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Shoulder nerve damage symptoms

Updated March 23, 2017

Shoulder nerve damage occurs when the axillary nerve, which supplies the deltoid shoulder muscles, is affected by some type of trauma. Shoulder nerve damage may occur as a result of a direct shoulder injury. Such injuries may include a fracture to the upper portion of the arm and dislocation of the shoulder. Also, nerve pressure from the prolonged use of a cast may also result in nerve damage. Similarly, using crutches improperly for a longer period of time may also result in nerve damage. Shoulder nerve damage may be minor and require little or no treatment, but, on the other hand, it may also be more serious and require more vigorous treatment. Shoulder nerve damage may result in the following symptoms:

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An individual with shoulder nerve damage may experience numbness in the outer part of the shoulder.


An individual with shoulder nerve damage may feel as though the affected shoulder is weaker than it was previous to the damage.

Lifting Difficulties

It may be difficult to lift objects with the arm affected by the shoulder nerve damage.

Inability to Raise Arm Overhead

It may also be difficult for a person affected by shoulder nerve damage to lift his arm above their head.


It is likely that a person with shoulder nerve damage will experience pain in the shoulder, especially when using the shoulder to raise the arms or lift objects.

Possible Long Term Effects

In some cases, the shoulder may become permanently damaged, resulting in shoulder paralysis.

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About the Author

Melody Hughes

Based in Laurel, Miss., Melody Morgan Hughes covers topics related to education, money and health. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English education from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Education from William Carey University and a Master of Education from Nova Southeastern University.

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