Neck pain: what causes it?

Collar pain can be a symptom of a number of serious medical conditions. You need to pay attention if you feel pain in this bone area.

The collarbone is the part that connects the sternum to the shoulder. This is one of the hard bones in the body, shaped like the letter S.

Collar pain can be a symptom of problems such as a fracture, arthritis, a bone infection, or an abnormal condition related to the position of the collarbone in the body.

If you experience collarbone pain from an accident, impact during sports, or other trauma, get to the emergency room quickly. In case you notice a dull pain developing and persisting in the collarbone area, take the initiative to go to the hospital for examination and treatment.

Most common cause: collarbone fracture

Clavicle pain is mainly caused by a clavicle fracture. Due to its position inside the body, the collarbone is very susceptible to fracture if a strong force is applied to the shoulder. Collar fractures are the most common type of fracture in humans. Just being hit hard on one shoulder or falling hard with your arm outstretched, you have a high risk of breaking your collarbone.

Causes of broken collarbones include:

Sports injury

A direct blow to the shoulder during martial arts or contact sports can put the clavicle fracture at risk.


In the event of a car accident, besides breaking the collarbone, the rest of the body is at risk of damage.


It is entirely possible for a newborn to break a collarbone during birth or even while still in the womb.

The most obvious symptom of a clavicle fracture is sudden pain at the site of the fracture. Usually the pain gets worse with movement of your shoulder. A few other common signs of a clavicle fracture include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruises
  • Stiffness in the affected arm

Newborns with broken collarbones cannot move their injured arm for several days after birth.

To diagnose a collarbone fracture, your doctor will carefully examine the injury for bruising, swelling, and other signs of the fracture. X-ray results of the collarbone can show the exact location and extent of the broken area, as well as whether surrounding joints are affected.

For a simple situation, the main course of treatment is to keep the arm immobilized for a few weeks or months. During this time, you should always wear a shoulder brace to pull your shoulders back slightly and make sure the bones are back in place.

For severe fractures, you will need surgery to re-establish the collarbone. Your doctor will pin or attach screws to the bones to hold them in place, making sure to connect the broken pieces together properly.

Other common causes

Neck pain: what causes it?  •

Causes of collarbone pain that are not related to a fracture, such as:


Worsening of the sternum joint can also cause osteoarthritis. Arthritis can be the result of an old injury or simply because the joint degenerates over time from overuse.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain and stiffness. Usually, they develop slowly but will get worse over time. Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Corticosteroid injections can also help reduce inflammation and pain in the long run. In some severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the inflamed part of the joint.

Thoracic outlet syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome describes disorders that occur when there is compression, trauma, nerve and vascular irritation in the lower neck or upper chest. Causes of this syndrome include:

  • Shoulder injury
  • Maintain bad posture for a long time
  • Prolonged and repetitive pressure
  • Obesity: body weight not only puts pressure on bones but also joints
  • Birth defects

To treat thoracic outlet syndrome, the patient will first apply physical therapy. They need to perform exercises that improve shoulder strength and flexibility, as well as improve posture. In more severe cases, surgery may be performed to remove the cause of nerve compression.

Sleeping position

The habit of sleeping on the side will also lead to collarbone pain due to abnormal pressure on this bone. However, the pain usually goes away soon. You can prevent it by getting into the habit of sleeping on your back.

Rare causes

Clavicle pain has a number of serious causes that aren't related to a fracture or change in the position of the collarbone or shoulder joint.


Osteomyelitis is a bone infection that causes systemic pain and a host of other symptoms. The cause is usually:

  • Pneumonia, blood infection, or some kind of infection elsewhere in the body that travels to the collarbone.
  • An open wound near the collarbone becomes infected.

Symptoms of clavicle osteomyelitis include collarbone pain and pain in the area around the collarbone. Other signs may include:

  • Swollen area of ​​infection
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Suppurate

Treatment of osteomyelitis usually begins with a dose of antibiotics. At first, the patient may be able to inject antibiotics into a vein. The course of treatment can last a few months. The doctor will remove any pus or fluid from the site of infection.


If cancer is causing collarbone pain, it may be because the cancer has actually spread to the bone or to nearby lymph nodes. Once the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, you may notice pain and swelling in the lymph nodes above your collarbone, under your arms, near your groin, and in your neck.

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes or moves into the bone. In addition to the dull ache, its symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sweat

Cancer that develops in the collarbone, shoulder, or arm can be treated with radiation therapy or surgery, depending on the nature of the disease and how far it has grown.

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