How Spinal Conditions Can Cause Discomfort in Your Arms

The human body is an incredibly complex structure in which everything is somehow connected, whether through your bones or muscles or through networks like your nervous system. Thanks to this integration, problems in one area can lead to symptoms in another, which is certainly true of your neck and arms.

As our name implies, Dr. Michael Ware Hennessey and our team here at Texas Spine Consultants specialize in all things spine-related, which is often ground zero for pain and other symptoms that radiate outward to other parts of your body.

To explore this relationship further, here’s a look at how problems in your cervical spine, or neck, can lead to symptoms in your arms and hands (and how we can provide relief). 

The many roles of your spine

Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae that stretch from the base of your head to your pelvis. This column is not only responsible for the foundational support for your entire body, it also provides passage for your nervous system.

At the top of your spinal column is the section called your cervical spine, which consists of seven small vertebrae that connect your head to your body. These small vertebrae are incredibly hard-working as they support your head and allow a wide range of motion. 

Branching out from your cervical spine are eight pairs of nerve roots that form the peripheral nervous system in your shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. This system not only controls function, but sensation as well.

When problems develop in your cervical spine

Given its active role, there are many conditions that can affect your cervical spine, including:

What these conditions have in common is that they can irritate or compress any of the eight pairs of nerve roots in your cervical spine. Depending upon which nerve roots are inflamed or irritated, it can lead to symptoms that radiate down your shoulders, arms, and hands, including:

These symptoms are collectively called cervical radiculopathy and their severity depends upon the degree of the nerve impingement.

Treating cervical radiculopathy

If you’re experiencing any of the problems we describe above, it’s important that you come see us so we can take a look at what’s going on inside your neck. Through advanced diagnostic imaging, we can determine the extent of nerve involvement and come up with an appropriate treatment plan, which may include:

We prefer to take a conservative approach at first, but if your symptoms persist, we offer an innovative surgical solution called the Mobi-C® artificial cervical disc. With this technique, we replace cervical discs that are too diseased or damaged for conservative treatments, while preserving optimal neck function. 

If you’re experiencing arm pain or other symptoms that you suspect may be connected to your cervical spine, contact one of our two locations in Addison or Plano, Texas, to figure out your next steps.

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