Causes and Treatment for Pinched Nerves in the Shoulder Blade

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Have you ever experienced a pain and tingling sensation that travels down your arm? It’s possible that you are experiencing a pinched nerve in your neck or shoulder. However, there is no need to worry as this is typically a temporary condition, and there are ways to find pain relief.

So how does a pinched nerve in the shoulder occur? Sometimes, pressure builds up and compresses the tissues surrounding the nerves in the shoulder blade. This can result in the nerves becoming trapped or compressed, disrupting the communication between the nerve and the brain. This is why it is referred to as a pinched nerve.

A pinched nerve can occur in several locations in the body, such as the elbow, knee, neck and shoulder, lower back, upper thigh, and wrist.

Do you tend to rest your weight on your elbows while using the computer or watching television? Or perhaps you lean on your elbows while driving? These repetitive positions can lead to a pinched nerve in your elbow. It’s important to note that this type of injury is different from tennis elbow, where the pain is caused by inflamed tendons rather than pinched nerves.

If you frequently sit with your legs crossed, you may end up with a pinched nerve in your knee, which can injure the peroneal nerve. Pain and tingling from this injury may also travel into your arm, affecting your neck and shoulder.

Another common area for a pinched nerve is in the lower back, where pain is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve that travels from the lower back down to the leg. Similarly, the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve can result in a pinched nerve in the upper thigh.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is another condition resulting from the injury of the median nerve in the wrist.

While a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade is not a life-threatening injury, it can be quite debilitating and can significantly affect your quality of life.

Causes of Pinched Nerves in the Shoulder Blade

While anyone can suffer a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade, there are certain factors that make the injury more likely

Poor posture:

Poor posture can be a habitual slouching, or it may have a biological component such as large breasts.  Women who are large breasted have an increased risk of pinched nerves in the shoulder blade. They should always wear a well fitted bra to support the breasts and improve posture.

Pregnancy:

This is another cause of pinched nerves in the shoulder blade.  Pregnancy can lead to swelling, which will place pressure on nerves and the pathways of the nerves, leading to pinched nerves.

Carpal tunnel syndrome:

Carpal tunnel syndrome is another risk that affects women more than men. Repetitive motions of the hand are the most common cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. We see this injury most commonly with movements that involve bending your wrist or making the same wrist movements again and again.

Indirect injury:

A pinched nerve may occur in an area near one that has swelling or inflammation from an injury.  Repetitive stress can also lead to this inflammation, as can poor posture or even some illnesses Overexertion of the arm can lead to compressed nerves and pain that radiates to the shoulder blade. In other words, a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade may have had nothing to do with a direct injury to the shoulder blade itself.

Direct injury or physical process:

A pinched nerve in the shoulder blade may also be the result of a direct injury or physical process. This is similar to the way bone spurs can compress the nerves around the spinal discs.

Obesity:

The muscles and nerves surrounding the shoulder may become compressed when they are exposed to excess weight.  This can cause a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade.

Medical conditions:

Some medical conditions can have adverse effects on the body, resulting in a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade.  Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause damage to bony structures and compress nerves.  Tumors, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, cysts, and lupus are a few other diseases that can lead to compression and pinched nerves.

Symptoms of Pinched Nerves in the Shoulder Blade

While the reasons for pinched nerves in the shoulder blade may differ, the symptoms are largely the same no matter the cause.

Pain:

People suffering from a pinched nerve describe the pain as aching, sharp, stinging, or burning in nature.  The pain may also radiate, or travel, to other neighboring parts of your body. This can include pain in your hands, shoulders, neck and arms depending on the exact location of the compressed nerve. Sometimes, though, a pain in your neck and headaches may indicate a pinched nerve in the neck itself.  Repositioning your arm, neck and head may provide relief from the pain, but if it doesn’t, the compression may be severe.

Muscle spasms:

Compressed nerves can lead to painful muscle spasms.  If the compression is not addressed and relieved, chronic pain and permanent damage can result.

Muscle weakness:

Another common complaint from those suffering a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade is muscle weakness.  Depending on where the nerve is compressed, different muscle groups will be affected The weakness and pain can be severe enough to be debilitating, preventing you from lifting your arm or reaching for objects.
 
As the nerve compression continues, the weakness may spread down the arm. This can create problems holding objects in your hand and twisting or turning the arm.  If the compression is minor, these will be minor annoying inconveniences.  Severe compressions, however, will adversely affect your daily activities. Some of them may require medical attention. A doctor will evaluate the individual muscles in your arms and shoulders. That allows them to determine if the issue is another condition unrelated to a pinched nerve.

Numbness and tingling:

These sensations are common for those suffering a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade The feeling is reported as numbness, pins and needles similar to the feelings you get when your arm or shoulder is asleep.  The numbness and tingling may come and go randomly or be related to the position of your body. The location of these symptoms will depend on where the nerve is compressed.  If left untreated, the symptoms will worsen and become chronic.

Can A Chiropractor Treat a Pinched Nerve in the Shoulder Blade? 

Chiropractors are highly qualified to treat pinched nerves. They are trained to perform gentle spinal alignment techniques that realign vertebrae and relax tense muscles, which reduces pressure on compressed nerves. Chiropractic care does not involve addictive medications or other invasive procedures, making it a safer and less risky treatment option.

Chiropractic treatments are typically outpatient procedures that work to relieve pain, swelling, and disability from the pinched nerve. After just one visit, a chiropractor can determine whether a treatment plan will be effective. Chiropractic care is generally more affordable than other treatment options, making it a highly effective path to take for treating pinched nerves.

What to Expect from a Chiropractic Visit

During your first visit to a chiropractor, they will perform a thorough examination of the area where you are experiencing pain. Chiropractors use various tests to identify the root cause of the pain and propose a personalized treatment plan that will work for you. There are several treatment therapies available for pinched nerves.

Non-surgical spinal decompression is a technique that uses a special table to reduce pressure and realign the spinal nerves and vertebrae. Your Franklin, TN chiropractor in Cool Springs will use gentle manipulation techniques to ease pressure and adjust the spine. Additionally, there are other specialized treatments available, such as ice pack applications, ultrasound treatments, and electrotherapy. These procedures are designed to ease pain, reduce inflammation, and minimize muscle spasms.

It is essential not to leave a pinched nerve untreated, as it can lead to permanent nerve damage. If you are experiencing the pain and disability of a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade or anywhere else, it is important to seek treatment. Contact your chiropractor or a chiropractic clinic such as Crist Chiropractic in Nashville, TN, for an evaluation and a treatment plan that will help you get back on track quickly.

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