According to M. Kathleen Casey: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional”. Pain is something we all feel from time to time. Physical pain can originate from a number of different reasons. Most of the time simple pain is ignored especially if it goes away on its own. We only bother when the pain does not go away or when it already affects our daily activities. Pain in the shoulder is something that can cause a greater concern for most people because the shoulders are used for many activities. Shoulder pain is often linked to too much weight bearing or muscle strain; but aside from musculo-skeletal factors, pain can also be caused by injury or compression of the nerves. Nerves serves as communication link that transmit electrical impulses from or to the brain and the rest of the parts of the body. Shoulder pain from pinched nerve is something that should not be ignored. Pinched nerve in the shoulders can lead to immobility and in times total paralysis. Learn more about this condition, the signs and symptoms and what are the treatments for pinched nerves in shoulder.
What is a Pinched nerve?
A pinched nerve is a condition in which the tendons, ligament, bones, and muscles apply pressure to the nerves.The pressure may come from inflamed or swollen muscles. The compression can cause injury or damage to the nerves and can impair it’s functioning.Impingement is the medical term for pathologic pressure or compression. The nerve impingement can cause weakness, pain and discomfort to the patient.
One of the most common area affected by pinched nerve are the shoulders. This is because more weight is applied in the shoulders when lifting or carrying objects. It is also responsible in making activities such as pushing,reaching and throwing possible. The shoulder also act as weigh bearer for the arm in doing multiple movements like internal rotation, external rotation, adduction, abduction and extension. Pinched shoulders are often accompanied by weakening of the arms and can also affect the grasping power of the individual. Pain experienced is often described as pinching or stabbing pain. Pins and needle pricking sensation and tingling can also be expected. For other people, instead of pain, numbness or decrease sensation in the area is manifested.
What causes pinched nerves in the shoulder?
Pinched nerve can be caused by a number of different factors. Most common cause is trauma or damage to the affected part. If the muscle around the nerve gets damaged or inflamed, the swelling can cause pressure on the nerve itself. Improper posture or a sudden shift in weight can also cause pinched nerve. Underlying conditions like tumor, arthritis, bone spurs, and pregnancy can have pinched nerve as one of its symptoms. Proper medical consultation must be done in order to resolve the issue of pinched nerve and prevent permanent nerve damage.
Pinched Nerve in Shoulder Treatments:
Pinched nerve is expected to go away on its own depending on the cause. For under lying conditions like abnormal growth, once the condition is resolved pinched nerve will also go away. For other causes rest and decrease activity of the affected part is often suggested. But there are several ways to hasten the recovery from pinched nerve.
REST AND DECREASE IN ACTIVITY
• Placing a small pillow at the back during sleep will align the back bone properly allowing the nerve to function properly and reduce pressure to the muscles around the nerve. Restrictive devices like collar and braces may be applied to limit the motion and decrease the pressure to the nerves.
• Decreasing strenuous activity like weight lifting and exercise can give time for the nerve to recover before another pressure may be applied to it.Avoid lifting heavy object can help rest the shoulder muscles and nerves.
• Certain exercise can help in the recovery of nerves and muscles surrounding the nerve. Especially developed exercises for pinched nerve shoulders are developed and should be done only if the doctor is aware of it.
PROPER BODY ALIGNMENT
• Reducing weight can help in treating and also preventing the occurrence of pinched nerve. Losing weight can help reduce the pressure applied over the shoulders and help in avoiding any more pressure applied over the nerve.
• In worse cases of pinched nerve in which certain motor functions have already been affected, physical therapy may be required in order to gain back lost functions of the body.Physical therapy can also help establish neck and shoulder strengths. Stretching exercises done by physical therapist can be done to reduce irritation and compression to the nerves. Application of traction can also be beneficial to align and reduce compression of the nerves.
PHARMACOLOGICAL TREATMENTS FOR Pinched Nerve Shoulder PAIN
• The most common drugs prescribed for pinched nerve in the shoulders are analgesics and corticosteroids. Medications like steroid and anti inflammatory drug can be decrease the swelling in the area to stop and reduce the pressure applied on the nerves. Pain relievers can also help alleviate the discomfort.
SURGICAL INTERVENTION for Pinched Nerve in Shoulder
• In cases of severe impingement of nerves, surgical intervention may be an option especially if the pain is not resolved through conservative treatments. The type of surgery will depend on the the location of the nerves affected and the cause of the compression. In some cases, the surgery may involve removal of the tissue compressing the nerves.
There are several treatments for pinched nerve in the shoulder. It is important to seek the advice of primary care provider for treatment options that is based on extent and severity of nerve compression or damage.