Why That Pain in Your Arm May Point to a Problem in Your Neck

Why That Pain in Your Arm May Point to a Problem in Your Neck

Pain can be a tricky problem to treat, especially when it occurs without an obvious injury or trauma. That’s why a key component to diagnosing a pain condition lies in the symptoms themselves because they often provide clues to the problem — including whether your pain originates in another part of your body. 

It’s actually common to have damage in one part of the body but feel symptoms in another. This is because all of the nerves in your body are wired together. As a result, a problem in one location can lead to sensations in another due to the nerves involved.

At Valley Pain Centers, our specialists understand the complex nature of nerve pain. Since our providers have extensive experience diagnosing and treating pain conditions, you can rest easy knowing that you can find relief for your symptoms, even those originating in other parts of your body.

Do you have pain in your arm? Here are a few signs that the pain may actually be caused by a problem in your neck.

When your neck is the source of your pain

We usually associate pain with the part of our body where it occurs. For example, if you skin your knee or get a blister on your heel, those areas hurt because of injuries to those specific locations. However, pain symptoms can be very different when injuries involve your neck.

First, let’s zoom out and get an overall view of your neck and back. Your spinal column runs from the top of your neck to the bottom of your back, and it’s made up of interlocking vertebrae and cushiony shock absorbers, known as intervertebral discs.

Your spinal column surrounds and protects your spinal cord, which is a thin, tube-like structure that’s made up of nerve tissue.

Now, let’s take a closer look at your neck. We refer to this top-most part of your spinal column as your cervical spine. Along with all of the parts mentioned previously, it also has eight nerve roots that branch out from each side of your neck. These nerves pass through a specific part of your shoulder before running down your arm.

Unfortunately, if problems occur in the cervical spine, nerve roots in the area can become irritated or compressed. If this occurs, it can trigger symptoms that radiate along the affected nerve, causing pain to travel into the shoulder, arm, and even the hand. 

We refer to this type of pain as radicular pain.

Common neck problems that cause radicular pain

In most cases, cervical radiculopathy develops because of degenerative changes in the spine. These structural issues can occur for a variety of reasons, including age-related spinal degeneration, such as stenosis, or injuries, such as herniated or bulging discs.

When you experience structural changes like these in your cervical spine, they can constrict, irritate, or compress the nerve roots in your neck, causing pain in your shoulder, arm, or hand.

Common signs of cervical radicular pain include: 

If you think you could have cervical radiculopathy, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid worsening symptoms or permanent nerve damage.

Treating neck problems that cause arm pain

At Valley Pain Centers, our treatment strategy focuses on treating your symptoms at the source. After determining what’s to blame for your arm or shoulder pain, we create a personalized approach to easing your symptoms and soothing the affected nerves.

A few of our cutting edge therapies for neck problems include:

Depending on the cause of your symptoms, you could find pain relief in days or weeks. However, it can also take ongoing treatment to achieve long-term results.

At Valley Pain Centers, with two convenient Arizona locations in Phoenix and Peoria, you are never a number. Your consultation, examination, and treatment are always administered by a highly qualified physician. We have experienced physicians who can help you, including Patricia Henthorn, DC, DAAMUAP and  Norvan Vartevan, DO. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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