Pain that travels down the arms from the neck can be overwhelming and troubling. From those that I have seen experience this pain, they must drop EVERYTHING to deal with this pain. It can be debilitating to those who experience it and those around them. They often seek help and they SHOULD. This condition is often called radiculopathy. Radiculopathy means the pain “radiates” or travels from the neck down the arm. Now, what are some of the common causes?
The pattern of pain in radiculopathy is usually due to dysfunction of cervical spinal nerves or the nerve root (where the nerve comes out of the spine). There are often changes in the arms including sensory disturbances, strength changes, and reflex pattern differences. The most common cause is foraminal encroachment. This means there are changes to the cervical discs or joints that decreases space and room for movement. These are often seen on imaging as “degenerative changes.”
Degenerative changes happen to EVERYONE that lives on this planet. Whether or not they cause pain, including radiculopathy, depends on hundreds of factors. One of the main ones is LACK of activity! The more active a person is throughout their life, moving their neck and arms and whole body, the less likely they are to have pain from their degeneration. So get moving!
If you have shooting pain down the arms, get it evaluated! Images MAY be warranted, but in most cases images are not needed initially! A trial of chiropractic or physical therapy care may help you abolish or manage your pain without expensive imaging or surgery. If you or someone you know is suffering from shooting pain down the arms, please encourage them to get it evaluated and take charge today! Schedule your appointment here on the website home page!