The most common cause of arm pain of non-traumatic origin is a bulging intervertebral disc as described in the neck pain page.
- Often felt along the outside of one arm
- Can run from the neck as far as the fingers
- Can be in the arm without also being in the neck
- Worse at night
- Hot or burning
- Pins and needles
- Hard to describe
Aggravating activities can include:
- Prolonged sitting
- Rotating the neck
- Looking up or down
- Reading, sewing or knitting
- Carrying shopping bags
Easing Activities can include:
- Cradling arm
- Neck or cervical roll
- Changing posture
Please read about neck pain then return to this page
If the disc bulges close to one of the cervical nerve roots, the local inflammatory chemicals or indeed, the pressure of the disc itself can cause irritation or compression of one of the cervical nerves. The symptoms of referred arm pain are usually neck pain accompanied by pain at any point along the length of the arm which can extend as far the fingers. Sometimes there can be arm pain without neck pain and other symptoms can include, pins and needles, changes in skin sensation, loss of muscle power in the effected arm or hand.
Joint degeneration caused by diseases such as osteoarthritis, spondylosis and osteoporosis can also cause referred arm pain. When bones degenerate they close down the space of the joints. In the spine that space is important to allow the spinal nerves to exit and travel to our limbs. If the joint space in the cervical spine is narrowed significantly enough, the nerves can become trapped and can cause pain anywhere along the distribution of the nerve.
At Newcastle Physiotherapy we recommend a thorough assessment in order to diagnose the cause of your arm pain. It is imperative to receive the correct diagnosis in order to treat the condition successfully. At Newcastle Physiotherapy, arm pain is one of our specialties so you can be confident in accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment designed specifically for you. We may use an array of treatment approaches, dependent on your condition which may include:
- Joint mobilisation and manipulation
- Specific soft tissue massage and mobilisation
- Neural mobilisation
- Progressive core stability and functional exercise rehabilitation
- Postural and ergonomic advice
- Muscle Energy techniques
- Acupuncture and dry needling
- Sports and functional fascial taping
If we decide that your condition requires further investigation such as X- ray or MRI imaging we also have the facility to refer you privately if you so wish. You will usually be offered an appointment time with 48 hours and receive your results with 3- 5 days.