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Axillary nerve dysfunction

  • Alternative Names

    Neuropathy - axillary nerve


    Depending on the cause of the nerve disorder, some people do not need treatment. They will get better on their own. However, the rate of recovery can be different for everyone. It can take many months to recover.

    Anti-inflammatory medications may be given if you have:

    • Sudden symptoms
    • Small changes in sensation or movement
    • No history of injury to the area
    • No signs of nerve damage

    These medicines reduce swelling and pressure on the nerve. They may be injected directly into the area or taken by mouth.

    Other medicines include:

    • Over-the-counter pain medicines may be helpful for mild pain (neuralgia).
    • Other medications (phenytoin, carbamazepine, gabapentin, pregabalin, duloxetine, or tricyclic antidepressants such as nortriptyline) may reduce the stabbing pains that some people experience.
    • Opiate pain relievers, such as morphine or fentanyl, may be needed to control severe pain.

    Whenever possible, avoid or reduce medication use to lessen the risk of side effects.

    If your symptoms continue or get worse, you may need surgery. Surgery may be done to see if a trapped nerve is causing your symptoms. In this case, surgery to release the nerve may help you feel better.

    Physical therapy may help you maintain muscle strength. Job changes, muscle retraining, or other forms of therapy may be recommended.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    It may be possible to make a full recovery if the cause of the axillary nerve dysfunction can be identified and successfully treated.

    • Deformity of the arm, shoulder contracture, or frozen shoulder
    • Partial loss of sensation in the arm (uncommon)
    • Partial shoulder paralysis
    • Repeated injury to the arm

    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of axillary nerve dysfunction. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chance of controlling symptoms.