Neck arm syndrome includes variety of conditions affecting your neck or upper back that also include some arm symptoms. The most common type of neck arm pain is Neck-Shoulder Pain, which is obviously a relationship between neck and shoulder pain.
Neck-arm pain is specific to dysfunctions which refer symptoms down the arm and have the potential to cause abnormal neural tension or compression.
Common Causes of Neck-Arm Pain
-Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
-Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
-Repetitive Strain Injury
Causes of abnormal neural tension
Neural tension refers to the amount of strain on a nerve at rest and with movement. An abnormal increase in neural tension occurs when the nerve becomes caught or restricted anywhere along its path.
Common causes for this include a restriction in neck joint mobility, inflammation at soft tissue interfaces or muscle spasm around a nerve.
Neural tension can be increased or decreased by changing the position of your arm. Different arm positions will target different nerve branches. Our Physiotherapist is an expert at the assessment of your neurodynamics (nerve mobility).
Symptoms of Neck-Arm Syndrome
-Neck pain, stiffness or soreness
-Pins and needles
-Burning, sharp or dull pain radiating down the arm.
Diagnosis of Neck Arm Pain
The nature of your symptoms is very useful in differentiating between Neck-Arm Syndrome and other causes of your arm pain. Our Physiotherapist will be able to identify abnormal neural tension by moving your arm into specific positions to test the movement of each nerve as it travels down the arm.
The range of movement on your affected side is compared to your unaffected side to see what is normal for you. Once the presence of abnormal neural tension has been confirmed, our Physiotherapist will conduct a series of tests to determine the area and structures which are restricting the movement of the nerve.
Neck-Arm Pain Treatment
Our Physiotherapist will use an array of treatment tools to reduce your pain and inflammation, restore full joint movement and normalize muscle activity at the site of the dysfunction.
These may include: Thermal therapy, Acupuncture, Electrotherapy, Taping Techniques, Soft Tissue Massage, Joint Mobilization and Alignment Techniques, Muscle Stretches and Neurodynamic Exercises.
Our Physiotherapist is an expert in the techniques that will work best for you and will tailor your rehabilitation to help you achieve and maintain your own functional goals.
What Results Can You Expect?
Pure Neck-Arm Pain is generally resolved completely when the primary dysfunction is fixed. The length of recovery is often affected by how long you have had the symptoms.
In most cases, you can expect a noticeable decrease in your arm symptoms within the first few treatment sessions.
In some cases, a local dysfunction in the arm may also be present. This is most common in conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tennis Elbow, where both areas will need to receive treatment in order to enable a full recovery.
Dr Sumit Gupta
Bangalore Shoulder and Sports Medicine Institute