Neck Pain Shooting Down Arm Tingling Sioux City
Pain shooting from the neck down the arm can signal a variety of injuries: damage to the neck, vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments all can produce radiating pain to the hands. All these injuries can also create numbness, tingling, and weakness in hands and arm muscles. Some people describe hand fatigue after repetitive movements. Others may find themselves dropping glasses from their hands without any reason.
Pain and weakness radiating outward from the spine may be the result of any number of conditions, which can range from mild to severe. The spinal cord runs down the vertebral canal, and smaller nerves branch off from it. The nerve branches run from the spinal cord and leave through the holes between the cervical vertebral bones. From the vertebrae, the nerves travel in a variety of paths to the fingers. Direct compression of a nerve at the spinal cord, or anywhere on its path, can create these symptoms.
Cervical Disc Bulges And Herniations
A very common condition causing pain, numbness, and weakness down to the hands is a cervical disc herniation. A vertebral disc is like a jelly doughnut—damage to the disc causes the jelly to escape. The disc herniation extrudes backwards towards the exiting nerve. The resulting inflammation, and escaped disc material, compresses the nerve root. This is because the nerve travels in between two adjacent vertebrae, and this small boney space cannot expand to accommodate the extra fluid. The extra fluid compresses the softest tissue, which happens to be the nerve. (Find more information and treatment options for cervical disc herniation).
Neck Sprains And Strains
Neck sprains can occur for a variety of reasons: anything from sleeping wrong to sudden jerking movements can cause them. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments get stretched and strained as a result of positioning or motion. The type of pain and its location will depend on which tissue was injured. Certain joint ligaments and tendons radiate pain from the neck and down the arm when they are injured. Severe neck joint sprains can radiate to the hand. The pain is worse with certain motions and movements, such as looking up, or over your shoulder. The pain is usually lessened with the opposite motion. Sprains usually hurt more in the first few days after an injury than do disc herniations or nerve entrapment injuries, but improve much quicker than either.
Severe arthritis of the facet joints can also cause compression of the nerve as it leaves the spinal cord. Facet joints support our head weight and allow for movement in all directions. The joints allow us to turn our head from shoulder to shoulder, and up and down. The cervical joints can become damaged over time with excessive wear and tear; this damage is called osteoarthritis. Arthritis damage to the facet joints creates bone spurs that extend into the nerves’ path. The bone spurs plus inflammation creates further compression on the nerve.
In these circumstances, people often describe sharp pain in their neck when looking over their shoulder or extending their head backwards. Damaged and arthritic joints do not move well, and tend to rub and grind. The damage tends to worsen over time. In most cases of severe facet arthritis there is a history of chronic neck pain. (More on severe arthritis and treatment).
After the nerve leaves the spinal cord it travels down towards the arm; several nerves travel through several muscles. When these muscles spasm, they can compress the nerves and cause pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand.
Trauma And Brachial Plexus Injuries
Different types of accidents and injuries stretch and damage the nerves. A car accident or whiplike motion stretches and damages muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. These types of injuries cause severe pain in the neck with all movements, and often limit neck mobility. Sharp and severe radiating pain from the neck to the hands often occurs with traumatic accidents.
Trigger points are areas of muscle that radiate to different parts of the body. For example, the suboccipital, rhomboids, and trapezius muscles can produce pain that radiates up towards the head or down the shoulder. Multiple trigger points in the neck can radiate all the way to the hands. The resultant neck pain and muscle spasms are often misdiagnosed as neck sprains or disc bulges. (More on trigger point injuries and treatments).
There are multiple causes of pain starting at the neck and traveling down the arm into the hands and fingers. Different injuries require different types of treatment. Proper diagnosis allows for the correct treatment. Since each type of radiating neck pain responds to different types of treatment, the wrong treatment will not help the pain, and will prolong the recovery period. Correct treatment helps to decrease pain and inflammation in the injured tissue, and increases nutrient-rich blood flow to repair the damaged area.