Arm and Hand Pain

Numbness and tingling sensations in the arm and hand can be caused by any of the following conditions; Carpal tunnel syndrome, Arthritis, Tendinitis/Tendinosis, Thoracic outlet syndrome, fracture or Rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms may include one or more of the following; Pain, numbness and tingling the wrist and hand, especially in the thumb, index and middle finger; pain may radiate up the arm; which may cause both sensory and motor problems in the wrist, hand and fingers. Arm and Hand Pain is quite complicated to identify really what is the cause. Pain in the hand can originate from compression on nerves and blood vessels in the neck and shoulder. We’ll start from the top and work our way down to the hand and discuss the most common problems and syndromes.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is not a single condition; rather the term encompasses several variations of nerve or blood vessel compression near the base of the neck and upper rib cage. TOS is a complex condition and can be overlooked or misdiagnosed due to the difficulty in distinguishing between the variations.  The thoracic outlet is the opening at the upper margin of the rib cage. It is called the thoracic outlet as it is the location where the subclavian artery exits the rib cage as it descends into the upper extremity. The Brachial Plexus (C5-T1 nerves) also originates from this area. No matter which location the problem is occurring the tension in the muscle and fascial layers must be addressed to accomplish more permanent and long term relief.

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) or Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis) are common overuse syndromes of the elbow. This is due to several factors such as repetitive motion activities and poor conditioning. Although these do occur in people who play tennis and golf, this group only accounts for a small percentage of the population that suffers from the condition. They are more prevalent in the occupational sector.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome A condition characterized by pain and numbing or tingling sensations in the hand and caused by short repetitive movement, such as typing, knitting and using vibrating tools for hours on end.  The lack of rest in between these motions irritates and inflames the flexor tendons that travel with the median nerve to the hand through an area in the wrist called “carpal tunnel,” which is surrounded by bones and a transverse ligament across the wrist called the flexor retinaculum.  The inflamed tendons squeeze the nerve against the ligament.

Whether it be Carpal Tunnel, Tennis Elbow or Thoracic Outlet, these syndromes are more likely to be a chronic postural problem. Symptoms get worse the longer the condition is left untreated.

Symptoms are aggravated by various activities, especially those that cause chronic postural stress of the upper thoracic or cervical regions, such as the wearing of a heavy knapsack, purse, or equipment strap that cause shoulder girdle depression and compression. Sleeping positions may also aggravate symptoms. If you are a side sleeper or sleep with an arm draped over the head or above the head while sleeping on your stomach, these positions can increase nerve compression.

As Bodyworkers & Functional Movement Therapists we focus on balancing the muscle and fascial systems of the body to improve range of motion, posture, and support pain free living. We are able to view your muscle imbalances and Design the best treatment plan specific to your needs and properly address your arm and hand pain.