Tell-Tale Pinched Nerve in Shoulder Symptoms

Pinched nerves can have a number of causes, such as pregnancy and injury, but it can be difficult to work out whether you are actually suffering from a pinched nerve or not. A pinched nerve in shoulder areas needs to be identified as quickly as possible, so that it can be treated and long term damage to the nerve dos not occur.

The usual symptoms of a trapped nerve are pain, numbness and tingling and a pinched nerve in the shoulder is no exception. This pain is caused by the compression of the nerve, which immediately sends signals to the brain. Our brain interprets the signal as one of pain and we experience it. Sometimes the nerve becomes so compressed that it will also lose blood flow to it. This can cause numbness in the part of the body where the nerve reaches, because no signals to and from the brain can pass through. For shoulder nerves, this is most likely to be the arm, so you may experience a completely numb shoulder or arm, or just a loss of sensation in the fingers or fingertips.

We all use our arms for everyday tasks and with a pinched nerve in the shoulder, symptoms are likely to make themselves apparent this way. For instance, one common symptom is that movement and flexibility in the bicep corresponding to the side with the pinched nerve will be restricted. You may have lost a bit of strength and the arm may feel ‘stiff’. Your first thought is probably just to rest it and try to use it as little as possible, but you should be seeking a medical opinion first. Be careful not to pick up anything too heavy in case your pinched nerve is unable to facilitate all of your normal strength. You might drop the object, or strain a muscle by using the arm incorrectly.

Of course, with a pinched nerve in shoulder areas the symptoms will vary depending on exactly which nerve has become trapped. Numbness and weak muscles corresponds to a trapped C5 nerve, whereas if you have a pinched C6 nerve you’ll most likely have pain running from the top of the nerve down to the tip of the thumb in that arm. You may experience the same kind of pain, except in the tip of the middle finger instead, if a different nerve has been trapped, or a numb hand but no other symptoms at all.

Do try to remember that each part of our body has several nerves running to it from the spine, so while you may think you have pinched nerve in shoulder symptoms you may actually have a pinched nerve in the arm. For this reason it’s important not to go straight for holistic or alternative therapies but to get a diagnosis from your doctor first. Once you have had a test to see where the trapped nerve is you can seek definitive and safe treatment after that.


  1. Needed information fast and this was spot on even down to the C6 nerve for my pains in thumb and finger. Put my mind at ease a little.

  2. Interesting article. Thanks. I have had a tingling hand for nine months but my doctor has only prescribed folic acid and B6. He says to wait and see and won't refer me to a neurologist. It's frustrating when doctors are too cautious because of insurance costs.

  3. Lacked description of symptoms for a problem at C7 – should cover all the cervical vertebra that could affect the hand.

  4. I have had c-spine surgery April 2009, plate insertion and fusion, then again in Oct 2012, plate migrated to the left, corroded, rupturing c2-c7 out at this time, I had to have plate removed and revision of fusion posterior with rods, since this last surgery, I have continual drawing of my left shoulder with left arm also drawing and an intense hot wire pain that goes to my left thumb, does anybody else have this problem like me?

  5. Helped me diagnose trapped C6 nerve and go to the doctors.

  6. Informative. Yet I still need more info on subject such as, forms of pain relief, etc.

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