Parsonage–Turner syndrome (PTS) is a neurological disorder which results in extreme pain in the arms and shoulders. A disorder in the immune system may cause PTS which may last for a few hours or a few weeks, depending on the area and nerves involved. It’s not uncommon for the symptoms to go away without any treatment. The muscle gets its strength back naturally and the pain goes away.

The particular cause of Parsonage–Turner syndrome is unknown. According to a recent study, viral illness is an active factor that is associated with the development of a neurological disorder, but the pain may start suddenly, mainly it starts at night. Males are at high risk of having PTS and people between 20 and 60 years of age.

Parsonage–Turner Syndrome


  • The pain starts suddenly and can become severe with time. Right shoulder gets mostly affected, but sometimes both the shoulders can be affected.
  • You will have constant pain that may remain for hours or for weeks.
  • Pain gets severe during any kind of shoulder movement.
  • If the pain goes away, it will leave your shoulder weakened and sometimes even paralyzed.
  • Lack of sensation can occur on the arm and shoulder.
  • Pain becomes worse at evening or night.
  • Hair and nail grow quickly, which is quite abnormal
  • Too much sweating or the affected area may feel cold to the touch.


The situation gets more complicated if the position of the arms, hand, wrist and shoulders gets shifted slightly because of atrophy and weakness of muscles. This may lead to shoulder subluxation. It gets more painful when the tendons in the shoulder solidify or get trapped during the movement. 

As the nerves get damaged, blood vessels also get affected leading to infection of the skin. You will find spots and redness on your hand.


If you are affected with the Parsonage–Turner syndrome, the first and foremost thing that you have to do is to visit a doctor. If your pain and discomfort is at the initial stage, then your doctor will prescribe you a painkiller. After minimizing your pain, your physician will help your shoulder regain its mobility. At this stage, it is very important to improve the strength of your muscle. You have to do some active and passive exercises under the instruction of a physiotherapist. This process will continue for 8 weeks. If you feel the same pain and discomfort even after the treatment, then you may have to undergo surgery. Oral steroids are also given to the patients to minimize the inflammation.  If the pain is severe, then doctors go for narcotic medication also.

Preventive Measures

The best way to prevent any shoulder injury in general is to practice some simple exercises at home. This will keep your shoulder strong and healthy. If you are already experiencing pain, it is best to consult a medical specialist immediately, as the pain will only get worse. With proper stretching and exercising, you can keep yourself injury free.