If you are experiencing arm pain, the source of your discomfort may not actually be in your arm, but in your neck.
The cervical spine is made up of seven vertebral motion segments. A motion segment is made up of two anterior cervical bones (vertebral body) separated with a cervical disc and two posteriorly two cervical facet joints. These bony vertebral bodies and cervical facet joints are supported and constrained by muscles and ligaments. The anterior and posterior bony structures (vertebral bodies and cervical facet joints) house and protect the spinal cord and exiting nerve roots which escape through holes called foramen. All of these structures are richly supplied with blood vessels and small nerves and can be a source of pain. Problems that originate in the cervical spine may result in pain and other symptoms, such as tingling, numbness and muscle weakness, which may be localized in the neck and/or extend into the shoulders, arms and hands. The medical term for symptoms that radiate into the extremities is radiculopathy, derived from the Latin words “radix,” or roots, and “pathos,” which means disease.
What’s causing my arm pain?
Some common conditions that cause arm pain include:
When should I see my doctor?
If you are suffering from arm pain or neck pain as a result of a physical trauma involving your neck, such as a fall or car accident, you should seek treatment from a physician.
Consult a physician immediately if you:
• Are experiencing numbness in, or having difficulty moving, your extremities
• Experience bladder control loss or impairment
• If you are having significant pain
If you are experiencing arm pain, talk to your doctor, identifying the cause of your arm pain will ensure the proper treatment plan.
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