When people experience pain in their shoulder, elbow, arm, or hand, they may not realize that their pain may actually originate from a completely different area. In many cases, it tends to be the neck that is actually the problem.
The nerves that sense pain or cause numbness, burning, or tingling in the upper limb all start in the neck. Eight nerves come out of the spine. These form a bundle and travel away from the neck and through the shoulder on their way down to the hand and fingers. They then branch out and run to the muscles and joints in the arm.
If you have a bone, or vertebrae, out of alignment in the portion of your spine that makes up your neck, it can compress the nerves as they lead out of the area.
Let’s say, for example, a bone is compressing the nerve that will eventually end up in your hand. Even though that nerve is compressed in the neck, the signals of pain, tingling, or numbness will seem to come from the hand.
When there is a problem in the neck that causes pain or altered sensation in the shoulder, elbow, arm or hand, it’s known as ‘referred pain’ (as it’s referred from the neck to the arm) or ‘radicular pain’ (as it radiates from the neck into the arm).
When you have referred/radicular pain, it is often accompanied by weakness or numbness in the shoulder, elbow, arm, or hand.
Sometimes there will be a tingling sensation or a pins-and-needles feeling like your limb has fallen asleep. The symptoms vary, but they are usually present on only one side of the body.
The neck, not the shoulder, elbow, arm, or hand, must be addressed to fix this problem.
The primary bone in the region, called the atlas, directs all the other bones in the neck and is usually out of place when someone is experiencing radicular pain.
When the atlas is put back into proper position, the other bones in the spine fall back into place, taking pressure off the nerve.
At EPIC, we don’t just evaluate the shoulder, elbow, arm, or hand. We look to see if the neck is the cause of the problem.
We will perform an exam, and if the neck is the cause of the concern, we will take specialized digital X-rays of the spine.
We then input the information into spinal engineering software that tells us exactly how the atlas is out of position, and how to correct it.
Once we have this information, we will perform a painless, cutting-edge sound wave-based adjustment to the atlas to put the spine into its proper position. This should relieve the pressure on the nerves running to the shoulder, elbow, arm, or hand and allow healing to occur.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from shoulder, elbow, arm, or hand pain, call us today to set up a free consultation. The results may be life changing!