Nerve entrapment as a cause of shoulder pain in the spinal cord injured patient. Spinal cord series and cases Curtin, C. M., Hagert, C. G., Hultling, C., Hagert, E. 2017; 3: 17034


Many people with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) develop shoulder pain, which can adversely impact transfers and independence. Yet effective treatments remain elusive.This report presents two patients with tetraplegia who had long-standing shoulder pain. Our exam showed muscle weakness and point tenderness, suggestive of nerve entrapments of the radial and axillary nerves in the posterior shoulder. These nerves were surgically decompressed and post-operatively the patients' pain resolved.Shoulder nerve entrapments are uncommon but SCI patients may be at more risk due to their unique upper extremity demands. SCI providers should consider proximal nerve entrapments as a possible cause of shoulder pain.

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