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Can Neck Pain Affect Your Arms

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Osteoarthritis In The Neck

The One Simple Trick That Can Stop Your Neck & Arm Pain.

Osteoarthritis in the neck is the degeneration of joints, vertebrae, and discs in the cervical portion of the spine. With less padding between them, vertebrae may rub against each other. That can cause tiny bone fragments to break off and float in the synovial fluid .

Sometimes this process stimulates the growth of bony projections along the edges called bone spurs, or osteophytes. Since the padding is now thinner, the vertebrae become closer to each other. That leaves less room for the spine nerves that stick out from the spinal cord.

Symptoms of neck osteoarthritis range from none to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Osteoarthritis in the neck pain tends to worsen after activity. Complications such as loss of coordination can happen if the spinal cord becomes pinched.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

Spinal stenosis in your neck can cause cervical radiculopathysymptoms may include pain accompanied by tingling sensations, numbness and/or weakness. These symptoms may radiate downward from your neck into one or both shoulders, arms and/or hands. The pain caused by cervical spinal stenosis may be described as acute, episodic, occasional, or it may become chronic; its intensity can vary from mild to severe.

Other symptoms may include:

Treating Neck And Shoulder Pain

Treatment of neck and shoulder pain depends on the underlying cause.

Heart attack, stroke, and other serious conditions often include emergency treatment. For most other situations, home remedies, physical therapy, and massage will bring improvement.

Some of the more serious situations that may require surgical treatment include:

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What Are The Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of neck pain may be stiffness, tightness, aching, burning or stabbing or shooting pains, pressure, or tingling. Muscles can feel sore or tense in the neck, face, or shoulders. Muscles can spasm when they go into a state of extreme contraction . Movement may be restricted â perhaps you cannot turn your head. If nerves are involved, pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness may develop in your shoulders, arms or hands.

Several situations signal the need for prompt medical attention. If nerve compression is severe, symptoms can include pain, numbness, tingling in the arms or legs, loss of bladder or bowel control, or loss of strength and problems with coordination.

Neck pain along with a severe headache, fever, or nausea could be a sign of infection or a bleed in the brain. If your neck is so stiff that you can’t touch your chin to chest, seek medical help immediately.

What Is The Cervical Spine

Can GERD or Acid Reflux Cause Neck & Shoulder Pain ...

The cervical spine is the neck region of your spinal column. It’s made up of seven;small, highly mobile bones, and their associated ligaments, muscles, and shock-absorbing discs.

Anything that aggravates or comes into contact with your spinal nerve roots can lead to radiculopathy, and that includes several common conditions in which growths or abnormalities cause something to invade the space of the nerve root.

  • Herniated disc: The shock-absorbing discs between vertebrae can become damaged and may develop a bulge and/or leak fluid.
  • Synovial cyst: These lumps are caused by a buildup of joint fluid that forms a sac.
  • Bone spur: An extra bit of bone forms in response to damage or chronic inflammation.
  • Cervical spondylosis : This condition involves the formation of bone spurs in the neck.
  • Spinal stenosis: An advanced stage of spinal arthritis, stenosis occurs when the spaces in the spine become narrowed, usually due to excess bone growth.
  • Degenerative disc disease : Discs between vertebrae erode and fray over time, which may cause a herniated disc. In cases of severe degeneration, bone-on-bone contact can cause bone spurs in the joint.

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The Cause: Poor Posture

Its amazing how much our posture can impact on our bodies! Tension in the neck or shoulders can be felt down into the arms, cause headaches like tension headaches, and even cause eye strain. However, if you are experiencing a lot of severe neck pain, that doesnt seem to improve or lessen with time, Id always recommend that you get a doctor to check you over. This will allow them to rule out more complicated conditions such as slipped disc, calcified spurs etc.;

How Are Back And Neck Pain Treated

If you experience acute back or neck pain, it may simply improve with some rest. Over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may also help with the discomfort. You should try to move gently during this period, so that you will not become stiff and lose mobility.

If you have chronic pain of your back and neck, you should try several remedies that may be helpful, before seeking surgical options. These include:

  • Hot or cold packs

  • Specific exercises to strengthen muscles and ease pain, such as stretching and flexing. Your health care provider can provide and demonstrate these exercises.

  • Aerobic exercise may be permitted and can help with your overall fitness and strength

  • Certain anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants may be used, with your health care providers supervision

  • Braces or corsets for extra support

  • Injections for pain relief in the area

  • Nerve block, which decreases pain signals from ;the affected nerve

  • Acupuncture

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How To Tell Your Neck Pain Might Be Caused By A Heart Problem

A good tipoff is the presence of certain additional symptoms.

While many different disorders can cause anterior neck pain, neck pain associated with difficulty breathing, chest pain, feeling flushed or sweating, or palpitations should raise suspicion for acute cardiac pathology, explains Sendhil Krishnan, MD, a board-certified adult general cardiologist with advanced subspecialty training in interventional cardiology.

Dr. Krishnan adds, The reason for the association of neck and jaw pain with cardiac problems has to do with cranial nerve X , also known as the vagus nerve.

How To Control Neck Pain From Anxiety

Is your Arm Pain Coming from your Neck? (3 Tests you can do to tell)

Generally, when anxiety causes neck pain through muscle tension, the best thing to do is to control the muscle tension first and anxiety second. Most anxiety symptoms require you to respond to the anxiety directly in order for the symptoms to go away, but muscle tension has a tendency to linger. This means that additional treatments might be needed. Consider the following:;

  • Massage – Massage is one of the best ways to reduce neck pain. It can either be a self-massage or one performed by someone else. Either decision you make, massaging out your tense muscles can genuinely assist in reducing muscle discomfort in your body. This will also help in relieving some of the stress that caused the muscle tension to begin with.;
  • Hot Bath/Shower – The application of heat is very soothing to tense muscles. A hot bath is ideal; however, a hot shower can still be beneficial if you stand in there long enough to have your muscles warm up. Heat forces muscles to relax, making it harder to hold tension. For some, hot water and/or steam can be soothing for anxiety.;
  • Exercise – If it is not too painful, exercise can improve muscle tension symptoms. Jogging and stretching are especially helpful. When you regularly workout your muscles, it will become harder for them to tense up during times of stress.;

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Signs & Symptoms Of Pinched Nerves In The Arm & Neck

Pinched nerves cause signs and symptoms that can significantly impact your daily tasks. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 20 million people have some type of nerve damage in their arms or legs 3. Nerves can also be pinched as they come out of your spine. According to a study published in 2015 by “Medicine,” 85 people out of every 100,000 have pinched nerves in the neck that cause symptoms into the arm. These conditions can cause pain, tingling, numbness, decreased reflexes and weakness.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Is Your Shoulder Pain Related To Your Numb Hands Or Fingers

n some people, shoulder pain may be a symptom of a nerve being pinched where it originates in the upper spine. ReadBlood and Nerve Supply of the Shoulder

Consider these conditions:

A pinched nerve, also called cervical radiculopathy, can result in shoulder pain, along with numbness and weakness in your arm and hand.1 Some patients describe the numbing sensation in their hands and fingers as pins and needles. A pinched nerve can occur when a nerve in the neck is squeezed or aggravated.1>

Brachial plexus injuries can cause shoulder pain and numbness and weakness in your arm and hand, among other symptoms.2 The brachial plexus refers to a web of nerves that starts in your neck. It controls feeling and movement in your hand and arm.3,4

Thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition that may cause shoulder and neck pain, as well as numbness in your fingers.5 It occurs when blood vessels or nerves in your collarbone and first rib are squeezed.5

Most of us experience minor instances of shoulder pain and numbness from time to time, and occasionally these symptoms are the result of a more serious medical condition. When it comes to shoulder pain and hand numbness, there are many causes for your doctor to consider.

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Chin Tuck With Extension

You can add an extra movement to the chin tuck. It will help stretch your neck in a different direction.

For some people, this exercise might cause dizziness. You should avoid it if you have dizziness issues.

  • Pull your head back to do a chin tuck.
  • Slowly tilt your head up to the ceiling.
  • Return to the chin tuck. Relax.
  • Repeat two sets of five reps.
  • How Is Neck Pain Diagnosed

    What to do about your pain in the neck

    Your doctor will diagnose your condition on the basis of a personal medical history and a physical exam. During this exam, your doctor will check for tenderness, numbness, and weakness in your neck.

    Your doctor will also ask about your regular activities, as well as any previous injuries that may have contributed to the problem, such as a herniated disc.

    In some cases, you doctor may decide that imaging tests of your neck are needed, such as the following:

    X-ray This test can reveal degenerative changes that may be putting pressure on nerves.

    Computed tomography scan This test combines X-ray images to create a detailed cross-section of structures in your neck.

    Magnetic resonance imaging ;Magnetic field and radio waves create detailed images of areas of your body.

    Other tests that may help with diagnosis include:

    Nerve conduction study This procedure measures nerve impulses when a small amount of electrical current is applied, in order to detect damaged nerves.

    Electromyography This test involves inserting a needle electrode into muscles to measure their electrical activity, to help detect damage to nerves leading to muscles.

    Blood tests

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    What Is Neuropathic Pain

    Neuropathic pain;occurs when nerve fibers become damaged, traumatized and/or otherwise dysfunctional.

    To best understand neuropathic pain, let’s talk briefly about what nerves do. Their job is to relay messages to and from the brain and spinal cord about what’s going on. Nerves are found in tissues, organs, muscles and more.

    If you burn your hand on a hot stove, for example, your nerves go right to work communicating this input to the brain and spinal cord. Nerves also;carry response signals from the brain, delivering these back to those body tissues that were involved in the inciting incident, in this case, your hand. The response signals show up as pain and impulses to move. They will likely prompt you to take your hand away from the stove burner or to run it under cold water to decrease the pain.

    This pain felt from this example of the normal workings of nerves is not neuropathic pain, but;nociceptive pain.;Nociceptive pain refers to pain related to actual tissue damage. In the hot stove example, it’s your skin, and not your nerves, that experiences the nociceptive pain.

    With neuropathic pain, the signals sent to you by the damaged fibers may sometimes “go haywire.” They may seem like they don’t make sense. The reason is, over time, these nerves may become active for no reason. That is, they “fire” but it’s not in response to changes that are going on;in the tissues, organs or;muscles they serve.

    General Neck Pain And Anxiety

    For similar reasons, those with anxiety may be more prone to having greater degrees of neck discomfort than those without anxiety. Mild to moderate neck pain is common without having any health problems; it can be the result of sitting in chairs all day, sleeping in uncomfortable positions, looking down too long , not stretching, etc.;

    If you do not have anxiety, you might pass this off as a normal ache or pain that commonly occurs to everyone. However, if you have anxiety you might be more sensitive to physical sensations and unable to focus on anything else. Those of you who have panic attacks can have more heightened discomfort. The degree of mental energy you place on your neck may increase the pain and possibly worsen anxiety.;

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    What Causes Pinched Nerve In Neck

    It is basically a condition involving a damaged nerve or set of nerves. The nerve becomes dysfunctional due to the damage and fails to carry signals required to control muscle movements. Pinched nerve can happen in the lower back, neck or even in your wrist.

    You experience this situation due to many different conditions:

    • Herniated disks: Sometimes, your cervical disks slip out of place and exert pressure on a nerve in your neck.
    • Narrowing spinal space: You may have developed a pinched nerve in the neck due to a condition called spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the space within the vertebrae. With not enough space in the vertebrae, it may press on to a nerve in your neck and cause pain.
    • Degeneration of disks: The disks in your spine will deteriorate with age. When this happens, your vertebrae may become narrow and pinch a nerve.
    • Bony growths: Also known as bone spurs, these bony growths in your neck are the outcome of a degenerative disk disease such as arthritis. These bony growths put pressure on a nerve in your neck then cause pain and tingling sensation.

    What Treatments Are Available

    How to Find the Origin of Your Pinched Nerve (Neck Pain, Arm Pain, Hand Pain) – Dr Mandell

    Healing begins with self-care and nonsurgical strategies . The goal is to correct the problem, restore function, and prevent re-injury.

    Self care: Neck pain often resolves with rest, ice or heat, massage, pain relievers, and gentle stretches. Reduce muscle inflammation and pain using an ice pack for 20 minutes several times a day during the first 48 to 72 hours. Thereafter, a warm shower or heating pad on low setting may be added to relax the muscles. A short period of bed rest is okay, but more than a couple of days does more harm than good. If self-care treatments aren’t working within the first couple of days, see your doctor.

    Medications: Many people get pain relief with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. A muscle relaxant may be prescribed for spasms. If pain is severe, an analgesic may be prescribed that can be taken with the NSAID or muscle relaxant.

    Steroids can reduce the swelling and inflammation of the nerves. They are taken orally as a Medrol dose pack tapered over a five-day period or by an injection directly into the pain source . Steroids may provide immediate pain relief within 24-hours.

    Surgery: Surgery is rarely needed unless you have muscle weakness, a proven disc herniation, cervical cord compression, problems with balance and coordination, or severe pain that does not resolve after a reasonable course of nonsurgical treatment.

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    Gentle Massage To Get Rid Of Neck Pain And Headache

    Gently massaging the back of your neck and base of your skull can help to relax your neck muscles, release pressure from a pinched nerve, and give relief from headache pain.

    Dr. William H. Blahd on WebMD recommends massaging the painful area between your shoulders, top of your neck, and back of your head for quick pain relief. This helps to increase blood circulation to the affected area and relieve pain naturally without using medication.15

    You can also use essential oils in a massage oil to quickly get rid of that neck headache. Essential oils like peppermint, lavender oil, and eucalyptus oil are especially effective for neck pain and migraines.

    How to use essential oils for neck pain and headache relief:

  • Mix 4 drops of peppermint oil, 5 drops lavender oil, and 3 drops eucalyptus with 1 oz. olive oil or sweet almond oil .
  • Gently massage the oil onto the back of your neck, shoulders, and base of your skull.
  • Continue massaging for a few minutes to help alleviate pain from your head and neck and relieve a stiff neck.
  • For other essential oils that you can use in the pain-relief massage blend, please read my article on the best essential oils for severe headaches.

    How Neck Arthritis Is Diagnosed

    Your doctor will start by taking a history and doing a physical exam. Theyll check the range of motion in your neck and test your strength, sensation, and reflexes to find out if there is pressure on your nerves or spinal cord. Theyll ask when your symptoms started, when the pain happens, and what makes the pain better and worse.

    Your doctor may order an X-ray to assess alignment and look for arthritic changes, says Dr. Shah. If there is a concern of compression of spinal nerves or the spinal cord, you may need an MRI to look at the neutral structure and discs, says Dr. Shah.

    A CT scan may be ordered to look at the bone more closely, especially to see if any bony outgrowths are causing compression. However, X-rays and MRIs are the tests that are usually ordered, says Dr. Shah. A CT scan with a myelogram may be used if an MRI cant be done.

    An electromyography, or EMG, may be ordered to assess for nerve compression, says Dr. Shah. An EMG tests the electrical conduction of the nerves in the arms. This test would be helpful if you have multiple nerves being compressed or compression of nerves at the neck and in the arm, he says.

    Your doctor may order blood tests to see if you have any antibodies or systemic inflammation that would reveal inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis.

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