Pain in the neck and shoulder occurs when the muscles, bones, nerves, arteries, veins, ligaments, and other supporting structures in the area are adversely affected. Even serious conditions like heart attack cause pain in the neck or shoulder area and are known as "referred pain." Apart from simple strains, a broken collarbone caused by a fall, a broken shoulder blade, injuries to rotator cuff muscles at the shoulder, inflammation of the bursa that provides a cushion effect to the muscles and joints, and injury to structures such as ligaments or muscles in the neck and shoulder area can also cause pain.
Pain in shoulder and neck can be described as sharp, dull, burning, or stabbing pain. Pain is often accompanied by various symptoms like weakness, numbness, chilliness, color changes, swelling or deformity. Although neck and shoulder pain caused by minor sprains or strains can be easily treated, pain caused by serious injuries, or trauma demand hospitalization, surgical repair and other rehabilitative measures.