(Keywords: SLIPPED DISC ARM PAIN, arm pain, slipped disc in neck, tingling in arms and hands )
Pain radiating from the neck into the arm is common at the Chiropractic Coalface, but the true slipped disc in neck producing pain and tingling in arms and hands is fortunately relatively uncommon.
It's an extremely painful condition, and a deep ache in the arm is one of the noteworthy features, and it's often worse at night.
ANATOMY OF A DISC
The Intervertebral Disc (= between the vertebrae) is made of two parts.
The gel is essentially a liquid, and liquids are incompressible. When the neck is moved the bubble of gel bulges into the surrounding ring-like annulus which distorts to accommodate the nucleus. That's all quite normal anatomy.
The annulus fibrosis consists of about six layers, criss-crossed to make a very tough ring to support the nucleus pulposis.
in the slipped disc in neck the gel ruptures through one or more layers
of the annulus fibrosis. Initially there is just pain in the neck, but
the disc will swell and then may cause arm pain.
SHOULDER ABDUCTION RELIEF SIGN
If the slipped disc arm pain is significant then you will often get relief by placing your arm on or above your head, or sleeping with your hand under your head. Raising the arm takes the stretch off the nerve, bringing relief.
If raising the arm INCREASES the pain and tingling in the arm then we are probably talking about a THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME most likely, rather than a slipped disc in the neck.
Another sign of slipped disc arm pain is that rotating your head to the side of the painful arm, and then looking up, immediately produces pain and tingling not just in the neck, but in the arm too.
When this happens you must take it seriously. It's a very serious condition and if you neglect it, the chances of spinal surgery are relatively high.
The seriousness is that the arm becomes numb, and may become weak. The triceps is the most commonly affected muscle. Press ups will be difficult... the arm becomes lame.
UPPER LIMB TENSION TEST (ULTT)
Your chiropractor will stretch out first your good arm, and then the naughty arm. In the true slipped disc arm pain, the naughty arm will feel very tight and painful in the lower arm. This is a test you could do at home... but be careful, when it's strongly positive it can be very painful and, injudiciously done, could aggravate the condition:
There are various test, placing axial compression on the head and neck in different positions, looking to provoke the pain in the arm. Cervical compression test ...
A variation is Spurling's test. Does turning to the side of pain, and then looking up produce lower neck pain, and more significantly, pain or tingling in the arm?
Your chiropractor will test the reflexes, look for sensory changes and test for weakness in the arm. This is a serious condition and needs to be taken seriously, both by you, and by those treating you.
Controversial, this may make me a few enemies, if your chiropractor doesn't do a proper examination, and just wants to click your neck or, for that matter, your medical doctor just wants to give you anti inflammatory drugs without examining you, then I recommend you decline treatment, and go elsewhere. This is not a condition to be treated by those who are out of their depth, or want to take short cuts.
The most common muscle affected by slipped disc arm pain is the triceps which straightens the elbow. Try doing some pressups. Does the affected arm tire much more quickly?
does not confirm that traction ON ITS OWN will relieve a slipped disc
in neck, or help reduce the pain and tingling in arms and hands, but my
experience is that as an adjunct to chiropractic care it is very
helpful. But that is just an opinion, based on my experience, and not
confirmed by research.
HOME TRACTION UNIT
PAIN AND TINGLING IN ARMS AND HANDS
One of the first nasty signs of slipped disc in neck is various nerve-like symptoms that radiate down your arm. Not that this necessarily implies a slipped disc neck pain.
A Cervical Facet syndrome for example, can easily mimic a slipped disc in neck. So too can worn joints of Luschka in the neck, usually caused by an injury to the neck, such as an old whiplash that wasn't properly attended too. CHIROPRACTIC HELP Whiplash and the joints of Luschka ...
So too a large cervical rib can cause pain and tingling in arms and hands, mimicing a slipped disc arm pain condition. See in the graphic below how the cervical rib passes through the interscalene triangle, along with the brachial plexus and the Subclavian artery?
CHIROPRACTIC MANAGEMENT OF Slipped Disc Arm pain
Your chiropractor will have to work out what works best for your slipped disc in neck. Usually a gentle cervical adjustment is in my book the treatment of choice, but it has to be done very skillfully and carefully.
And sometimes manipulation just doesn't seem to help, and may even increase the pain. Then your chiropractor will have to try this and that. Axial traction often helps, working on the scalene muscles, ice, acupuncture, electrical modalities... this is a difficult condition and you may well have to be patient. It will take at least six weeks to heal.
SLIPPED DISC ARM PAIN CaseFile
Mr G is a 42 year old weight lifter. He had an old lifting injury to his shoulder and neck. Suddenly, two months previously, whilst doing a pull down, he developed severe neck and arm pain... a separate page will be built with this case history. SLIPPED DISC IN NECK ... √
"My thumb, forefinger and middle finger went weak after cuff surgery."
"Hello John, I take it you've been back to the surgeon.
It's probably temporary inflammation of the median nerve, but of course could be worse... I'm afraid I don't think chiropractic has anything to offer at this stage.
Once everything has healed up, if you don't get the strength back, or your fingers remain numb and tingly, then I'd consult a local chiro to see if there is also a problem in your neck or the first rib.
Letter from reader looking for advice.
How bad is your arm shoulder hand pain?