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Shoulder pain is the third most common cause of pain complaints reported in primary care. Restricted shoulder movement due to pain, stiffness, or weakness is prevalent among nearly 26% of the population as explained in a study published by the BMJ. Shoulder pain can be debilitating and can affect daily life and work.

What causes tingling or burning shoulder pain?

If you experience the sensations of tingling and burning shoulder pain, the likely cause is not your shoulder but most likely due to a pinched, irritated, or compressed nerve.

The shoulder is supplied by nerves originating from the neck or the cervical spine which is the uppermost portion of the spine. The cervical spine is a complex yet delicate and flexible structure responsible for neck movement in all directions. The top of the cervical spine is connected to the skull and the bottom portion is connected to the upper back.

When any of these nerves or nerve roots of the neck or the cervical spine are pinched, irritated, or compressed, you may experience numbness, tingling, or burning shoulder pain.

What causes a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve affecting the shoulder happens due to several reasons:

Brachial plexopathy

A trauma, inflammation, or infection in the nerves of the brachial plexus causes brachial plexopathy. A brachial plexus is a group of nerves that originate from the neck or the cervical spine and upper back or thoracic spine. The branches of the brachial plexus supply nerves to most of the shoulder muscles. This condition is commonly seen in those involved in vigorous physical activities like weightlifting, gymnastics, and wrestling. Pain experienced because of injury to the brachial plexus may be experienced as sharp, stabbing, or throbbing pain.   

Cervical radiculopathy

A spinal disc herniation or bone spur in the neck can compress, pinch, or irritate the nerves of the cervical spine causing cervical pinched nerve also referred to as cervical radiculopathy. Cervical radiculopathy or pinched nerve is experienced as radiating arm and shoulder pain or numbness. The condition is more prevalent with increasing age, with the age group between 50-54 being at highest risk as per a study by the American Family Physician Journal. The study also reported that it is prevalent among men compared to women.

Trauma or injury

Direct trauma to the shoulder due to a fall or accident may also compress, irritate, or pinch the shoulder nerves causing pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, or shock-like sensation.

Peripheral neuropathy

This is a hereditary or genetic disease affecting the peripheral sensory or motor nerves. When this disease affects the nerves of the shoulder, in addition to shoulder pain, patients experience numbness, tingling, burning, and electric shock-like sensation.

Dislocated shoulder

The shoulder joint is highly unstable and is most prone to dislocation. A shoulder dislocation can cause rotator cuff injury or tear. A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilizes the shoulder. Injury to the rotator cuff can cause inflammation, compression, or damage to the shoulder nerves This causes shoulder pain, numbness, or tingling sensation.

In addition, medical conditions like diabetes, obesity may cause inflammation in the nerves causing numbness, weakness, or tingling sensation in the shoulder.

Treatment for burning shoulder pain

If you have shoulder pain or the sensation of tingling or burning that lasts for more than three months you need to seek professional medical care and treatment.

Typically, the first line of treatment is focused on resolving pain and improving movement with prescription medications to reduce pain and inflammation. However, prescription pain medications are not recommended for long-term usage and offer only brief relief from your symptoms. Surgery is recommended only when all other treatment options fail to provide relief, or you have sudden worsening pain or a medical emergency.

If you experience numbness in the shoulder and chest pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath, seek emergency medical care.

Rehabilitation & chiropractic care can relieve pressure on the compressed nerve and reduce inflammation through proper techniques, traction, manipulation, and adjustments. Adjustments and manipulation in conjunction with massage therapy, rehabilitation and chiropractic exercises can help resolve the underlying cause of your complaint and provide effective long-term relief.

Rehabilitation & Chiropractic care can help resolve your tingling, numbing, or burning shoulder pain

 Avoid the multitude of side effects caused by prescription pain medications. Treat your shoulder pain and related symptoms of weakness, tingling, burning or shock-like pain caused due to a variety of medical conditions naturally and effectively. Rehabilitation & chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive, and natural way to relieve your symptoms and a natural way to treat the root cause of your shoulder pain. Contact us at South Orange Rehabilitation for your next consultation and treatment session.