Suprascapular Nerve Entrapment: Symptoms, Treatment & Exercises

Suprascapular neuropathy is seen as shoulder pain, usually in athletes and in those who take part in overhead activities. Sports such as volleyball, baseball and tennis place a huge load on the one’s shoulder when the arm is overhead or in an abducted and externally rotated position.

By and large, sports-related overuse of suprascapular nerve injury is the commonest cause for suprascapular nerve entrapment; nonetheless it may also occur due to direct trauma as well as iatrogenic factors.

Symptoms Of Suprascapular Nerve Entrapment

Common manifestations include:

  • Pain around the shoulder.
  • Stiffness of the joint.
  • Tingling numbness.
  • Swelling and inflammation.
  • Reduced mobility of the joint.

Treatment For Suprascapular Nerve Entrapment

Treatment for suprascapular nerve entrapment depends upon the cause, intensity, and duration of your symptoms and the amount of disability.

  • Initially, your health care provider will embark upon conservative treatment for suprascapular neuropathy. Most cases respond to conservative therapy in about 6 months.
  • In those who do not have any pain or limitations in performance, a regimen of exercises for scapular stabilization and /mobilization and rotator cuff muscle reinforcement is advocated.
  • Those who have pain and discomfort are advised activity modification to help allay the symptoms during the acute phase.
    Gradually, you will be advised a series of functionally oriented exercises to help re-instate flexibility, scapular control, as well as rotator cuff strength and tolerance.
  • Initially, for 24 to 30 hours you need to apply ice to manage the inflammation and swelling. Thereafter, heat application is recommended.
  • Pain medications or injections are given to manage excessive pain.
  • Also, you may schedule yourself for massages which help alleviate the symptoms effectively. However, check with your health care provider and physiotherapist and ensure that you go to a licensed masseur.
  • In case, conservative treatment fails to allay the symptoms, surgical intervention is advised.
  • Talk with your doctor / surgeon and discuss what options are best for you. Understand the procedure, the risks and how soon you will be able to resume activity.
  • In general, surgical outcomes reported are fairly good. Those in whom the disorder is promptly diagnosed and the case is managed with early surgical decompression have a better prospect of regaining full muscular strength and bulk. What’s more, you need to take part in a post-operative program of rehabilitation and/or functional restoration to make sure that there is complete return of balanced strength and flexibility.

Exercises For Suprascapular Nerve Entrapment

Before embarking on any exercise routine make sure that you confer with your health care provider.

  1. Shoulder stretch: Stand straight and raise the shoulders. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Now slowly round your shoulder blades back, and hold this pose for 5 to 10 seconds. Now pull the shoulder blades downwards and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Release. Repeat this cycle at least 10 times.
  2. Pendulum: Stand straight; then, keeping the ‘good’ arm, i.e. the arm that isn’t painful resting on a chair, let the other arm hang down. Let this arm swing gently. Swing the arm backwards and forwards and in a circular fashion.
  3. Door press: Stand in a doorway and hold your hand such that it is bent at 90 degrees and so that the back of the wrist is facing the door frame. Try to push the arm against the door. Do 5 to 10 repetitions.