The Relationship Between the Neck and Shoulders

Many don’t understand that a shoulder issue is a neck issue and vice versa. The neck and shoulder actually share many of the same muscles and thus resulting in shared dysfunctions. Whether it’s poor head movement or poor shoulder movement, these issues in isolation can cause a series of complications that lead to both neck and shoulder dysfunction.

Below you will see three examples of major connections between the neck, collar bone, sternum and shoulder blades.



This muscle is responsible for rotation and flexion of the cervical spine. It originates from the sternum and clavicle and inserts on the skull, behind the ear on the mastoid process of the temporal bone and superior nuchal line.

Levator Scapulae

Levator Scap

This muscle is responsible for the elevation of the scapula. It originates from the cervical spine and inserts on the superior part of the medial border of the scapula.



This muscle is responsible for the rotation, retraction, elevation, and depression of scapula. It originates from the base of the skull, on the external occipital protuberance, nuchal ligament, medial superior nuchal line as well as the spinous processes of vertebrae from C7-T12 and inserts on the clavicle, acromion process, and spine of the scapula.


As you can see from the descriptive illustrations above, the neck and shoulders are directly connected by multiple pathways. This means that any pain, stiffness or overall dysfunction between or directly within the neck and shoulders can only be resolved if the entire system is restored. If you suffer from chronic neck pain, you must treat both the neck and shoulders. If you suffer from chronic shoulder pain, you must still treat both the neck and shoulders. This holistic, systematic approach is the safest, quickest and most efficient way to resolve your chronic neck and shoulder dysfunction.

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