An acute injury or changes to the upper body over time can cause a compressed/pinched nerve in the shoulder. A pinched nerve in the shoulder happens when a muscle, ligament, tendon, or bone irritates or presses on a nerve exiting the neck. Shoulder nerve pain can develop from various sources, such as overuse work injuries, sports injuries, household chores, tendinitis, arthritis, torn cartilage, and other medical conditions, and injuries can contribute to symptoms. Chiropractors are highly qualified to treat pinched nerves. They are trained in whole-body realignment and rehabilitation techniques that find the root source and relieve pressure on compressed nerves.
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Shoulder Nerve Pain
The shoulder joint is one of the most complex joints because of its wide range of motion. It is used so frequently that repetitive motion strain is common, often leading to injury. It is usually because of the continued use combined with an unhealed strain/injury that leads to shoulder nerve injury or when surrounding tissues like cartilage or tendons irritate or compress the nerves.
- Pinched nerves also occur when a nerve root in the neck is damaged through wear and tear or an acute injury.
- Individuals 50 years and older are likely to experience pinched nerves because of degeneration in the cervical spine and/or arthritis.
- A nerve can become pinched when bone spurs form around the spinal discs.
- Bone spurs are formations of bone that grow when discs weaken with age.
- Bone spurs grow around the discs putting pressure on the nerve root.
Compressed Pinched Nerve/Cervical Radiculopathy
- Pain sensations in the shoulder.
- Tingling and/or pins and needles in fingers or hand.
- Weakness in shoulder and arm muscles.
Symptoms have been known to overlap with shoulder arthritis, frozen shoulder, swimmer’s shoulder, or rotator cuff tears, so it’s always best to consult a chiropractor to understand possible causes. Other conditions with symptoms to compare:
- Stiffness in the joint.
- Aching inside the shoulder.
- Grinding when moving the joint.
Frozen Shoulder/Adhesive Capsulitis
- Stiffness in the joint.
- Pain in one shoulder.
- Decreased range of motion and movement.
- Pain and discomfort in the shoulder.
- Weakness in the surrounding area.
- Stiffness or tightness in the joint.
- Impeded range of motion.
Rotator Cuff Tears
- Pain and discomfort symptoms when moving the shoulder.
- Weakness in the arm.
- Deep aching sensations along the top and side of the joint.
Chiropractors are experts on the neuromusculoskeletal system. First, a thorough medical examination will be conducted, including health history and regular activities, to understand the nature of the symptoms. Depending on the type of injury, tests and exams may be needed to help diagnose and pinpoint the cause. Then the chiropractor will develop a personalized treatment plan. The objective is to relieve pressure and tension on the nerves and relax the muscles. In addition to adjusting the joint or other impacted areas, the therapy team will provide at-home exercises and stretches to maintain the adjustments and expedite healing.
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Leider, Joseph D et al. “Treatment of suprascapular nerve entrapment syndrome.” Orthopedic reviews vol. 13,2 25554. 11 Jul. 2021, doi:10.52965/001c.25554
Matzkin, Elizabeth, et al. “Swimmer’s Shoulder: Painful Shoulder in the Competitive Swimmer.” The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons vol. 24,8 (2016): 527-36. doi:10.5435/JAAOS-D-15-00313
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