Suprascapular Nerve Injury
In this episode: An injury to the suprascapular nerve results in weakness of the supraspinatus and the infraspinatus (muscles of the rotator cuff). This will typically present as slight pain of the shoulder with weakness and is often initially diagnosed as impingement or possible rotator cuff tear.
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Brief overview of the episode:
Suprascapular nerve injuries (SNI) are rare. Accounting for only about .5% of all shoulder injuries. This number however, can be misleading because a diagnosis is almost always made by eliminating other possible causes, particularly impingement and rotator cuff tear.
The common signs of SNI are vague discomfort/pain in the shoulder with weakness of shoulder external rotation and abduction. In later stages atrophy can happen to the supraspinatus and infraspinatus. Sometimes pain in the neck and numbness can also occur.
The mechanism of injury is due to traction as the result of slowing your arm down in a cross body manner, as is common with volleyball players or throwers. Sometimes this injury is referred to a “dead arm”.
Treatment is almost always focused on scapular and para-scapular muscle strengthening as well as postural and mechanical correction.
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