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Pinched Nerve Shoulder - Information about a Pinched Nerve in the Shoulder - Symptoms of a pinched nerve in the shoulder, Diagnosis, Treatment

pain common usually home

A pinched nerve in the shoulder can be very painful, and it is important to understand the symptoms and the available treatments. The most common cause of a pinched nerve in the shoulder is an injury like sudden, direct pressure. Usually when there is a pinched nerve in the shoulder, the pinching is actually being caused by a disc in the neck.

Symptoms of a pinched nerve in the shoulder

The most common symptom of a pinched nerve is severe pain in the shoulder. Sometimes the pain is sharp, while other times it burns. It can cover all of the shoulder or be very localized in one area. In some cases it may feel as if the shoulder has fallen asleep. Weakness is also a very common sign of a pinched nerve. The muscles that are affected could be anywhere from your hand to your neck, depending on which nerve is being pinched. Muscle spasms are also fairly common, as is stiffness.


Diagnosing a pinched nerve in the shoulder starts with a series of questions from the doctor. He will ask about the symptoms and also family history of pinched nerves. Also work history can come into play if the pinched nerve happened as the result of work. Doctors who believe a pinched nerve is causing the symptoms will usually order an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis.


There are several courses of treatment for a pinched nerve in the shoulder. Treatment should always start at home, although if the problem does not get better in a day or two, it will be necessary to see a physical therapist. Start by making sure that your posture is good. Keeping good posture all of the time will ensure that the nerves return to normal. Another good home treatment to try is simply massaging the area. This will help you find some relief from the muscle spasms and severe pain. Also make sure that you are using ice packs at home. Heat will only make the problem worse, so be sure to use ice packs for about 10 to 20 minutes at a time. You can also take anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve the pain and swelling.

Most people who suffer a pinched nerve in the shoulder will have to undergo physical therapy. Usually treatment will involve some exercises you will have to do at home. This will help loosen the area around the pinched nerve so that it will heal. Some doctors also give an injection, which helps reduce swelling and relieve pain. Physical therapists also usually perform manipulation, which unblocks the nerve and allows free range of movement once again.

In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the pinched nerve. The most common reason for surgery to be required in the case of a pinched nerve is if it is caused by a herniated disk in the neck or a bone spur. The surgery will need to be performed as soon as possible because some nerves do die after a period of time. If the nerve is allowed to die, then you will no longer have any feeling below the place where the nerve was pinched.

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