Suprascapular Nerve Blocks


The suprascapular nerve is a mixed motor and sensory peripheral nerve that arises from the superior trunk of the brachial plexus. The suprascapular nerve provides motor innervation to the shoulder muscles and transmits sensory information from multiple areas in the shoulder to the brain. A suprascapular nerve block is a procedure that involves the injection of local anesthetic and steroids near the suprascapular nerve. The procedure is a safe and effective method to treat pain due to chronic conditions affecting the shoulder. The procedure is performed as follows:

  1. The patient is placed in a sitting position

  2. The shoulder blade area is cleaned using an antiseptic solution

  3. A small needle is inserted into the notch in the middle of the top border of the shoulder blade

  4. A small amount of local anesthetic and steroid is injected near the nerve

A suprascapular nerve block treats patients experiencing pain in the suprascapular and shoulder joint areas. The block is effective in alleviating symptoms from acute pain emergencies, postoperative pain, pain from acute injury to the shoulder joint, cancer pain, chronic regional pain syndrome, and adhesive capsulitis.


Indications for a suprascapular nerve block include the following:

  • Shoulder pain from inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, seronegative spondyloarthropathies, and crystal arthropathies
  • Postoperative pain after shoulder surgery (e.g. arthroscopy, acromioplasty)
  • Adhesive capsulitis or rotator cuff disease
  • Intractable pain from trauma (e.g. fracture)
  • Bursitis
  • Acute anterior shoulder dislocation
  • Diagnostic block for suprascapular nerve entrapment