A pinched nerve in your shoulder can be very painful. However, it can also be an aching pain that you may try to live with.  If you are experiencing shoulder pain, you must not ignore it and expect that it will go away.  It is very important that you do not ignore pinched nerve in shoulder symptoms.  Take the steps necessary to treat the shoulder pain.

Pinched Nerve in Shoulder Causes

A pinched nerve in your shoulder can be the result of a variety of reasons.  Here are just a few causes that can cause shoulder pain from a pinched nerve:

  • Shoulder injuries (blunt trauma)
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Unstable shoulder
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Crutch use
  • Repetitive sports injury
  • Unusual anatomy

It is possible that you can have a pinched nerve in your shoulder due to a failed surgery.  Unfortunately, this is a possibility with shoulder surgery.

Pinched Nerve in Shoulder Symptoms

The symptoms you experience will depend on the location of the nerve that is impinged.  Locations are described by a letter and a number.  The most common locations in the shoulder are: C5, C6, C7 and C8.

  • C5 – If you have a pinched nerve in this area, you may experience weakness and numbness in your shoulder and in the deltoid region.
  • C6 – If you have a pinched nerve in this area, you will likely feel extreme pain from your thumb up to your shoulder.
  • C7 – If you have a pinched nerve in this area, you may experience pain that flows from your shoulder to your middle finger
  • C8 – If you have a pinched nerve in this area, you may experience pain in the outer section of your hand, especially from your pinky finger up to the middle of your arm.

The basic symptoms for a pinched nerve are weakness, numbness, and pain.  The severity of these symptoms will depend on the severity of the pinched nerve.

Home Treatment Options

While it is important that you contact a doctor if you experience symptoms, there are some things you can try form home to relieve pain or discomfort.  Here are just a few ideas:

Good Posture

This is something that you should already be doing; however, if you have weak back muscles, your posture could be suffering.  Good posture will help to maintain a normal thoracic and cervical curve.  If you have a flat neck at the back, you are more susceptible to disc problems.  If this is the case for you, you need to make sure to keep the muscles of your upper back that are between the shoulder blades strong.

Tennis Ball Massage

This is one of the most effective and simplest methods for self massage.  You can use one ball or create a two ball system.  Put one ball at the bottom of a tube sock, tie a knot, and put the other ball inside.  Tie another knot and cut off the excess sock.  You should now have a peanut shaped back roller.

There are a few ways to use the ball.  Put the ball on the ground and lie on top of the ball.  Position the ball between your shoulder blades.  You can also use a heavy beam or corner.  Place the ball between your shoulder and the wall.  Rock your body up and down or left and right to work out any knots or tightness you have in your back.


Ice can help to take away some of the pain.  Heat can cause more swelling and irritations around the nerve area; therefore, an ice pack is your best option. Wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen veggies in a dish towel and apply to the affected area.  Keep on the area for as long as you can handle it.

If these home solutions are not effective, you should contact your doctor for further treatment options.  Injections or surgery can be an option for a pinched nerve in the shoulder; however, they should be considered as a last resort.