4 Steps to Find Relief From Shoulder & Neck Pain

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Shoulder and neck pain can be caused by a variety things, such as poor posture when seated or standing, sleeping in an awkward position, or turning your head suddenly.  These types of occurrences can happen to any of us on any given day.  Yet, it isn’t until the it’s too painful that we stop and take notice.

The other day, when I was backing my car out of a parking space I felt a piercing pain in my upper-right shoulder and neck area.  I wasn’t able to look over my right shoulder.  In order to turn, I had to rotate from my waist.   The pain was almost unbearable.  In this week’s post, I’ll share how I was able to find relief from the shoulder and neck pain using a number of diagrams I shared with my physician and physical therapist.


After my failed attempt of addressing the pain, I realized it was time to contact my doctor.  To streamline the appointment process, I thought it would best to first call the nurse practitioner.  The nurse recommended that I come in to see a doctor immediately and made the appointment for the same morning.  Within minutes, I put together a calendar (see below) documenting the series of events leading up to my doctor’s appointment.

Benefits of the Calendar

  • The act of creating the calendar enables the patient to review the past and decrease the chances of leaving out details
  • The physician can view the types of activities the patient completed as possible causes
  • Enable the physician to see the combination of symptoms and attempted treatments
  • Documents the duration and levels of shoulder and neck pain

To learn more about ways to prepare for a doctor’s appointment, read 6 Easy Steps to Maximize Your Next Doctor Visit.


SmartDraw Tip: In the Left Panel, select the Schedules & Calendars Category.  Navigate to the Monthly Calendars Sub-Category.  Enter the appropriate information.  The SmartPanel and Symbol Library that appears to the left of the Work Area is dependent upon the Template.  Simply click and drag symbols into the calendar as visual indicators of various types of appointments.  


In addition to prescribed medications, my physician recommended that I start physical therapy.  With each appointment, I received print-outs of instructions detailing each exercise.  It was difficult to stay on track since the exercises varied significantly when it came to times of days, how many reps to complete, and how long to hold the position.  Rather than having to refer to several pages of instructions, I decided to condense the information into a single page for quick reference.  For your own copy of the physical therapy exercises, click here (pdf).

PT Exercise Chart1

SmartDraw Tip: The Org Chart Template was used to create the above diagram.  Navigate to the Popular Category, select the Org Chart Template in the Preview.  Navigate to the SmartPanel, select the shape with photo option. 


After each physical therapy appointment, the therapist would add a new exercise or modify the existing exercises.  Here is a mind map of how I kept track of each of the sessions.  Although the mind map is easy to understand, it doesn’t necessarily mean it was easy to follow throughout the day.  I found myself struggling with completing the exercises as often as I should – especially during the work day.

PT Exercises1

SmartDraw Tip: Navigate to the Popular Category, select the Mind Map Template in the Preview. To create multiple shapes in the same tier or level, click the Enter key.   To navigate from one shape to the next click the Tab key.  


Having worked with personal trainers in the past, I learned that living healthy is a life style.  I was most successful when I incorporated my workouts into my daily routine.  I figured I would apply a similar approach if I wanted to relieve myself of the shoulder and neck pain.  Relying solely on my weekly physical therapy appointments isn’t a viable solution. So, I created this schedule to keep myself accountable.

Benefits of the Schedule:

  • Designated times were set aside for the exercises
  • Allow the patient to note symptoms and other items such as levels of pain by day
  • Check boxes give the patient the satisfaction of noting that an exercise has been completed
  • Enables the physical therapist to further understand the patient’s experience, thus allow them to better treat the patient’s needs

PT Exercise Schedule1

SmartDraw Tip:  The basis of the diagram above was an existing sample diagram.  In the Left Pane, navigate to the Calendars & Schedules Category.  In the Scheduling Calendars Sub-Category, select the Daily Scheduler – 2.  To add a column, navigate to the Ribbon.  Select the Table Tab, click the Insert Right control.

You may want choose to the schedule to the next level.  Enter the times into your smartphone, thus receiving an alert when you should complete your exercises.

SmartDraw Tip:  Navigate to the Popular Category, select the Manual Diagram Template in the Preview.  To insert an image into the Work Area, navigate to the Ribbon and click Insert Tab.  In the Insert Tab, select the Picture control.  Locate the appropriate image file, then click Open.  Click and drag the image to the appropriate location.