How to Heal Temporary Shoulder Nerve Damage

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If you suffer from shoulder nerve pain, you might have what is known as axillary nerve dysfunction. This is a form of peripheral neuropathy in which the axillary nerve, which supplies the deltoid muscles in your shoulder, is damaged. Thus, you can experience numbness in your shoulder or weakness, trouble lifting your arm above your head or lifting objects. Usually, this is caused by prolonged pressure on the nerve, direct trauma or fracture in you upper arm. But there might be no obvious cause for your axillary nerve dysfunction. In some cases, your shoulder nerve damage can be temporary and disappear on its own. However, if you are not in that category, treatment to heal your shoulder nerve damage should be aimed at the underlying cause.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


    Heal Temporary Shoulder Nerve Damage

  1. 1

    Try medication. Anti-inflammatory medications can be prescribed for you if have minor symptoms, no history of trauma to the area, or little to no signs of nerve damage. You can have the anti-inflammatory medication injected into your shoulder or take the medication orally.

    You can take over-the-counter medication to control pain associated with the shoulder nerve damage. However, if you experience symptoms like stabbing pain, your doctor can prescribe carbamazepine or gabapentin to help control the pain.

  2. 2

    Use physical therapy to improve your range of motion and strengthen your shoulder muscles so that you can lift your arm above your head or lift objects without pain. For instance, your physical therapist might recommend a range of motion exercise in which you stand upright and hold onto a sturdy surface with you unaffected arm. Then you bend forward at your waist and keep your knees bent. Make sure your affected arm is extended and relax; then make small circles 10 times each counterclockwise and clockwise. Do this exercise twice a day.

  3. 3

    Undergo surgery. If physical therapy and medication do not aid with recovery after three or four months, you might need surgery to repair a trapped nerve to relieve symptoms. If that surgery does not restore your nerve function, you might need to undergo a fusion of your shoulder or a muscle transfer.

Tips and warnings

  • As with any surgery, shoulder surgery can be complicated by bleeding, infections or reactions to the anaesthesia, according to Discovery Health.

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