More than forty muscles, thirty bones, and fourteen primary nerves comprise the arm, making it dexterous, adaptable and diligent, more than any tool that man has developed.
Arm pain serves as a warning signal. They should be given serious attention as they may be caused by an injury or they may be indicating there is a more severe underlying issue. Chiropractic care can help with injuries of the arm and arm pain. A chiropractor can examine your spinal vertebrae to identify any potential interference that may be contributing to nerve compression.
Chiropractors see two different sources of pain in the arm. They are arm injuries that directly relate to the arm structures and referred pain coming from injuries to joints, muscles and ligaments in the neck.
Arm Injuries that Chiropractic can Treat
Chiropractors encounter and deal with the following common arm injuries and conditions:
- Brachial plexopathy. Issues with the arm, shoulder, and hand can often be linked to brachial plexus, a nerve group in these areas. These nerves, which run from the base of the neck through the top of the shoulder area, allow the movement and sensation for the shoulder, arm and hand. Any damage to the nerve in the brachial plexus can cause loss of sensation and mobility and pain. Direct injury to the nerve, birth trauma, stretching injury, and other problems like inflammatory conditions can result to this damage.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis, particularly, is a way for the body to try to bring stability to unstable joints. Many reasons can cause the joints to become unstable, including overuse and trauma. If the joints continue to be unstable, they tend to fuse, which will make everyday activities to be difficult to perform. Although osteoarthritis affects the hips, spine and knees, the major joints that bear weight for the body, first, the wrist and hand get often affected too.
- Tennis elbow. Also called lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow is pain that is felt on the elbow’s outer side. It is caused by overuse and repetitive movement of the muscles and tendons of the arm, forehand and hand. Overuse can occur with various activities but it is more common with sports movements like in tennis, badminton and other sports using racquet.
- Golfer’s elbow. It is also called medial epicondylosis. As in tennis elbow, it is caused by overuse and repetitive movement of the muscles and tendons of the arm, forehand and hand that results to pain, but in the inside part of the elbow. Although this injury is common to golfers, it can affect anyone who overuses the said muscles and tendons.
- Cubital tunnel syndrome. It is caused by the compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow resulting to numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. It is an inflammation in the nerve in the wrist that causes pain in the hand and fingers and other symptoms. It is caused by compression of the median nerve in the arm that passes through the carpal tunnel. Typing and other work are common activities that cause carpal tunnel syndrome but it can also occur from fractures of the wrist, acute trauma and other factors that can lead to compression in the area of the wrist.
- Radial tunnel syndrome. Although commonly misdiagnosed as tennis elbow, this condition affects the forearm area below the elbow. Symptoms include pain or numbness that occur along the forearm. It is typically accompanied by weakness in the hand or arm. The condition is due to the compression of the radial nerve located in the forearm.
- Tendinitis / tendinosis. Tendons and ligaments in the hand and arm can be injured or inflamed, causing this condition.
Chiropractors can use different techniques and methods based on the underlying cause of these arm conditions. Chiropractic adjustments is the primary method used although the chiropractor can also employ soft tissue therapy, physical therapy, passive and active stretching, electrical stimulation and instrument-assisted soft tissue manipulation (IASTM). Most patients with arm injuries find these techniques effective and very comfortable. But as we all know the best way to treat injuries is of course to prevent them.