Nerve Injury

The Sources of Shoulder Nerve Pain and How to Treat It


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.

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:

Shoulder Arthritis

  • 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.

Swimmer’s Shoulder/Impingement

  • 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.

Chiropractic Treatment

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.

Chiropractic Rehab


Kokkalis, Zinon T et al. “Nerve Injuries around the Shoulder.” Journal of long-term effects of medical implants vol. 27,1 (2017): 13-20. doi:10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.2017019545

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

Neviaser, Andrew S, and Jo A Hannafin. “Adhesive capsulitis: a review of current treatment.” The American Journal of sports medicine vol. 38,11 (2010): 2346-56. doi:10.1177/0363546509348048

Safran, Marc R. “Nerve injury about the shoulder in athletes, part 1: suprascapular nerve and axillary nerve.” The American Journal of sports medicine vol. 32,3 (2004): 803-19. doi:10.1177/0363546504264582

Strakowski, Jeffrey A, and Christopher J Visco. “Diagnostic and therapeutic musculoskeletal ultrasound applications of the shoulder.” Muscle & Nerve vol. 60,1 (2019): 1-6. doi:10.1002/mus.26505

Post Disclaimer

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "The Sources of Shoulder Nerve Pain and How to Treat It" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card

Recent Posts

Effects of Unhealthy Posture: What You Need to Know

Many individuals attribute to some degree, their neck or back pain to unhealthy posture. Can… Read More

November 30, 2023

Friction Massage: How To Improve Scar Tissue Mobility

For individuals having difficulty moving or functioning normally due to injury, surgery, or illness, can… Read More

November 29, 2023

Nonsurgical Tips & Tricks To Reduce Low Back Pain

Can individuals with low back pain find nonsurgical solutions to restore lumbar mobility and stability… Read More

November 29, 2023

Muscle Growth: Nutrition, Genetics, and Training Explained

For individuals trying to build muscle but are not seeing results, can knowing factors like… Read More

November 28, 2023

Get to Know Pathology of Lumbar Disc Degeneration

Can healthcare providers help many individuals with lumbar disc degeneration find relief through spinal decompression… Read More

November 28, 2023

Chronic Sciatica: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

For individuals dealing with chronic sciatica, when pain and other symptoms significantly impact daily activities… Read More

November 27, 2023