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Having arm pain, burning sensation on back and weakness. How to treat brachial plexus nerve injury?

Feb 2014
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5930 Questions
How should I treat my possible brachial plexus nerve injury which is a result of stretching my arm above my head and as I twisted my hand a little, something hurt on the left side of my vertebrae at neck/upper back area or should I be patient and wait for slow healing?
I stopped immediately, of course, but in several minutes felt pain in my shoulder/upper arm area. It's been two weeks and does not appear to be improving. I have a slight burning sensation in the upper back/neck area and when I touch my forearm, a deeper ache in the shoulder and upper arm area. I do not notice any weakness in hand or arm but have tried to be careful not to carry heavy things, etc. hoping it will heal.
Posted Sat, 20 Apr 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 3 hours later
Thanks for writing to us.

From description it seems you might having thoracic outlet syndrome.It is a group of disorders that occur when the blood vessels or nerves in the thoracic outlet — the space between your collarbone and your first rib — become compressed. This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers.

In most cases, a conservative approach to treatment is effective.
You have to learn how to do exercises that strengthen your shoulder muscles to open the thoracic outlet, improve your range of motion and improve your posture. These exercises, done over time, will take the pressure off your blood vessels and nerves in the thoracic outlet.
In general, to avoid unnecessary stress on your shoulders and muscles surrounding the thoracic outlet:

Maintain good posture
Take frequent breaks at work
Practice relaxation techniques

I suggest you to consult a doctor nearby for thorough examination.Your doctor may prescribe pain medications, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs — aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) — to decrease inflammation and encourage muscle relaxation.

I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Wishing you good health...
Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having arm pain, burning sensation on back and weakness. How to treat brachial plexus nerve injury? 27 hours later
Does a pain in the upper right area of my left shoulder blade near the backbones indicate thoracic outlet syndrome? That is the source of my problem. I do not have tingling or numbness in my hand. The pain in my upper arm and shoulder is in the back not front.
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 10 hours later
Thanks for posting your query again

Site of your pain is consistant with thoracic outlet syndrome.
In this overhead activities are perticullary difficult because they worsen the compression of brachial plexus and blood vessels.
It is not necessary to having tingling or numbess in hand in this syndrome. This symptom depends upon severity of pressure over nerves.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if you have any more concern.
Do accept my answer if you have no further query.

Wishing you speedy recovery.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having arm pain, burning sensation on back and weakness. How to treat brachial plexus nerve injury? 48 minutes later
Thank you for your prompt response! I'm not sure I'm conveying the information clearly but hope so. My most comfortable position is when my arm is raised with elbow out from shoulder and lower arm raised vertically in approximately 90 degree angle position to the horizontal upper arm. Leaning forward, like standing and cleaning vegetables at the kitchen sink, causes greater pain in the upper back area (to the right of my left shoulder blade). That was my first notice something is wrong 2 1/2 weeks ago and is still the main pain--the other areas of pain sort of come and go. It feels like something is wrong where the nerves come out from the spine. The day I did the ultimate stretch and twist movement with my arm and hand, I felt something "pop" with pain in the upper back area. Does the beginning and main source of pain in the upper back area as described above fit with compression in the collar bone area?
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 2 hours later
Thanks for writing to us again.

Now from your current description it seems to be trapezius muscle strain.
To get relief from the pain and for quick healing:
1. Do hot fomatation at the site.
2. Apply local anti-inflammatory gel 2-3 times a day.
3. Take anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen to reduce pain and local swelling or inflammation.
4. Do not lift weight or try to do exercise that involve painful muscles. Give proper time for the injury to heal.

Hope this will help you.

Wishing you good health...
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having arm pain, burning sensation on back and weakness. How to treat brachial plexus nerve injury? 1 hour later
Thank you, I will follow those suggestions.

Would a trapezius muscle strain also affect the actual arm nerves or muscles?

I appreciate your consideration of my problem.
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 18 minutes later

I am glad to know that I could address your concern.

Trapezius musle strain can effect the surrounding arm muscles or nerves.

Feel free to ask for any further query.

Good luck.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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