When to See a Doctor About Arm Pain

While there are many conditions that can lead to arm pain, there are times when the source of the pain (and other symptoms) isn’t obvious, leaving you to wonder what’s causing the discomfort.

As the spine and nervous system specialists, the team here at Spinal Diagnostics understands all too well that certain types of arm pain may not be directly related to your arm but, rather, your nervous system.

With that in mind, here’s a look at a few examples of arm pain that may be neurological and why it’s critical to seek our help.

Cervical radiculopathy

At the foundation of your neck are seven small vertebrae, which make up your cervical spine. When there's a problem in this small structure, it can potentially affect the highly sensitive spinal nerves in the area, leading to neck pain and symptoms that travel through your shoulder and down into your arm.

Called cervical radiculopathy, these symptoms can include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness 

These symptoms can come and go and typically only affect one arm.

Since the source of your arm discomfort in these cases likely originates in your cervical spine, you should see us so that we can determine the underlying cause, which can range from a herniated disc to cervical spinal stenosis.

Peripheral neuropathy

The word neuropathy describes nerve damage, and the qualifying use of peripheral refers to nerve damage that occurs outside your central nervous system.

Peripheral neuropathy in your upper extremities often strikes your hands first, but the symptoms can travel up into your arm and include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Heightened sensitivity to pressure or temperature
  • Muscle weakness
  • Skin color or texture changes

There are many ways in which the peripheral nerves in your arms and hands can become damaged, including diabetes, infections, and traumatic injury.

If you’ve developed peripheral neuropathy in your arm, it’s important to see us so that we can intervene to prevent further damage.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

This highly complex neurological condition most often causes symptoms in your arms or legs. CRPS typically develops on the heels of an injury and leads to excessive and prolonged pain and inflammation, in this case, in your arm. In addition to the pain and swelling, you may experience:

  • Unusual hair and nail growth
  • Color and texture changes in your skin
  • Stiffness

CRPS can be a frustrating condition to manage, which is why you would very much benefit from our expertise in helping you find much-needed relief.

While these aren’t the only neurological conditions that can lead to arm pain, they represent the most common culprits. The bottom line is that any time you’re experiencing unexplained pain in your arm, you should contact one of our offices in Tualatin or Newberg, Oregon, to set up an appointment.

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