Neck Pain, Numbness and Tingling in the Arms

neck pain and arm tingling

Localised nerve compression can cause neck pain and tingling in the arms.

Neck pain, numbness and tingling in the arms often go together and may be the result of a pinched nerve in the neck due to a herniated disc, cervical spinal arthritis, or other condition causing inflammation and spinal stenosis. Oftentimes, those with neck pain who also have weakness, numbness and tingling in the arms and hands do not connect the symptoms but such signs need early attention in order to address cervical spinal problems as soon as possible.

Neck Pain and Tingling in the Arms – What’s the Connection?

Neck pain, numbness and tingling in the arms may sometimes simply be due to acute nerve compression from sitting, standing or lying in the same position for a protracted period of time. These abnormal sensations may be described as pins and needles or paraesthesia and are normally short-lived as the compressed nerve ‘wakes up.’ However, where the symptoms become chronic and weakness and atrophy of the muscles occurs over time it signifies a more serious neurological issue that may be connected to a spinal abnormality.

Spinal Cord Injury

Neck injuries can also cause numbness, weakness, paraesthesia or abnormal sensation in the head, arms, neck, chest,or even below the site of injury if it is severe. Where pressure is put on the spinal cord from a herniated disc or sudden back trauma it is important to try to relieve that pressure as soon as possible so as to reduce the risk of permanent spinal cord damage and spreading paralysis, pain or weakness.

TOS and Other Causes of Neck Pain and Arm Tingling

Other causes of numbness and tingling in the arms include:

  • Localized pressure on nerves from enlarged blood vessels, tumors, scar tissue or infection
  • Shingles (herpes zoster infection)
  • Ischaemia, from diabetes, cardiovascular disease or extreme cold
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome or brachial plexopathy
  • A mini-stroke
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Mineral (electrolyte) imbalance or insufficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Neurotoxin damage

Given the vast number of possible causes of neck pain, numbness and weakness it is vital that such symptoms are investigated and the real underlying cause isolated. Applying treatments for neck pain and tingling in the arms without actually knowing the true root of the symptoms could simply exacerbate the condition.

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