Is My Pain Coming from My Neck or Arm?
Millions of people each day suffer from pain, numbness, and/or weakness in their arms and hands. This type of pain can range from mild to unbearable. Often, the people suffering report muscle spasms and headaches as well.
Does those sound like you?
It may surprise you to learn that these symptoms (the arm and hand pain, numbness, weakness) can stem from a problem in your neck. The nerves that exit between each bone, or vertebrae, in the neck extend out and down the shoulders, arms, and hands. If these nerves come irritated or compressed than it can lead to symptoms in the upper extremities. The irritation or compression commonly results from a challenge such as a herniated disc or bone spur. Both the disc or spur can take up space in the delicate canal which the nerve exits. This can lead to small amounts compression. This compression will irritate the nerve and result in symptoms.
Researchers have found that nearly 90% of us will have neck or back pain at some point in our life.
The good news is that 50-60% will recover within one week. An additional 30-40% will recover within 90 days. But that still leaves 10% of us which will have chronic neck or back pain. Fortunately, there are alternatives aside from surgery or living on higher and higher doses of medication. Chiropractic care care has been shown to greatly improve the symptoms associated with neck pain. Additionally, chiropractic care has been shown to actually DECREASE intra-discal pressure- which can improve the radiating symptoms which appear in the arms and hands. Some people with neck pain may be fearful of going to a chiropractor and having an adjustment on their neck when it hurts. It feels as though any motion would cause more pain, and if you have never had an adjustment before, it can be stressful. What many people don’t know is that chiropractors have a variety of techniques to help with neck pain. Not every patient needs a “traditional” chiropractic adjustment which we often see on TV. There are many LOW impact techniques which can be used to help reduce neck and arm pain.
The most important when diagnosing neck pain is always a thorough case history, examination and evaluation. Sometimes additional diagnostics such as an X-ray or MRI are ordered. After a diagnosis has been made then your chiropractor will be able to choose the best technique for your challenges.