Apart from trauma the biggest cause of musculoskeletal pain is is an imbalance caused by a difference in muscle tension from side to side in the body which over time and when combined with sports activities, childbirth and a lack of stretching, can cause neck, shoulder, hip, knee and low back pain in individuals who have no previous history of pain. This can affect individuals of all ages from 16-80, but the typical person is in their mid-fifties with a clean health history. To grasp this concept one needs to know that the muscles of the body are not perfectly designed. Two very good examples of this are the quads of the upper thigh and the pectoralis muscles in the chest above the breast. These muscles will shrink with a lack of activity for as little as 25 minutes or in the case of the pectoralis muscles, a preponderance of arms forward activity such as typing on a keyboard. When the quads shrink they do so unevenly causing the hips to move forward in an uneven fashion and the iliac spines to move in opposite directions. This is the cause of idiopathic scoliosis in young girls, but more importantly this causes the body to start twisting in a way that when left unchecked will eventually move up the spine all the way to the neck and shoulders. This is the cause of most musculoskeletal pain and it can eventually lead to corrective surgery. Degeneration of spinal discs and synovial joints contributes to this problem but there is a school of thought that their demise may be due to this twisting effect plus aging.
How does one stop this from happening or correct it if it already has occurred? By stretching the muscles of the body. For the two groups of muscles mentioned above there are daily simple stretches. Yoga can help as well and for a more clinical approach with a valid evaluation I send my clients to an Egoscue practitioner. More on this later.