As a Fort Collins Chiropractor, I am often asked about arm pain and a tingling numbness. Arm pain, arm numbness, and shoulder pain may be experienced as “losing feeling” or having arm tingling. Most often the medical diagnosis is Brachial Neuralgia or Brachial Neuritis.Over the weekend, I called a friend and invited him to spend some quality time together. Over the past 2 years I have cared for this same friend as a patient who has suffered for many years with a common spinal problem I have helped countless others with – lumbar herniated / bulging disc and sciatic neuritis. Over the 2-year period, I spent hours educating him.
One our way home I asked about his wife, and how her real estate business was doing. The answer that followed was yet another opportunity for learning on my part that I will summarize in 2 sentences.
“No matter how much I feel I have educated my patients about the anatomy and physiology about how their body works, and the philosophy of chiropractic, it’s never enough. I now accept the fact that my patient education efforts must be a life long commitment that extends beyond a patient’s active care or else someone will suffer more or longer than necessary.”
What surprised me is that after all the time I spent educating my friend, is that it never occured to him that I could be “the best resouce” to help his wife. Quite honestly, I expected that he should have known. Now I see things differently.
It turns out my friends wife was suffering terribly the last few days with a severe flare up just the night before he and I met. After speaking with her on the way home with my friend at my side, I believe she is suffering from a condition called brachial neuritis or brachial neuralgia. In plain English, the translation is radiating nerve pain and numbness in the arm(s). Many people describe their symptoms as an arm tingling sensation. If you have heard of sciatica (radiating leg pain and numbness) this is very similar but in the arm.
Frequently, this condition is misdiagnosed as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome because the person’s hands are numb which is sometimes associated muscle weakness in the hands.
Diagnosis: Brachial Neuralgia | Brachial Neuritis
A proper Q&A, and examination is necessary to rule in/out the causative factors of why the arm is numb and or painful in the first place, being careful not to focus treatment on only eliminating the symptoms of pain and numbness. In my friend’s case, her pain was shifting from one side to the other. It was hard to sleep and she was just down right irritable.
Orthopedic and Neurological Examination
A proper evaluation of arm pain or arm numbness must include testing the nerves in the cervical spine (neck) and the muscles that receive nerve supply from specific nerves. This includes testing nerve reflexes, muscle testing, and testing skin sensation. Arm tingling and arm numbness are neurological findings. These test findings when abnormal clearly indicate the specific nerves in the spine that are affected.
When abnormal physical examination findings are present, an x-ray study may be indicated. Several special x-ray views image the openings where the nerves exit the spinal column and should be included in the exam. Most commonly for a 5-view study is recommended. Several factors can cause nerve irritation that results in numbness, pain and tingling. Most commonly, osteoarthritis, bone spur, herniated/bulging disc, muscle spasm, and faulty joint mechanics that shift the position of the spinal alignment are the primary causes.
However, less frequently other factors such as congenital defect, cancer, multiple sclerosis, benign mass and other factors can cause similar symptoms and should be considered.
Treatment for Arm Pain and Arm Numbness
If the primary cause of the problem is arthritis, a disc lesion, and or a biomechanical problem that includes a muscle disorder, the treatment falls within the scope of chiropractic care.
Treatment initially consists of acute pain management with physical therapy such as electrical muscle stimulation, and cold laser to ease inflammation and muscle spasm and pain. Physical medicine and rehabilitation techniques are used to treat tight, stiff and sore muscles that continue to aggravate spinal alignment by pulling joints out of place. Manual neck traction or computerized spinal decompression therapy gently separate the joints and spaces in the neck region that usually provides on the spot relief of numbness pain. Finally, chiropractic treatment is used to improve spinal function and biomechanics to restore proper motion, reduce scar tissue and most importantly to reduce interference to faulty nerve signaling.
Free 20-Minute Consultation & MRI Review
Call Dr. Coleman at 970-493-3100, and schedule your complementary consultation. We offer a free 20-minute consultation to determine if we can help you. Sit down with Dr. Gil and see how you feel working together. No strings, No pressure. No charge. Simply our experience working to help you.
More information: Learn more about our Fort Collins chiropractic services, sport injury & spine treatment center. Learn more by reading about Our Unique Approach.
Our wellness center offers 3 core disciplines that we call CPR: Chiropractic, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation. If you know of someone who is suffering with arm pain or arm numbness, they need help. Please share our good name with your family and friends and direct them to our website and blog for more information. We are here to help.
Frustrated with arm pain and numbness?
Call our Fort Collins sports injury center at 970-493-3100 and schedule an appointment today. We offer a complimentary 20-minute consultation including free x-ray/MRI review to determine if we can help you. Sit down with Dr. Gil and see how you feel working together. No strings, No pressure. No charge. Simply our experience working to help you.