the finger, but now it’s only to the elbow, or the intensity decreased) then the pain is definitely coming from your neck!

If you want to learn more about The McKenzie Method® click HERE or Here for a video!