Pinched Nerve in Shoulder Blade - Treatment, Symptoms, Causes

Pinched Nerve in Shoulder Blade

Having a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade can first be detected if there is severe pain in that part of the body. Pinched nerve or trapped nerve as it is also known as is a condition where the nerve becomes trapped through the body, or even compressed by the bones, cartilage and most commonly the muscles as well as other tissues surrounding it. It can be a consequence of a number of things, such as rigorous and extreme exercise and strenuous movement. The old school home remedies have been helpful in relieving the symptoms whereas severe conditions should go for professional help.

Often most of the symptoms of a pinched nerve are pretty much clear – one could feel too much of pain with a feeling of weakness in that area and a sensation of numbness. However these symptoms might not last for long or they might not go away at all. These sensations mostly come from the C5 nerve, located in the neck, usually mistaken to be in the shoulder blade. It is mainly the pinching of a nerve that causes this pain in the shoulders.

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Major symptoms

1. Pain

The pain during a pinched nerve varies from one person to another. At times it can be a severe burning sensation, or else a form of shooting pains now and then. Also headaches or neck pain are commonly felt. The nerve itself could be the cause, or muscle spasms occurring around the nerve can cause the pain.

2. Weakness

Weakness in the shoulder muscle can also be felt, causing great difficulty in lifting up things. In some cases one might be unable to lift the hand above the head. The weakness can only be in the hand, or in the entire arm.

3. Tingling and Numbness

Tingling and numbness that comes with a pinched nerve can be described by something like a feeling of the arm “falling asleep” or being poked by pins and needles. These symptoms might keep changing or remain as it is. At times, it can go away quickly with the correct movements.

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Feeling the pain along with other symptoms vary upon the nerve that is pinched and how critical the condition is. Usually the problem disappears after a while. However, if it lingers it is a matter of medical attention.


One can expect going through basic tests as a part of diagnosis looking for weakness, deteoration of muscle tone or muscle pain in some areas of the arm or shoulder. If a compressed nerve is diagnosed, then there has to be x-rays, MRIs or CT scans for a valid solution. Nerve conduction study or electromyography might also be conducted.

When a pinched nerve has been diagnosed, then a lot of treatments can be easily handled at home. A pinched nerve can also be a consequence of a bad body posture, overweight, carrying or sudden lifting of heavy objects, herniated disc and even a bone spur. Therefore it is essential to treat the following causes.

1. Rest:

Proper rest of the affected area helps heal a pinched nerve. Therefore one should avoid moving the hand or arm and sleeping flat on the back. However these instructions vary according to the nerve which is affected.

2. Compresses:

A pinched nerve, its pain and inflammation can be treated with hot and cold compresses. It means keeping a cold pack on the affected area for 15 minutes, and then keeping a heating pad for almost the same amount of time. However these compresses can alternatively be used till one feels relief from the pain.


Also, there are many medications available for the treatment of a pinched nerve. However medicines such as naproxen or Tylenol can be more effective than the counter medication such as ibuprofen. Medications strictly used for a pinched nerve or a nerve pain can be Lyrica or Neurontin. The doctors can also prescribe muscle relaxants.

Injection and Surgery

Cortisone injections are usually very effective for treating the nerve pain. If one doesn’t get relief from the injections, then surgery could be the alternative. However it is a last choice to reduce the pain when other treatments fail or in the case of a nerve damage that cannot be treated with a surgery.

There are many other options that can be effective such as physical therapy which helps in stretching and lengthening certain muscles. This further reduces the pressure on the pinched nerve. Acupuncture and other muscular exercises can also help with restricted movements. Needless to mention, a healthy weight must be considered one of the most important ways to relieve the pain. Finally, the correct body posture is very helpful to treat a pinched nerve in the shoulder.

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