Do You Get A Burning Pain In Your Shoulder?
If you have a burning pain in your shoulder, you may wonder what's wrong and what you need to do about it. There are actually several different things that a burning pain in your shoulder
Watch the video to learn 3 things that can cause that burning pain in your shoulder, as well as what you can do for each of them.
What Would Cause A Burning Sensation In My Shoulder?
The most common thing that I think of when I hear about burning pain in the shoulder is a nerve problem.
Nerve pain is most highly associated with a burning sensation, whether it's in your shoulder or somewhere else.
Therefore if you have a burning sensation in yours shoulder, I'd assume that it's a nerve problem until ruled out.
So What Nerves Cause A Burning Pain In The Shoulder?
There are 3 primary causes of a burning pain in the shoulder. Those include:
- A pinched nerve in your neck
- A brachial plexus problem (thoracic outlet syndrome)
- Muscles in your shoulder blade (not a nerve problem)
Pinched Nerve In Neck
The first cause of a burning pain in the shoulder is a pinched nerve in the neck.
The nerve roots come out of the side of your neck. Then they run down through an area between your neck and your shoulder called the brachial plexus.
You can pinch the nerves up at the nerve root level up in the neck. That is usually caused by a narrowing of the space where the nerves come out.
You may have a loss of disc height or degenerative disc disease, or you may have spinal stenosis or a bulging or herniated disc that's pinching on that nerve.
But somewhere in the neck, that nerve root is being irritated. That in turn causes burning pain in your shoulder blade and arm. You may also notice some numbness or some weakness in your arm.
If you're having shoulder pain that radiates down the arm to the fingers, that's less likely caused by the shoulder itself. It's probably more from the neck or this brachial plexus area, which we'll talk about in the next section.
Stretches For A Pinched Nerve In Neck
When you have a pinched nerve in your neck, moving your neck towards that side, that narrows the openings where the nerve comes out of your neck.
If you lean your neck to one side and you notice that burning in your shoulder or arm gets worse, that's probably a good indication that the problem is coming from your neck.
So, a good solution to that would be to go the opposite direction. That opens the spaces where the nerves come out of your neck. When you do that, you should feel a relief of your symptoms.
If you don't feel a relief of your symptoms, then chances are that's not the problem in the first place.
Which brings me to the second cause of a burning pain in your shoulder, which is an a traction injury to the brachial plexus.
Brachial Plexus Problems
A traction injury means that something has been overstretched. In this case it refers to the brachial plexus, which is where the nerve roots from your neck join together before going into the arm.
The brachial plexus is located between your neck and shoulder.
Nerve tissue doesn't stretch very well, so when you overstretch your brachial plexus, your neck muscles around that nerve tighten up to protect it.
You may feel like you've got a knot in the muscle around it because that muscle is tightening up to protect the nerve.
When you have an a traction injury to your brachial plexus, say in football, they actually put a name to it called a stinger, or a burner.
That's because it causes a burning pain in your shoulder.
If you have a traction injury to the nerve, stretching it isn't a good idea, even if your muscles feel tight. That's because the muscles are tightening up to prevent your nerves from being overstretched.
So whereas when you have a pinched nerve in your neck, it makes sense to stretch away from that area and open up the spaces where the nerve is being pinched, if the nerve is already overstretched, that's actually probably a bad idea.
That's why it's important to find out what's causing your shoulder pain before you start trying random treatments.
So what do you do if the burning pain in your shoulder is caused by an overstretched nerve?
Well, in that case, you actually want to get arm support.
- So trying to support your arm on a desk or on armrests whenever possible.
- If you're standing, put your hands in your pocket or support it with the other arm.
- Avoid things where gravity is pulling down on your shoulder blade
Exercises For A Burning Pain In Your Shoulder
Additionally, doing exercises that will help shorten the area between your neck and shoulders can help.
For example, standing facing a wall and sliding your arms up the wall.
That's a good exercise to do if you have a traction injury to a nerve in your shoulder.
(Note: You can also have a compression injury to your brachial plexus called thoracic outlet syndrome.)
Burning Pain In Shoulder Blade Muscles
The third cause of a burning pain in your shoulder is actually coming from the shoulder itself.
As I previously mentioned, nerve problems are the MOST common cause of a burning pain in the shoulder blade.
However, your shoulder muscles can on occasion cause burning pain.
Acute Rotator Cuff Injuries
Muscle pain is usually dull and achy. However, an acute injury can be different.
By acute, I mean you've recently injured your shoulder and felt a snap, pop, or tear.
If you have an acute injury to your rotator cuff muscles, it can cause some inflammation. That inflammation in turn can give you a localized burning pain in your shoulder.
Knots In Shoulder Blade
Additionally, if you have knots in the back of your shoulder blade, those knots can tighten up and prevent the blood from getting to the area.
That causes a buildup of inflammatory chemicals, such as lactic acid and other substances, which can also give you a burning pain in your shoulder blades.
In this case, using a tennis ball or massage ball in the back of your shoulder blade can help release those knots.
How To Use A Trigger Point Ball For A Burning Pain In Shoulder Blade
- Find the knot or sore spot on the shoulder blade.
- Then put the ball underneath your shoulder blade on the sore spot.
- Roll back and forth on the ball to release the knot.
Check out these posts for more information about how to relieve a burning pain in between the shoulder blades:
- Have A Knot In The Shoulder Blade That Won't Go Away?
- How To Relieve Upper Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades
How To Get Rid Of Burning Pain In Shoulder For Good
But if you've recently had an acute injury to your shoulder and you heard a snap or felt a tear or something, that's something you probably don't want to self-treat.
Acute injuries are time-sensitive, and the quicker you get treatment for them, the quicker they get better.
Furthermore, you can prevent them from getting worse.
And if you've got a more chronic problem for example a pinched nerve in your neck or a brachial plexus injury, you want to figure out what caused it in the first place and why it hasn't gone away yet.
If you need help for shoulder pain, tap the button below to request an appointment with one of our specialists. We'll help you figure out what's wrong and what you can do to get your shoulder feeling better, plus how to keep the pain from coming back again in the future.