Stiffness in the neck and aching in the shoulder region can lead to a restriction in movement which when performed is often accompanied by pain. Common causes are muscular strain or soft tissue sprain and these may arise from how the neck is positioned during sleep, adopting a slouching posture whilst working at a desk or driving, prolonged stress with accompanying muscular tension, impact injuries whilst playing sport or holding the neck in an abnormal position for periods of time, e.g. holding a telephone between the neck and shoulder. However stiffness can also arise from osteoarthritic changes in the joints of the neck, from a herniated disc between the neck (cervical) vertebrae or a narrowing of the space through which the spinal cord travels.
Treatments are cause specific but generally the application of systemic anti-inflammatory medication and local, topical patches and gentle neck and shoulder based exercises.
This information is for general educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a healthcare professional. The information should not be relied upon to make decisions about your health. Always consult your family doctor or pharmacist about your individual circumstances.