Skip to main content

Shoulder Pain Radiating Down Arm to Fingers: What You Need to Know

Medically Reviewed by Cellaxys

By Published: April 8, 2024No Comments
shoulder pain radiating down arm to fingers
Dr Pouya Mohajer


Medically Reviewed

Published on: April 8, 2024 | Updated on: March 3, 2024

Our shoulders keep the arms moving smoothly. They are quite an active part of our body, which is why any pain and inflammation in them can disrupt our entire life. When left ignored for an extended period, the pain can extend from the shoulders down to the arm and fingers. 

The shoulder has a ball-and-socket joint. It has muscles and tendons covering the upper arm and attaching the bone to the shoulder blade called the rotator cuff. This part is more likely to cause pain, but many other soft tissues, bony structures, and the spine can also be affected.

Cervical radiculopathy and brachial plexus neuritis are the two major factors for shoulder pain radiating down arm to fingers. While conservative methods can resolve it, sometimes they may become ineffective. That’s when regenerative medicine comes to the rescue.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain 

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain 

Many injuries, inflammation, and fractures can lead to intense shoulder pain radiating down the arm to fingers. Some of them include the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Pinched nerve
  • Infection
  • Bone fractures
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Brachial plexus inflammation
  • Joint inflammation (bursitis)
  • Tendon inflammation (tendinitis)

Sometimes, shoulder pain may come with dizziness, sweating, or breathing difficulties. In this case, you may be having a heart attack. Immediately seek medical attention on the onset of the pain.

Reasons Shoulder Pain Radiates Down Arm to Fingers

The human body has a nerve fiber network called a plexus that branches throughout the body and sends signals. The two types of plexus include:

  • The Cervical Plexus. It is the nerve connection radiating across the head, neck, and shoulder.
  • The Brachial Plexus. It is the nerve network across the chest, shoulders, forearms, upper arms, and hands.

Inflammation or damage in any of these nerves can cause shoulder pain that radiates from the arm to the fingers. You may also experience weakness, numbness, or a pinching sensation along with the pain.

Cervical Radiculopathy

The cervical spine is situated in the neck area consisting of seven bones. Inflammation and compression of the nerve roots in this area can lead to cervical radiculopathy or pinched nerves. It leads to stabbing shoulder pain radiating down the arm to fingers.

Cervical radiculopathy pain feels like needles in the hand or arm, often accompanied by numbness or muscle weakness. This condition usually occurs due to herniated or bulging discs, degenerative issues, or arthritis. 

In some cases, cervical radiculopathy doesn’t cause any symptoms in the beginning. However, the condition can worsen over time, leading to pain extending down the arm. 

Brachial Plexus Neuritis

Brachial plexus neuritis refers to the inflammation in the brachial plexus, running from your chest to the hands and fingers. The condition leads to stabbing pain throughout your shoulders and upper arms. 

The common symptoms of brachial plexus neuritis include tingling, muscle weakness, and numbness in the neck and arm. You may also experience:

  • Severe pain in the upper arm or shoulder 
  • Pain in one or both sides of the body
  • Gradual pain in the shoulder that results in weakness or paralysis of the muscles  over time
  • No sensation in the shoulder or arm 

The actual cause of brachial plexus neuritis isn’t known, but it’s mostly linked to the immune system’s response to specific health issues. The pain or discomfort, however, may occur without any reason.

Other Causes

Besides nerve compression, other sources of radiating shoulder pain include the following:

  • Rotator cuff issues
  • Tendinitis
  • Shoulder impingement, when the top shoulder blade area starts to pinch through the underneath rotator cuff.

Remember, the pain in these conditions radiates from the shoulder’s front to the upper or lateral part of the arm instead of down to the arms and fingers.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Pain Radiating Down Arm to Fingers

The treatment options for shoulder pain depend on the cause and severity of the pain. While conservative methods work significantly in reducing and treating your shoulder issue, you may need orthobiologic treatments to get rid of it with minimal pain. 

Conservative Care

The most effective conservative care for shoulder pain includes resting, icing, chiropractic care, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy. 

  • Resting. You should immediately give your shoulders some rest by stopping or limiting your arm movements. 
  • Icing. Applying ice packs to the affected area can help you minimize the pain. Make sure to follow this method for 20 minutes a day. 
  • Physical Therapy. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy for your shoulders to facilitate their mobilization and strengthening. 
  • Anti-inflammatory Medicines. If the cause of your shoulder pain is inflammation, your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the pain and make it bearable. These may include Lyrica, Neurontin, and Cymbalta. 
  • Steroids. Depending on your condition, your doctor may also administer steroids, such as Betamethasone, Depo-Medrol, dexamethasone, Celestone, and triamcinolone. However, these medications are dangerous and can destroy cartilage, increase infection risks, and cause systematic issues.


If none of the above methods work, doctors resort to surgery based on the cause and severity of the injury. Discectomy is the most common surgical procedure to treat shoulder pain radiating down arm to fingers. 

In this procedure, the surgeon cuts down the protruding disc to minimize the irritation and stress on the spinal nerves. However, it can weaken the disc’s side wall, leaving it vulnerable to injuries in the future. 

Regenerative Medicine Options

While surgery seems like an effective way to treat shoulder pain, it comes with a lot of risks, complications, and pain. That’s the primary reason many people don’t seek treatment and prefer living their lives in pain and misery. 

If you’re reluctant to surgery, too, regenerative medicine treatments are here to help. At CELLAXYS, our board-certified surgeons perform two main types of orthobiologic methods: cell-based therapies (stem cell therapy) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. 

Both methods involve no incisions, which leads to minimal pain during or after the treatment. They also have a shorter recovery period, and you can continue your life within a few weeks.

  • Cell-based Therapy. Popular as stem cell therapy, cell-based therapies involve extracting the patient’s own cells, processing them, and reinjecting them into the patient’s shoulder area to promote healing. When the surgeon takes cells from the adipose (fat) tissues, the process is called Minimally Manipulated Adipose Tissue Transplant (MMAT). On the other hand, if they extract highly concentrated cells from bone marrow, the process is called Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMAC)
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy. PRP involves taking the patient’s blood sample, separating platelets, and reinjecting them into the injury site. Platelets are the healing components, releasing 10 growth factors, attracting healing cells from the blood, and producing a web-like scaffolding called fibrin. A high number of platelets in the shoulder blade means more early recovery and healing. 

Cell-based therapies take about 1.5 to 2 hours, while PRP is completed within 45 minutes. Both are outpatient procedures, meaning you can go home right after the treatment.

People with shoulder pain who opt for CELLAXYS report painless recovery from their regenerative medicine treatment. Most of them return to their normal life in only a few weeks. Connect with us today to learn more!




CELLAXYS does not offer Stem Cell Therapy as a cure for any medical condition. No statements or treatments presented by Cellaxys have been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This site contains no medical advice. All statements and opinions are provided for educational and informational purposes only.


Privacy Policy

Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has been met with much acclaim and is now the head of Emergency Medical Services in Nye County, Nevada. More about the doctor on this page.

shoulder pain radiating down arm to fingers

Dr Pouya Mohajer


Pouya Mohajer, M.D. is the Director of Spine and Interventional Medicine for CELLAXYS: Age, Regenerative, and Interventional Medicine Centers. He has over 20 years of experience in pain management, perioperative medicine, and anesthesiology. Dr. Mohajer founded and is the Medical Director of Southern Nevada Pain Specialists and PRIMMED Clinics. He has dedicated his career to surgical innovation and scientific advancement. More about the doctor on this page.

Dr. Pejman Bady

Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has been met with much acclaim and is now the head of Emergency Medical Services in Nye County, Nevada. More details about the doctor on this page.


View Our Treatments
Schedule today!