A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure placed on the nerve causes pain or numbness in the area. A pinched nerve in the neck and shoulder can be caused by surrounding tissue compressing the nerve. When you have a pinched nerve in the neck and shoulder, you may experience sharp pains or a pins-and-needles sensation. You will need to speak to your doctor about your treatment options.
Consult with your doctor about the pain or numbness that you are feeling in your neck and shoulder. He may order some tests based on your symptoms to determine if you have a pinched nerve in that area. Tests that can diagnose a pinched nerve include MRI, nerve conduction studies and electromyography.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen. If your pain is severe during the treatment period, a doctor may give you a prescription for a more powerful pain reliever.
Do not strain the affected area. Your doctor will tell you to limit use of your neck and shoulder. You will be asked to refrain from sports, lifting heavy objects and any other activities that place strain on the neck or shoulders.
Perform strength-training activities under the care of a physical therapist. A physical therapist can recommend exercises that will help relieve the compression of the pinched nerve.
Receive steroid injections in the neck and shoulders. Your doctor may wish to reduce the inflammation in the area by using steroid injections at the site.
Determine, under the care of your physician, if surgery is needed. Pinched nerve surgery will likely involve removing the tissue that is compressing the nerve. Surgery is only performed if less aggressive treatments are unsuccessful.