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Pinched Nerve in Shoulder

shoulder-pain02Suprascapular Nerve Compression

Nerve pain can be much more severe and disabling than other types of pain. The pain from a pinched nerve can be particularly troubling; ask anyone that has had a pinched nerve in the shoulder, back, neck, or carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist!A “pinched nerve” is a general term that describes an injury to a nerve or group of nerves. Pinched nerves can result in pain, numbness, tingling or burning sensations.


Just like a nerve that can be pinched in these places, the nerve to a part of your rotator cuff -the “suprascapular nerve”- can also become pinched or painful for multiple reasons, including blunt trauma (injury), rotator cuff tear, unstable shoulder, a ganglion cyst, crutch-use, repetitive injury in sports, and unusual anatomy, among others.

Although a pinched nerve in the shoulder was described nearly a century ago, the diagnosis is still often overlooked. Also -until recently- surgical treatment required an “open surgery” unfamiliar to most surgeons. A safe and minimally-invasive arthroscopic (small incision fiber-optic repair) approach to relieve pressure on this pinched shoulder nerve (Arthroscopic Decompression of the Suprascapular Nerve) has been developed here at The Shoulder Center.

pinched-nerveA pinched nerve in the shoulder may also be partly responsible for a previously failed shoulder surgery. As in carpal tunnel syndrome, an electro-diagnostic test (EMG/NCV) can help confirm the diagnosis of a pinched nerve in the shoulder.

For more details about nerve related shoulder pain, see Suprascapular Nerve Surgery.

For a consultation with a shoulder specialist at The Shoulder Center, contact us.

N = Suprascapular Nerve
STSL = Superior Transverse Scapular Ligament
Conoid = Conoid Ligament
A = Suprascapular Artery

Arthroscopic scissors cutting
Superior Transverse Scapular Ligament
Decompressed Nerve with fat (yellow)
normally surrounding the nerve clearly visible