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Why Everyday Activities Can Cause Neck And Shoulder Pain And What You Can Do To Change That

Have you ever had a slight pain from your shoulder to your neck but didn’t really think it was a big deal, especially if you knew it was because you slept awkwardly? Yes? I thought so. I hear this quite often from my clients when they first come in to see us – they’ll mention the annoying pain that’s going on in their shoulder or base of their neck. 9 times out of 10, they think it’s something that will “just go away” on its own.

But here’s the thing – it doesn’t always “just go away”! Think of your shoulders like this: Your neck sits on your shoulders and supports one of the most vital parts of your body – the skull and the brain. There are muscles in your shoulders that go up along your neck and can be related to pain. Now ask yourself this – do you still want to brush off that neck pain you’ve woken up with this morning? I thought not.

Has This Ever Happened To You?

Some of the main reasons as to why we shouldn’t brush off shoulder or neck pain is because we all have ways in which we make it worse. We don’t mean to, but sometimes our lifestyle gets in the way! Have you had your hair done recently? It can often be an enjoyable experience, but have you ever considered how your muscles feel? When you’re getting your hair washed in the basin, do you make sure the chair and basin are adjusted accordingly? The seats are meant to adjust for a reason! Poor alignment can pull on your shoulder and neck muscles. Also, sometimes it can take a while to wash your hair, especially if they’re giving your hair a treatment too. So how do we get past this? Next time ask for the basin and chair to be adjusted accordingly.

Maybe you’re a keen swimmer? I always recommend swimming as it’s great for your joints, however the type of swimming you do can sometimes have an effect on your body. If you like to swim in a front crawl position, then be aware of your neck. Turning your neck constantly, creating a repetitive motion can take its toll on your neck. This neck tension easily translates to your shoulders as pain and tightness. It’s sometimes possible to over-use muscles and tendons in the neck so take extra care. Next time you go swimming, try alternating your swimming type to a breast-stroke position.

It Can Happen With Movies, Tech or Books Too

Been to the cinema or to see a show recently? Another way in which you can often get neck pain is by putting your neck in an awkward position for a long period of time. So when you are watching something at the cinema, think to yourself, are you looking up at the screen, or straight ahead? If so, try and get a seat further back, so that the performance is at eye level. Not only will this ease neck and shoulder pain but it will also allow you to focus and enjoy the performance more!

The above also goes for book and tech lovers too. If you’re looking at your phone or reading a book for a long period of time then you may start to feel the strain on your shoulders too. After a hard day at work, your bed can sometimes feel as if you’re being greeted with a big hug as you get in bed and sleep. However, how many of you have woken up to neck/shoulder pain, so much that you can’t physically turn your head? Me too. If this happens to you quite often, try changing your pillow to one that allows more support.

In Closing…

This tends to be why we get pain when we sleep. If your neck doesn’t have the support for your head then your neck will feel as if it’s in an unnatural position and as a result, causes a stiff neck in the morning. If you do have a stiff neck or shoulders in the morning then please don’t drive. Not only will this make it harder to drive, you may also make your neck pain worse with quick movements! Many of the above things we do in our everyday life and it can’t be helped. Only now that we have identified how neck/shoulder pain is caused, can we adjust our routines.

The author, Jennifer Penrose, is a Physical Therapist and owner of Penrose Physical Therapy. If you have any questions about neck and shoulder pain, you can call on (360) 456-1444 or email


The new episode of “Stay Healthy South Sound” – Dr. Penrose’s monthly podcast – is now live! This month she interviewed Christine Kulhawik, Licensed Acupuncturist and Certified Functional Nutritionist. She owns Watershed Wellness in Tumwater, WA and you can find them here on Facebook or visit them online at Topics include benefits of acupuncture, who it’s for and how it works (including its connection to your immune health). Listen to it today at these links!


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Don’t Forget To Check Out Jen’s Book, “Run Forever”

Dr. Penrose just released her first ever book with a focus on running injuries, why they happen and how to prevent them to keep you running forever. Jen is an avid runner with nearly 20 years’ experience in treating and preventing running injuries. She also holds a board certification in orthopedic specialization, lending even further experience and clinical expertise. Jen has poured her heart and soul into this book hoping to bring a combination of her own passion for running and her clinical applications that have made her a leading physical therapist helping runners throughout our community.

Many of us have either increased our running or recently taken it up as a form of exercise during this time of social distancing. With that comes the risk of overuse injuries and other issues. Keep yourself moving and healthy by grabbing the book today! Topics include shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, hamstring injuries and more! Not only that but you’ll help a small business owner during this time from the comfort of your own home! Click the link below to grab it today!


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Jennifer Penrose

Penrose Physical Therapy

"Leading Experts Helping People Become More Active and Mobile, Reduce Stress and Achieve Longevity… So They Can Enjoy Great Health For Years to Come!"

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