The treatment of soft tissue neck and shoulder pain often includes the use of anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen ( Advil or Motrin ) or naproxen ( Aleve or Naprosyn ). Pain relievers such as acetaminophen ( Tylenol ) may also be recommended. Depending on the source of pain, drugs like muscle relaxers and even antidepressants might be helpful. Pain also may be treated with a local application of moist heat or ice. Local corticosteroid injections are often helpful for arthritis of the shoulder. For both neck and shoulder pain movement, exercises may help. For cases in which nerve roots or the spinal cord are involved, surgical procedures may be necessary. Your doctor can tell you which is the best course of treatment for you.