nECK PAIN & ARM PAIN
If you have shooting pain down your arms, numbness/tingling in your hands, or severe neck pain our spine specialists should evaluate you to help find a diagnosis and treatment.
What is Causing your Neck Pain?
Neck pain could be from a wide range of causes, most of which can treated nonsurgically, including:
- Muscular – Ordinary strains and sprains or muscle spasms in the trapezius muscle
- Joint Pain – The facet joints (the joints of the spine) from normal wear and tear of life
- Stenosis – narrowing of the spinal canal or foramen, either congenital or from the wear and tear of life can cause nerve compression
- Stenosis – weakening of bone, that can eventually cause fractures
- Herniated Disc – a disc that moves and compresses a nerve in the cervical spine
What is Causing Your Shooting Arm Pain?
Sharp pain that shoots down your arm is usually more concerning than neck pain, and comes from nerve root compression, usually caused by:
- Herniated Disc – A disc between the vertebrae moves and pinches a nerve
- Stenosis – Narrowing of the central canal (where the nerve originates) or narrowing of the foramen (where the nerve exits to go down your arm)
- Synovial Cyst – caused by a vertebra slipping out of place, leaving less room for the nerve root
Where Neck Pain Begins
Symptoms that Require Immediate Attention
Everyone has lower back pain now and then, but if you experience any of these symptoms, or shooting leg pain lasts longer than a week, you need to see a spine specialist as soon as possible.
- Weakness in arms or hands
- Difficulty using hands (dropping things, change in handwriting, difficulty to button your shirt or pants)
- Trouble walking due to poor balance
- Issues with bladder or bowel control
Why Get Evaluated by a Spine Specialist?
We treat neck and arm pain everyday. We want to help find a nonsurgical or surgical treatment in order to avoid:
- Persistent pain that affects quality of life
- Permanent neurologic deficit, like a foot drop
- Going from doctor to doctor with no improvement
- Reliance on pain medications
Treatments for Neck And Arm Pain
Physical therapy with a certified physical therapist is the first line treatment for low back pain or leg pain in many cases, however if this has not worked in conjunction with pain medication or injections, we can evaluate you for other treatment options.
Back stretches and/or exercises can be incorporated into your daily routine in order to improve pain and quality of life. Improving core strength also improves lower back strength.
Steroid Injections (either an Epidural or facet injection) can be used both as a diagnostic and therapeutic treatment option. Using radiographic guidance, a needle is inserted into the epidural space and the area is injected with steroid, anesthetic, or a combination of the two.
This is done by a Pain Management physician, usually an Anesthesiologist or a Physiatrist, board certified in pain management.
Prescribed or over-the-counter pain medications work to reduce inflammation and ease pain, but should only be used as a short term solution for your leg or back pain.
If you are unable to get sustained pain relief from nonsurgical treatment and/or your quality of life has not improved, then surgical intervention may be the best treatment for your pain. If weakness is associated with your pain, then surgery may be first line treatment.
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