Your arm and elbow pain symptoms may be caused by a variety of reasons. It is vital to the successful outcome of your chiropractic treatment, to find the underlying cause of your symptoms. Your arm and elbow pain may as a result of an injury to any of the tissues of the hand / wrist, including muscles, nerves, joints, tendons, connective tissue or reduced blood supply.
The area or spread of symptoms may involve the whole arm or may only affect smaller areas or the elbow. The symptoms may be constant or intermittent and may improve or worsen with motion. Common symptoms of the arm and elbow may include: pain, numbness, pins and needles, decreased mobility, weakness or stiffness. The type of pain / symptoms may be described as burning, dull, sharp or throbbing. These symptoms may range in intensity from mild to severe. Frequently, symptoms perceived in the arm and elbow are actually referred from a lesion in the neck or shoulder. Here is a selection of common injuries that have been diagnosed at this clinic.
Epicondylitis is an inflammation of the ligaments and / or tendons as they attach into the boney prominences of the inner (medial) or outer (lateral) elbow.
Golfer’s Elbow, also known as ‘medial epicondylitis’ is caused by tear or strain of the flexor muscle tendons of the forearm, where they attach into the medial elbow. The symptoms are commonly found over the inner or medial side of the elbow and are exacerbated when lifting weights or repetitive flexion of the wrist. As the name suggests, a typical golfing stroke could cause these symptoms, as they commonly use repetitive forearm flexor movements.
Tennis Elbow, also called ‘lateral epicondylitis’ is caused by a tear or strain of the extensor muscle tendons of the forearm, where they attach into the lateral elbow. The symptoms are commonly found over the outer or lateral side of the elbow and are exacerbated with repetitive extension of the wrist. As the name suggests, a typical back-hand tennis stroke could cause these symptoms, as they commonly use repetitive forearm extension movements.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome comes from the words ‘myo’ which means muscle, and ‘fascia’ which is the connective tissue that covers all muscles and organs of the body. You will have no doubt heard of a ‘knot’ in a muscle and most probably experienced some ‘tension’ in a muscle or group of muscles. Myofascial pain, often referred to as ‘trigger points’, are points of hyper-tension (knot) within a band of tense muscle fibres. These trigger points can be either ‘active’ or ‘latent’. Active trigger points may refer pain to areas of the body, far from the trigger point.
Active trigger points in the muscles of the shoulder girdle may refer pain and pins and needles into the upper and lower arm, depending on where the trigger points are located. When these active trigger points are further stressed by poor posture, sustained contraction, cold / hot weather, then they may refer symptoms to their predictable site. Internal organs can also refer pain and symptoms to distal sites. A common phenomenon, is the referred pain in the left upper arm, when a person is having a heart attack.
Latent trigger points do not refer symptoms but do cause local pain. These latent trigger points will evolve into active trigger points if left untreated and if the original stress continues. A diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation is required to de-activate these trigger points which will alleviate the symptoms.
A Slipped Disc in the mid-cervical spine (neck)
may refer pain and symptoms into the arm, due to compression or chemical
irritation of the cervical nerve from the adjacent ‘bulging’ or herniated
cervical disc. The cervical nerve is
‘irritated’ by the slipped disc as it exits the cervical spine, before it
courses down and into the arm.
It may produce symptoms of pain, pins and needles and/ or numbness and is often called ‘radicular’ pain or a ‘radiculopathy’. The symptoms are often described as ‘shooting’ or ‘throbbing’ pains and symptoms may increase when you cough or sneeze. Surgical intervention is sometimes required, to reduce the nerve compression.
Another cause of a ‘radiculopathy’ is osteoarthritis of the mid-cervical spine. In this case, the exiting cervical nerve is trapped by the surrounding bony cervical vertebrae, commonly found in people with degeneration (wear and tear) of the spine. This diagnosis is not amenable to chiropractic intervention.
Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common cause of upper arm pain, but this will be described in greater detail in the ‘shoulder pains’ section.
It is absolutely paramount to your good health that the underlying causes of your symptoms are found and correct diagnosis is made. Dr Doherty will use his wealth of experience to achieve this and to make the appropriate management plan for you.
Please phone 0161 482 0786, to make your consultation and examination appointment or to make further enquiries.
The Family Chiropractic Clinic, 15 Station Road, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport. SK8 5AF.
Chiropractor serving the people of Cheadle, Stockport, Manchester, Trafford and Tameside.