Shoulder and Arm Pain

Numbness or tingling sensations in the upper or lower extremities can indicate a peripheral neuropathy (nerve involvement) condition. The nerve roots that branch out from between the neck vertebrae combine and form the major nerves of the arms. The nerve roots in the lower back combine and form the major nerves of the legs. If these nerves, called peripheral nerves are compressed in any way, sensory disturbances can occur. In addition to numbness, such disturbances have been described as “pins and needles,” and even “burning” in nature. In most cases, compression occurs at the spine as the nerve root exits. This can come from a bulging disc or a bony osteoarthritic projection.

In the upper extremity, the compression can also occur at the collar bone area (thoracic outlet syndrome) or in the wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome). If allowed to persist, muscular weakness and atrophy (muscle wasting) can follow. If symptoms are present in both arms and both legs bilaterally, this may indicate spinal cord compression and would require immediate medical attention.

Treatment

After a thorough orthopedic and neurological evaluation a diagnosis will be made. If it is determined that the patient can benefit from manual therapy, including but not limited to Flexion / Distraction a treatment plan centered around pain relief and alleviation of symptoms will be designed. The patient may also be referred to an MRI facility for further evaluation.