Most people immediately associate shoulder pain with muscular problems, not knowing that their symptoms might have a neurological origin after all. That’s why sometimes, they notice minimal improvement after taking NSAIDs or muscle relaxants. Thankfully, some people already know about nerve pinching and how natural remedies like upper cervical chiropractic can help get to the bottom of the problem.
If you frequently complain about an achy shoulder that prevents you from moving around or working on crucial tasks, our list of natural and holistic pain remedies might help you turn things around. But before you deep dive into that, we suggest learning more about nerve pinching in the shoulders and checking out the characteristics that distinguish it from ordinary muscle pain.
Can You Get a Pinched Nerve in the Shoulder?
When doctors, therapists, and upper cervical chiropractic practitioners talk about pinched nerves, you mostly hear them refer to the neck, arms, hips, and legs. It’s rare to find content about pinched nerves in the shoulders because nerve pinching happens along the spinal column. Furthermore, cervical spine nerve entrapment primarily affects the brachial plexus – the nerve bundle that innervates the neck, shoulders, and inner limbs.
Naturally, when nerve pinching occurs between your cervical bones, your shoulders also have a high chance of feeling chronic and numbing pain. The nerve roots attached to our shoulder blade are also at risk of compression, especially when your cervical subluxation forces your spine to change its alignment and support the head’s weight. And unfortunately, the pain will persist until you address the root cause of your nerve pinching (such as cervical subluxation).
Pinched Nerve pain vs. Muscle Pain
Not sure whether your pain stems from muscle strain or nerve compression? You’re not alone – thousands of patients who seek upper cervical chiropractic for pinched nerves share the same problem. To help you distinguish between the two, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
The location of the painful or tender spots
Pain from a strained muscle rarely causes a prickling sensation on the skin. Instead, it only affects the muscles underneath. On the one hand, neurological pain can affect nearby tissues like the skin and the muscles supporting the neck and upper back.
One of the fastest ways to check whether your achy shoulder stems from sore muscles or compressed nerve is by moving your arms and shoulder. If the pain worsens when you flex your muscles, you likely have muscular pain. However, if the pain stays constant, you can be confident that nerve compression is the root cause.
Characteristic of the pain
Muscle and nerve pain leave varying impacts on the body. That’s why you will notice a slight difference between the sensations they cause. For example, a pulled or strained muscle mostly feels stiff and sore, while a compressed nerve causes a tingling or burning sensation. It might also help look out for radiating pain, a hallmark symptom stemming from a damaged or irritated nerve root.
How To Relieve Shoulder Pain Caused by a Pinched Nerve
Nerve compression can go away on its own if it doesn’t stem from spinal structure problems like disc herniation and cervical subluxation. All you need is to give your body enough time to heal. However, if your symptoms seem to worsen and you think it has something to do with nerve entrapment, we strongly recommend seeking remedies such as those we listed below:
Anti-inflammatory and pain medications offer fast relief for patients suffering from shoulder pain. While they don’t necessarily target the damaged or compressed nerves, their active ingredients quickly reduce muscle inflammation which can help ease the pressure in the affected areas.
Undergoing surgical operation
Severe cases of nerve compression in the neck or shoulder blade area may sometimes require surgical operation. Here’s a closer look at the two usual options for surgical pinched nerve relief:
- Laminectomy involves making a small incision and removing excess tissues on the rear side of the neck. This procedure comes in handy in decompressing the affected nerve roots.
- Microdiscectomy is a popular surgical technique that addresses disc herniation. It’s a minimally invasive procedure to widen the space where your nerves pass through.
Making simple lifestyle changes
Pinched nerve pain can worsen because of poor lifestyle choices. For example, if you are a smoker, you have a high risk of developing abnormalities in your vertebral disc structure. It can also reduce your bone density, leaving you highly vulnerable to osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and poor spinal posture.
Using home remedies
Home remedies like hot and cold compress remain one of the go-to options for pinched nerve relief. If you want to use the same approach, we suggest using a cold compress to reduce soreness and pain and a hot pack to speed up nerve and muscle tissue repair. Besides these two options, we also recommend other options for pinched nerve relief, such as:
- Massage therapy
- Switching to a non-inflammatory diet
- Wearing a wrist splint
- Stretching your neck and upper back, especially after a long day
Receiving upper cervical chiropractic care
Besides medication and surgery, thousands of patients seek upper cervical chiropractic to relieve their neurological pain. This is all thanks to the raving reviews of patients who received upper cervical care for pinched nerve relief and the impressive results from case studies.
Researchers say that upper cervical chiropractic adjustments help release tension in muscles and joints of the neck and shoulders. More importantly, the approach aims to provide lasting nerve pain relief by keeping the spinal column in good condition and preventing the head from tilting in the wrong direction.
It might help to seek an upper cervical chiropractic doctor if you experience recurring shoulder pain. After all, it could be a sign of C1 and C2 bone misalignment. Feel free to book your first consultation and X-ray examination with a local neck chiropractor today!