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If you are experiencing cervical pain in the neck or shoulder pain, the specialists at Apex Manual Therapy will identify the root cause to effectively and efficiently provide relief.  Whether you're experiencing upper or lower neck pain, a pinched nerve in the neck, stiffness, sharp pains, chronic neck, and shoulder pain, we can help.   


Our advanced physical therapists have obtained the highest level of orthopedic physical therapy training and are recognized as Fellows of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (FAAOMPT).  This educational achievement is beyond the doctorate level and guarantees the gold standard care for musculoskeletal conditions.  


One-on-One Shoulder and Neck Pain Treatment

At Apex Manual Therapy each visit is spent entirely one-on-one with a fellow, to provide the very best shoulder and cervical pain treatment. If you are in the greater Austin or Pflugerville, TX area, schedule a free consultation with our advanced therapists.  We guarantee you’ll see the difference in our approach and your results. 




Neck and Shoulder Pain Treatment Options

The cervical spine and shoulder function as a team and must be assessed together.  We will discuss your shoulder and neck pain symptoms, possible causes and options for shoulder and neck pain treatment that can provide you with relief.  If performing any recommended shoulder or cervical pain treatment causes increased neck pain symptoms, please stop as this is a sign you are performing neck therapy incorrectly. 

3 Primary Causes of Shoulder and Neck Pain

There are 3 main causes of acute or chronic neck and shoulder pain: poor posture, faulty movement, and macro trauma.

Poor Posture:  

Did you know the human head weighs around 10 pounds when held in the correct posture? The more forward the head, the heavier its weight becomes thus putting increased pressure on the joints and strain on the muscles.  













The best posture provides the least amount of strain on the body, allowing it to function optimally and protecting it from injury. The better your posture is, the more neck and shoulder pain relief you’ll experience. 

Posture is more than a sitting position. Posture is the position we hold our body when resting or performing tasks such as kneeling, squatting, reaching, or sleeping. When the neck and shoulder move away from optimal posture, repeatedly or for extended time periods, you may experience: 

  • A sharp or stiff neck

  • Neck muscle spasms

  • Headaches

  • A pinched nerve in the neck

  • Constant or chronic neck and shoulder pain


Since the shoulders connect to the neck, the shoulders must function in a position which places the least amount of strain on the neck.  An easy way to assess shoulder position is by looking at the clavicle (collar bone). Good shoulder posture is when the AC joint is slightly higher than the SC joint.  (For the purpose of this article we are only discussing one of the most common postural faults; depressed shoulders, there are other faulty postures which could result in neck and shoulder pain).






Good posture is when the AC joint is 15-20 degrees higher than the SC joint.













Below is an example of poor posture with depressed clavicle and shoulder.



Improving upper body posture and depressed scapulae is the best chronic neck pain treatment if poor posture and depressed scapulae are the cause.





Let’s discuss a common movement dysfunction of the neck and shoulders that could result in:

  • A pinched nerve in the neck

  • Stiffness

  • Sharp or severe pain

  • Back of neck pain

  • Neck muscle spasm

Cervical rotation syndrome is a condition where the neck rotates as the arm is lifted. If your neck is not strong enough to oppose the pull from the scapula (shoulder blade), the scapula will pull the neck into rotation.














In the video to the left, notice how the neck rotates as the arm is lifted.  In the video to the right, the patient learned how to properly raise his arm to prevent neck rotation, relieving neck pain.  See the next video for how this patient was taught to raise his arm correctly. 

This is just one common type of incorrect movement that can cause shoulder, lower neck and/or upper neck pain. A therapist at Apex Manual Therapy can provide a thorough physical to determine if movement is causing your shoulder and cervical pain.
















Macrotrauma is a single incident causing injury such as a motor vehicle accident or falling off a ladder.  Macrotrauma is less common than everyday injuries such as faulty posture and movement dysfunctions. Pain relief from neck pain caused by macrotrauma must include assessment for possible fractures, ligament ruptures, and vertebral artery dissections.  


Our physical therapists at Apex Manual Therapy can help determine if any red flags are present, which may warrant an x-ray or referral to an orthopedic surgeon.  If red flags are not present, it is safe to proceed with physical neck therapy treatment. Physical therapy treatment after a macrotrauma is focused on rehabilitating the injured structure to speed recovery and return you to moving pain-free. 


Get the neck and shoulder pain Relief You’ve Been Looking For

Call 512-298-3903 to request a free consultation or schedule a physical therapy appointment online today!

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