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Chiropractors often find that in cases of arm pain, injuries to muscles, joints and ligaments in the neck are often overlooked. It is very common to have referred pain from these structures causing pain in the arm. Here we will cover some conditions that are often seen by a chiropractor that also relate directly with the structures of the arm.
There are thirty bones, over forty muscles and fourteen major nerves making your arm more diligent, dexterous and adaptable than any tool mankind can emulate. Arm pain is a warning signal and should not be ignored. Often arm pain is caused by injury to the area of pain but it can also be an indication of a more serious underlying problem.
Positions that strain muscles repetitively are likely to result in an insidious onset of wrist or forearm pain such as carpal tunnel syndrome or lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).
Arthritis is the body's way of trying to stabilise unstable joints. Joints can become unstable for many reasons from trauma to overuse. If joints are allowed to remain unstable, they start to fuse stopping you from carrying on with everyday activities. The wrist and hands are often the first place arthritis attacks.
Common injuries such as scaphoid fractures (fracture to a small bone between your thumb and your wrist), ligament tears and joint strains often cause immediate pain and swelling around the area of the trauma. Injuries of this kind need immediate consultation from a health professional.
Constant overuse or micro trauma can go unnoticed on a daily basis. If you go to the gym, play racket sports, use a computer, play musical instruments or even text on a mobile phone enough, then overuse is a likely cause of pain.
One of the most common postural distortions is that of forward head and forward shoulders. This shift of posture causes muscular tension in the shoulders and the neck having to cope with the weight of the head (the average head weighs as much as a bowling ball!) Muscular tension can cause pain to be referred into the arm causing a deep ache that often gets worse as the day goes on.
When neck pain is caused by muscle strain, you may have aches and stiffness that spread to the upper arm and forearm. Shooting pain that spreads down the arm into the hand and fingers can be a symptom of a pinch nerve in the neck. When a nerve has been pinched in the neck, numbness and weakness of the hands or arms, as well as pain, may occur.
Heart problems can often cause referred pain in the left arm due to the shared neural pathways in the spinal cord. Information about the heart can be confused in the spinal column leading to apparent pain in the arm. Arm pain accompanied by chest pain or shortness of breath may signal a heart attack.
Your Chiropractor will examine you and conduct diagnostic tests to determine exactly what is causing your arm pain. Once the problem has been pinpointed, the appropriate chiropractic treatment will begin. Through treatment and with a few modifications to your lifestyle, your Chiropractor will correct the cause of your pain.
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