Suffering from numb fingers and shoulder pain

Most of us experience minor instances of shoulder pain and numbness from time to time, and occasionally these symptoms are the result of a more serious medical condition.

Pain and numbness in the fingers accompanied with discomfort in the shoulder region is mostly associated with a pinched nerve (cervical radiculopathy).

A pinched nerve occurs when a nearby structure irritates or presses on a nerve coming from the neck. This can lead to shoulder pain and numbness of the arm and hand.
What could cause this?


  • An acute injury such as a sudden jerk or carrying a heavy load that could injure the structures on the shoulder causing the nerve irritation. For example, over-stretching your arm or shoulder, trauma from a fall, or holding your arm over your head can cause shoulder pain due to nerve entrapment
  • Prolonged poor posture such as sitting in a slouched position for long periods can also damage nerves in your neck, or shoulders.
  • Sleeping at an awkward angle can pinch a nerve. This is from using a pillow incorrectly to sleeping on the sofa or other uncomfortable areas.
  • Strain on the muscles and joints in the upper back slowly build up and could eventually give pain and discomfort. One would often report having had mild pain or discomfort from time to time.
  • Arthritis, wear and tear, or age-related conditions can put pressure on the nerve root, sending shooting pains across your shoulder as well as your shoulder blade.

The symptoms of a pinched nerve are:

  • Sensation of “pins and needles” anywhere in your shoulder, shoulder blade, or arms
  • Burning sharp pain that radiates from your neck along your shoulders.
  • Weakness or a feeling of heaviness in the arm.  
  • Changes in feeling or sensation in the affected shoulder

A quick home treatment for pinched nerve is the use of an ice pack on the painful area. This provides relief as you seek medical assistance from your physical therapist.



Written By:
Joy Waihenya,
Physical Therapist
Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre

Suffering From Numb Fingers And Shoulder Pain?

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