Neck Tendonitis

What is Neck Tendonitis?

Neck Tendonitis is not a common diagnosis but it can happen. Neck Tendonitis is inflammation that occurs within a tendon that runs through the neck. 

 It usually happens near the insertion of the tendon at the bone. Tendons are fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendonitis can develop inflammation from an injury strain or from repetitive strain. 

What Causes Tendinitis of In the Neck?

Neck tendonitis can come from excessive stress on the tendons in the neck.  Poor posture can also contribute.Neck Tendinitis

Symptoms of Tendonitis of The Neck

Neck tendonitis can become very painful and limit your ability to perform daily activities. It can limit the ability to move your neck in various direction. This can affect your ability to drive, dress, sleep, and perform homework or sports activities. Some symptoms can include:

  • Pain within your neck or pain that radiates down to your scapula (shoulder blade)
  • Stiffness limiting the ability to move your head/neck
  • Swelling around the area
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Creaking or grating with motion.

Which Tendons are Neck Tendons?

Tendons in the back of the neck include:

Anatomy image of the back of the neck with labelled muscles and tendons including trapezius, semispinalis, splenius capitiusTendons in the Back of the Neck

Tendons in the front the neck include:

Anatomical diagram with labels for the tendons and muscles of the front of the neck. Includes Sternocleidomastoid, platysma, and trapeziusTendons in the Front of the Neck

Can Neck Tendonitis Symptoms Cause Shoulder Pain?

The quick answer is yes. The neck and the shoulder are connected in many ways. The nerves that control the shoulder and arm come from the neck.  Any irritation in the structures of the neck can cause pain to radiate to the shoulder and arm.

You can have a shoulder problem and a neck problem at the same time. Here are some simple ways to help determine the source of your symptoms.

  • Does movement of the neck cause the shoulder to hurt?
  • Does movement of the shoulder cause the neck to hurt?

Common patterns of neck pain include pain radiating from the mid to lower neck, to the shoulder blade, and down the arm.  As the problem improves, the pain is often more local to the neck. 

Common patterns of shoulder problems or shoulder tendonitis pain are sharp or pinching pain with lifting the arm to the side. Some people can also develop stiffness or inability to full raise the arm.  This can be frozen shoulder or Adhesive capsulitis.

Neck Tendonitis Treatments

  1. Stop doing things that hurt. Pushing through pain only makes the inflammation worse. 
  2. Try rest and ice for 2 to 3 days.
  3. Try gentle movement after a few days of rest.
  4. See a doctor if pain persists.

Woman working at a lap top computer and grabbing her neck with her left hand due to neck tendonitis and neck painNeck Tendonitis

A doctor may order x-rays or MRI films if there was trauma involved with the neck tendonitis.  

Learn how to stretch your neck while you're at work by clicking HERE.

When to See a Doctor for Neck Tendonitis

  • Pain does not improve within 3 days
  • numbness or weakness in the arms
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Neck Pain came from trauma (car accident or a fall)

Physical Therapy For Neck Tendonitis

Physical therapy is usually the first line of defense with neck pain or neck tendonitis. A physical therapist will address:

  • swelling
  • soft tissue limitations
  • joint stiffness
  • weakness
  • pain

Physical Therapy tendonitis treatment interventions may consist of modalities for pain and inflammation:

  • electrical stimulation
  • ultrasound
  • moist heat
  • ice
  • laser therapy 
  • manual therapy  
  • stretches 

Click to learn more about cervical tendonitis and The JOI Foundation

Neck Doctors in Jacksonville

If you have neck pain or think you may have neck tendonitis, the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute can help. Our doctors and therapists know how to treat tendonitis of the neck and get you back to your life!

To schedule an appointment for physical therapy at one of the 12 JOI Rehab Centers, please call 904-858-7045.

To Schedule an appointment with a JOI Neck Specialist, call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below. 



Ehren Allen is a physical therapist and medical content writer for the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute.Ehren Allen - Content writer

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