Pinched Nerve In Shoulder

A pinched nerve is a term that is quite common to hear, but most of us don’t really know what it means.  Nerve compressions can be caused by muscles, tendons, bones and cartilage that surround the nerve and branches of it. Often people can get a pinched nerve in the shoulder region when they have tight muscles, however, generally the nerve is not actually being pinched by a muscle in the shoulder. Typically it comes from the disc area in your neck. If you know a little anatomy then you will understand that this usually happens around C6 and C7. This is typically where problems can occur and result in symptoms like a pinched nerve in the shoulder. The nerves that run through C6 and C7 travel down through your shoulder blades, and can cause chronic pain and muscles spasms. A pinched nerve in the shoulder that originates in the neck is not always the actual diagnosis, but it is something you need to look out for, as it is quite typically disguised as a shoulder problem.

Symptoms Of A Pinched Nerve In Shoulder

Pain: Pain is a common symptom of a pinched nerve that is going into your shoulder. It might be sharp or burning, it could cover the whole shoulder area, or a specific spot. This depends on the location of the nerve. If it is close to the spinal cord and originating from the neck then neck movements may agitate it as well.

Numbing: Numbness or tingling can occur due to a pinched nerve. You might get a feeling that your shoulder is dead, or when you touch it you don’t feel as much, there is less sensation. Pins and needles is another common complaint. It may occur any place between your hand to your neck and depends on where the nerve is being compressed.

Weakness: Since the nerve are what activates muscles, if one is being compressed, the signal to your muscle will be weak. You will therefore experience muscle weakness as a result of a pinched nerve in shoulder. You may experience it when you are reaching above your head to try to grab something, and occurs in different parts of the arm depending on the nerve location.

Muscle Spasms: Muscles spasms and twitching can occur as a result of a pinched nerve, especially one that is originating in the neck area.

Pinched Nerve In Shoulder Treatment

The fact is that if you are experiencing symptoms of a pinched nerve, then you need to go to see a therapist. There are a number of things that can be done to relieve the pain, almost immediately. However there are some things that you can do to help yourself.

Treatment By A Therapist

1. Your therapist will give you some neck exercises to do, if the pain is originating from the neck. Practise these at home, they will loosen the area and start to take the pressure off the nerve. Combined with other treatments this will ensure your pinched nerve pain goes away.

2. You might be given an injection to the area. This helps to reduce the swelling around the nerve and will give immediate pain relief.

3. At a therapist you may be given traction and manipulation. Anyone that actually has the problem originating in the neck will find almost immediate relief from being manipulated. The nerve will no longer be blocked and you will have a larger range of motion again.

Stuff To Do At Home

1. The number one, critical, most important thing that you should ALREADY be doing is… have good posture! Maintaining good postural stability will mean that we have a normal thoracic and cervical curve. Quite often people have a flat neck at the back, and it can cause disc problems. In order to maintain the normal curve you need to make sure you keep the muscles of your upper back, between the shoulder blades, strengthened. In contrast, you need to stretch the front, your chest. It is common people have weak upper back muscles and tight chest muscles from sitting at a computer all day. it is the posture we become accustomed too.

2. Self massage can help, and if you haven’t already seen it check out the tennis ball therapy article. It outlines a few great ways that you can access your shoulder areas yourself and relieve the tightness. If your problem is in the neck, this won’t fix it, but it will at least give you spasming and tight muscles some relief. I have recently written an ebook called The Ultimate Self Massage guide, and it runs through a lot of important muscles at your shoulder and neck that you need to be releasing. This book can show you exactly how to do that.

3. Ice the area. It is common to go for a heat pack when you have muscle pain, but this can cause more swelling and irritation around the nerve area. Ice the area and take away some of the pain immediately.

A pinched nerve in shoulder can be a painful experience, but treat it right and you will get rid of the symptoms forever. Most importantly, don’t try to work it out on your own. See a professional, not only will it speed up the recovery, it will ensure that you do not have a repeat of the injury.

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  1. Jessica says

    Yes they are referring to a physical therapist or orthopedic therapist, or see a chiropractor if its covered by your insurance, which most aren’t.

  2. Carol says

    have pain on my shoulder blade and down my arm to my elbow. Numbness and tingling in fingers. Pain upper part of arm keeps me up at night. I wonder if this is a pinched nerve problem?????

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  5. Veronica says

    Wanting to say thank you for the advise of getting a shot at the doctors for a pinched nerve in my shoulder. I went 4 weeks with incredible pain shooting up my neck causing migraines. I never thought to ask for a shot, but I just did today, and the pain is completely gone :) I will never suffer through weeks of pain like that again. Thank you :)

  6. Johnny says

    I have pain (not too bad) in the right shoulder. Annoying pain. I believe it could be rotator cuff related, and there is some soreness. I have had a shoulder cuff injury there before but it cleared up. This was years ago though and i’ve been fine since. I have noticed the last6 months that after working out my upper half (shoulders and pecs) my right shoulder is a lot higher than the left. It takes effort and time (about an hour) for them to level out again. I am not sure why I let this go but there you go.

    What does this indicate?

    Also this is around the time I started squats. Could it be squat related? Nerves etc?


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