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Pinched Nerve in Shoulder Blade


A pinched nerve can cause so much pain and discomfort that it can affect the function and quality of life of an individual suffering from a pinched nerve. It is a condition defined as the compression of the nerve when there is too much pressure applied in the surrounding tissue such as the bone, muscle and cartilage of a specific area of the body such as the shoulder blade.
Pinched nerve can happen to everyone and almost all people regardless of age, gender and racial belonging get to experience a pinched nerve at one point in their lives. It is not a serious or life-threatening condition but it can be so discomforting and can impair the normal function of the affected part of the body.

The nerves are very essential to the human body as it function just like an electrical cords which is responsible for transmitting messages to the brain from the entire body. The motor or efferent nerve is responsible for transmitting messages from the brain to the body such as commanding the muscle to contract and move. The sensory or afferent nerve on the other hand is responsible for transmitting message from the body to the brain in order to process information for sensation such as temperature, taste and pain.

A pinched nerve in the shoulder blade is when there is too much pressure applied in the surrounding tissue of the shoulder blade due to nerve compression or a trapped nerve. It is, however, a condition that does not result to an irreversible or permanent damage but it can impair the function of the nerve in transmitting signals to the brain and vice-versa.

The shoulder blade is among the many parts of the body that gets to experience a pinched nerve. Although generally not a serious and life-threatening condition, it can definitely affect the quality of life as pain can be so discomforting.


pinched nerve in shoulder bladePain is the prominent symptom of a pinched nerve. The degree of pain experienced is not always common and differs from one patient to another. The pain is not permanent although there are some patients who get to experience a lingering pain. The symptom of a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade and even in the other parts of the body usually gets worse when the patient is at rest or at sleep.

The pain of pinched nerve in the shoulder blade does not necessarily mean a compressed nerve located directly in the shoulder. It is described as a radiating nerve in which the compression of the nerve comes from a distant area mostly in the neck. The pain is radicular that radiates to the peripheral of the extremities from the point of origin of the compressed nerve. In pinched nerve, a fast movement such as sneezing and coughing can cause the pain to become worse.

Weakness is also another symptom that a patient with pinched nerve will experience. The weakness in the shoulder blade can impair the ability of an individual to lift their arms over their head or even lift an object.

Tingling and numbness or the sensation of pins and needles is another symptom of a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade. This tingling sensation and numbness may come and go although it may linger in others. Movement of the shoulder however can make the tingling and numbness subsides.

The symptoms of pinched nerve in the shoulder may be short-lived or temporary for some which indicates only a minor problem. In rare cases, lingering symptoms indicate a serious problem that requires a medical consultation.


A pinched nerve occurs when there is a presence of damaged or injury in the nerve resulting from a direct compression of the nerve. The compression of the nerve impairs its function of transmitting message to the brain from the body and vice-versa thus, leading to the symptoms of pinched nerve.

There are several causes that can lead to a pinched nerve not only in the shoulder blade but also in other parts of the body.

The causes of pinched nerve include the following:

  • Poor posture is one common cause of a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade. Women with large breasts are more prone for suffering from a pinched nerve in the shoulder due to a poor posture in carrying large heavy breasts.
  • Repeated movement of the shoulder blade can cause the nerve to get compressed and eventually a pinched nerve and its symptoms.
  • Overexertion of the arms can also cause nerve compression resulting to a radicular pain that radiates to the shoulder blade.
  • Overweight or obesity is a factor considered for developing a pinched nerve. The excess weight adds pressure to the nerves and muscles which can cause a pinched nerve such as in the shoulder blade.
  • Pregnancy contributes to the onset of a pinched nerve particularly in the shoulder blade. This is generally due to an added weight brought by the developing fetus thus putting too much pressure in the nerves and muscles.
  • Several medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome increase the risk for experiencing pinched nerve. These medical conditions directly put a pressure on the nerve due to damage or injury brought by the condition itself.


The aim of treatment for a pinched nerve is to relieve the pressure applied due to the compression of the nerve. The condition is not permanent and can be treated and which does not leave a permanent damage after it has been treated.

The treatment for pinched nerve in the shoulder blade varies and depends on the underlying cause. The treatment may include the following:

Rest is the initial treatment recommended to patient suffering from a pinched nerve in the shoulder blade and all types of pinched nerve. In some cases, immobilization of the affected part is necessary.

Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help in relieving the symptom of pain. Inflammation is addressed by giving the patient with anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids.

Surgery is recommended to pinched nerve that is unresponsive to rest and medical treatment. The type of surgical procedure will depend on which part of the body is affected with pinched nerve.


Home remedies can also help improve a pinched nerve such as:

Hot and cold compress help in reducing pain and inflammation. This remedy requires alternating application of hot and cold. The initial step is to apply cold compress for fifteen minutes followed by hot compress for another fifteen minutes.

Physical therapy can strengthen the muscle and can help in stretching and straightening the muscle thus relieving the pressure on the pinched nerve.

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