Shoulder pain with numbness and tingling

It is normal to have mild, temporary changes in feeling after a shoulder injury or when you have swelling. Home treatment may help relieve swelling that causes numbness or tingling.

Numbness and tingling may occur when nerves have been injured, stretched, or pinched or when swelling is putting pressure on nerves. This can occur from:

  • A neck or head injury.
  • A sudden (acute) injury, such as a severe sprain, fracture, severe blow to the shoulder, dislocation, or penetrating injury (for example, a gunshot or stab wound). Symptoms usually begin suddenly at the time of the injury.
  • Arthritis or problems with the neck or spine.

Numbness and tingling may develop even when there has not been an injury.

  • Conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and peripheral neuropathy may cause numbness and tingling that begins gradually and becomes worse over time.
  • Numbness and tingling in the arm, especially when it occurs with chest pain that is crushing, squeezing, or increasing in intensity, can be a symptom of a heart attack, which requires emergency care.
  • Sudden arm weakness or numbness with a loss of function can occur in conditions such as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), stroke, migraine headache, ruptured cervical disc, or pinched cervical nerve. These conditions need immediate medical evaluation.

Numbness and tingling are more serious when:

  • You have a complete loss of feeling.
  • You have symptoms of impaired blood flow such as pale, white, blue, or cold skin.
  • Your symptoms don't go away.
  • Your symptoms get progressively worse.
  • Your symptoms go away but keep coming back.
  • You have muscle weakness (not just because of pain).

Last Updated: September 19, 2009

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