Arm Neck Pain
In a large number of cases where the type of neck pain is related to arm pain, the arm itself is not the cause of the pain, rather it originates from a problem in the cervical spine. This can be as a result of wear and tear over many years, or from acute trauma causing inflammation and radiating pain through the upper neck and body.
What is Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a condition linked to dysfunctional immunity, and chronic fatigue syndrome. It can cause the sufferer to experience chronic, dull aching pain, and acute, severe pain in the body, including in the arms. Postural problems are common in this condition which may be relieved through spinal manipulation, moist heat, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory medications (both conventional NSAIDs and natural alternatives). Jaw and neck pain are also common in this condition, as are psychological symptoms such as depression, poor memory and impaired concentration (often due to the presence of the persistent pain).
Brachial Plexus Injury
Trauma inflicted upon the brachial plexus can cause arm and neck pain that is both acute and chronic. The brachial plexus is a complex neurovascular junction in the upper body which can be compressed in sporting accidents, and also by the presence of a cervical rib, or spinal stenosis and inflammation. Damage to this area may necessitate surgery to remove or relieve any compression impacting on proper blood flow and nervous system function. Weakness, paraesthesia and pain in the neck and arm are some of the symptoms of brachial plexus injury.
Cervical Spinal Stenosis and Herniated Discs
Neck pain and cervical spinal stenosis can cause radiating pain to travel down the arm. This is commonly due to the nerves exiting the spinal column becoming compressed as the joints in the spine become
compacted over time or through acute injury. The resulting nerve compression and ischaemia impact on muscle innervation and the sensation of touch with paraesthesia, burning and tingling feelings in the arms a common symptom.
Herniated or bulging spinal discs in the neck can also cause the nerves to become impacted, leading to not only arm pain, but also neck, jaw, shoulder, and chest pain. Treatments to decompress the spine which can create a vacuum effect for sucking the herniated disc back into the correct position may alleviate these symptoms. The use of nutritional supplements for spinal stenosis and spinal health may slow any degeneration, reduce inflammation, and/or actively encourage connective tissue and joint repair. Read our blog post on fish oil for back and neck pain relief.
Posture and Repetitive Strain
With so many people working for hours at a time in front of a computer with poor posture and uncomfortable work set-ups it is hardly surprising that arm and neck pain are common occurrences. Sen (2007) observed office workers in Tokyo and noted the regularity with which Occupational Overuse Syndrome, Computer Vision Syndrome, lower back pain, lower neck pain, psychosocial stress, and tension headaches occurred.
Upper limb stress and strain, with arm and neck pain inflicted workers regularly, in the same study, along with wrist pain, and lower back pain. More than 50% of those in pain has nonadjustable workstation set-ups. It is vitally important to have a comfortable and adjustable position in which to work, and to take regular breaks to stretch out the limbs and the neck during the day.