8 Nonsurgical Treatments for Chronic or Complex Arm Pain

Chronic or complex arm pain can be uncomfortable, distressing, and debilitating. You may require treatment for your pain but wonder if surgery is your only option. Many nonsurgical treatments can relieve your symptoms and allow you to move more comfortably again.

At Spinal Diagnostics in Tualatin and Newberg, Oregon, our team of top doctors includes Robert Heros MDJason Anderson MD, and Tyler Huntington, MD. They are all highly-skilled pain medicine doctors who employ the latest treatments to relieve your discomfort and allow you to return to living a full and active life. Our doctors have many years of experience in providing effective nonsurgical treatment options for chronic or complex arm pain.

What is chronic or complex arm pain?

Occasional arm pain is common, usually responds to over the counter pain relievers, and typically goes away after some rest. However, chronic pain is pain that lasts for 12 weeks or more and can be quite severe. Complex pain is a special type of chronic pain that can develop after surgery, injury, stroke, or heart attack, which has complex symptoms associated with it.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of chronic or complex arm pain can vary quite a bit from person to person, but may include:

  • Intense shooting pain
  • Difficulty gripping objects
  • Combined pain in the arm, back, and neck
  • Swelling in your hand or arm
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Hair or nail growth changes

A visit with one of our pain medicine doctors is the best way to get answers about any arm discomfort you are experiencing.

Available treatments

Although surgery is a treatment option for arm pain, our doctors typically try other less invasive methods first to see if the pain responds to those treatments. We offer a variety of nonsurgical treatments for chronic or complex arm pain that are carefully tailored for each patient’s needs.


Corticosteroids are highly effective pain relievers because they reduce the inflammation that is a cause of pain. These powerful medicines suppress your immune system reaction that is causing the inflammation.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy helps you manage your pain and improve your ability to move freely. It focuses on exercises and stretches to achieve long-term arm strength and health.

Epidural steroid injections

Epidural steroid injections are highly effective because they act upon the source of your pain, the root of the nerves. It is typically used when a nerve root is compressed, causing you inflammation and pain. 

Anti-inflammatory medications

Inflammation is caused by your immune system trying to defend your body from disease. Anti-inflammatory medications reduce inflammation, which results in effective pain relief. They can be familiar over the counter medications, or your doctor can prescribe more powerful anti-inflammatory medications.

Selective nerve root blocks

Selective nerve root blocks reduce the pain signals that are being transmitted by your nerves so that the pain you feel is reduced. They are provided as injections, so they can work very quickly and effectively at the source of your pain.

Facet joint injections

A powerful treatment option, facet joint injections are used to treat cervical facet joint syndrome, a spine condition that can cause chronic arm pain. Facet joints, located on the sides of the vertebrae that make up your spine, can become inflamed, causing back, neck, and arm pain. These injections target the inflamed tissue, reducing inflammation and pain.

DRG stimulation

Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation targets the specific regions of your spinal cord that are transmitting pain signals between your limbs and your brain. It shuts down the targeted regions, decreasing your discomfort

Radiofrequency neuroablation

Radiofrequency neuroablation is a high-tech treatment option. It uses a radio wave to heat an area of tissue, quieting the agitated nerves in that area, and reducing the pain that you experience. 

Chronic or complex arm pain can cause significant discomfort and interrupt your usual daily activities. If you are having severe or lasting arm pain, get it checked out by a pain management doctor. There are many nonsurgical treatment options that give you relief.

To set up an appointment with our skilled team at Spinal Diagnostics, call us or use our online booking tool to schedule your appointment at your convenience. 

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