Spinal Accessory Neuropathy Associated With Deep Tissue Massage: A Case Report

Ibrahim A. Aksoy, Sara L. Schrader, Muna S. Ali, Jill A. Borovansky, Mark A. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Aksoy IA, Schrader SL, Ali MS, Borovansky JA, Ross MA. Spinal accessory neuropathy associated with deep tissue massage: a case report. Spinal accessory neuropathy (SAN) causes impaired arm mobility and pain. The spinal accessory nerve is often injured during surgical procedures such as neck dissection for tumor resection or cervical lymph node biopsy. Other traumatic injuries may also occur. SAN causes weakness of the trapezius muscle and, less frequently, of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. The clinical consequence of trapezius muscle weakness includes impaired stability of the scapula leading to upper limb dysfunction and pain. We present a rare and illustrative case of SAN associated with deep tissue massage leading to scapular winging and droopy shoulder as a result of weakness of the trapezius muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1969-1972
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Accessory nerve
  • Case report
  • Massage
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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