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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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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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