Dorsal Scapular Nerve Pain

Although the dorsal scapular nerve normally contains motor fibres, an old dissection case report described sensory fibres that innervated a small region of skin between the fifth and sixth thoracic vertebrae. While the exact location of these sensory fibres is still unknown, they may have some relationship to the elusive condition known as notalgia parenthetical.

Anterior doorbell sign

The Dorsal Scapular Nerve is the source of shoulder, neck and mid-back pain. A dissection case report described sensory fibres that run from the dorsal scapular nerve between the fifth and sixth thoracic vertebrae. This nerve may also be a cause of pain. Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.

The Dorsal Scapular Nerve is part of the brachial plexus, providing electrical stimulation to three muscles in the shoulder region. At one end, these muscles attach to the shoulder blade, while the other end connects to the spine. The nerve then passes through another muscle in the neck called the rhomboid major. When you experience symptoms, the pain in the anterior doorbell sign may be a symptom of a weakened nerve or a weakened or damaged DSN.

Compression of the dorsal scapular nerve

The dorsal scapular nerve, which arises from the cervical spine, is more or less centrally located. It lies 1.5 cm medial to the scapula's midline, between the serratus anterior superior, levator scapula, and thoracic duct. When the nerve is injured, it results in weakness of the rhomboids and the absence of bulk between the scapula and the chest.

In addition to being an underdiagnosed cause of shoulder pain, compression of the dorsal scapula nerve can also cause arm and neck pain. This nerve is vulnerable during brachial plexus injections. In addition, the symptoms of entrapment can mimic those of rib or cervical disc herniation.

Although isolated dorsal scapular neuropathies are rare, they can affect sportspeople and other individuals who work in high-risk occupations. Physiotherapy may help relieve the pain caused by the entrapment, whereas surgery is required in severe cases. In addition to physical therapy, active release technique and massage may help with nerve entrapment.

Compression of the dorsal thoracic nerve may also be a cause of dorsal scapular nerve. The DSN is primarily a motor nerve, and the symptoms of nerve compression include atrophy and weakness of muscles supplied by the nerve. Additionally, the nerve may cause pain in the shoulders, arms, and upper back.

In some cases, patients may present with a combination of symptoms, including upper and mid back pain and posterolateral arm pain. Compression of the dorsal scapular nerve may also cause pain in the upper extremities, as in the case of entrapment in the middle scalene muscle. In many cases, however, a dorsal scapular nerve entrapment will lead to a missed diagnosis.

This study focused on 20 adult cadavers that were embalmed at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. The cadavers ranged in age from 52 to 93 years, and were 99% Caucasian. The cadavers were individually wrapped in Maryland State Wetting Agent and then stored in metal tanks. The cadavers were then analyzed using MRI.

The dorsal scapular nerve receives branches from the C4 – T1 spinal nerve. Most of the dorsal scapular nerve comes from the ventral ramus of the C5 vertebra. It passes behind the major portion of the brachial plexus. It then passes through the medial scalene muscle. The rhomboid muscles function opposite to the serratus anterior.

Conservative treatment is effective in decreasing dorsal scapular nerve syndrome symptoms. Conservative treatment involves treating the underlying muscle adhesions and fascial restrictions of the medial scalene muscle. It can also reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms. Exercises can be used to strengthen and re-stabilize the scapular joint.

Treatment options

There are several different treatment options for dorsal scapula nerve pain. Conservative treatments include addressing muscle adhesions and fascial restrictions in the medial scapula. Traditional therapeutic exercises are also used to strengthen and re-stabilize the neck. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. However, there are also risks involved, including bone fractures and lung problems.

Muscular tension and poor posture may cause the entrapment of the dorsal scapular nerve. To treat this condition, physicians use various techniques that aim to release the nerve. The nerve is often entrapped by adhesions in the surrounding muscles, which restrict its movement. When this occurs, pain develops. The treatment options for dorsal scapular nerve pain may involve a combination of physical therapy and medications.

Surgery is an option for patients suffering from dorsal scapular nerve symptoms. A surgeon can release compressed nerves using an arthroscopic procedure. The surgery is performed through a small incision on the top of the shoulder. The physician uses an arthroscope to visualize and decompress the nerve. Patients may leave the hospital the same day and return home. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.

A combination of physical therapy and massage therapy can help winging in the scapula. A surgical procedure can also be used if the nerve was damaged in the spinal accessory. However, the recovery time for surgical procedures may take several months. Surgical treatment can be expensive and may not be suitable for some patients. Surgical treatment for dorsal scapular nerve pain can be life-saving, but it can take several years to completely heal the problem.

The diagnosis of dorsal scapular neuropathy is difficult to establish. Patients often experience pain in the shoulder but think that they have thoracic disc lesions or nerve root compressions. Throwing athletes may feel early fatigue in their shoulders and assume that their pain is a result of repetitive microtrauma. But the location and pattern of pain may not lead to a definitive diagnosis. Only a proper evaluation may reveal the signs and symptoms of dorsal scapular nerve pain.

Because the dorsal scapular nerve dermatome falls below the inferior medial border of the scapula, it would not be affected by DSN neuropathy. However, if the dorsal scapular nerve is affected by T1 pain, a thoracic cutaneous nerve neuropathy may be the cause of the pain.

The diagnosis of dorsal scapular nerve compression involves assessing the extent of the injury. Doctors may perform electromyography to determine if the nerve has been injured. It is possible that the underlying injury could have affected the levator or rhomboid muscles. Various treatment options are available to reduce the pain and restore function. If your symptoms do not respond to conservative treatment, you may have to undergo surgery.


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Written by Wayne Parker

Nasty Toenail Fungus

Pinched Nerve Chiropractor