Arm Pain Treatment
There are 33 vertebrae in the human spine, of which the top seven are the cervical vertebrae. They are located in the neck region and held together by thick bands of ligaments. The cervical nerves connect to the arms through what we know as the Brachial Plexus. These nerves pass through the cervical vertebrae openings (cervical foramina) and spread out from the neck and shoulder region. These nerves are responsible for the motions and sensations of the arms and are highly sensitive to external pressure.
Brachalgia (also known as brachialgia) is a spinal condition that is caused due to the impingement of these nerves in the cervical region and requires prompt arm pain treatment in Dubai via therapy or surgery.
What Is Brachalgia & Why Does It Cause Arm Pain?
There are many factors that can cause pain in the arms, such as traumatic impacts, muscle sprains, or bone fractures that affect the humerus (upper arm bone), radius and ulna bones, elbow, or carpal bones. But if you experience persistent arm pain that triggers without any external cause, it is probably due to a nerve problem. One such common problem is Brachalgia, where one of the nerves linked to the arms gets pinched or compressed at the spinal column.
The nerves from the spinal cord pass through very small openings between the vertebrae (the cervical foramina).
Hence, when one or more cervical vertebrae get displaced or damaged, they often pinch the cervical nerve roots, causing mild to severe pain radiating along their length. Most commonly, a cervical disc prolapse is the cause of the nerve being pinched. Since these nerves are connected to various parts of the arms, one experiences highly localized pain bouts in the specific parts that the impinged nerves are linked to. This is also known as cervical radiculopathy.
The pain bouts can be spontaneous, severe, or mild and do not respond to over-the-counter arm pain treatment medications.
What Are The Symptoms of Brachalgia?
While Brachalgia mostly requires upper arm muscle pain treatment in Dubai, it also incurs other symptoms that may or may not be experienced in every case. These symptoms are highly localized to a region directly linked to the affected nerves. Some of these common symptoms include:
- Paraesthesia – a strong sensation of ‘pins and needles’ (needle pricks) over an arm in a localized part
- Numbness along an arm
- Tingling sensations along an arm
- Weakness in arm muscles or a specific part of an arm
- Abnormality or reduction in motor abilities of the arm
What Causes Arm Pain in Brachalgia?
While the primary cause of arm pain in Brachalgia is nerve impingement, there are many vertebral disorders that lead to this condition.
Disc Prolapse or Herniation:
The intervertebral discs between vertebrae have an outer capsule called the annulus fibrosus and a soft centre called the nucleus pulposus. Sometimes, due to wearing or excess vertebral pressure, the outer capsule of a disc can get damaged and torn, allowing the soft nucleus to push outwards towards the nerves. When it occurs in the cervical spine, it pinches the brachial plexus nerves against the vertebral canals, causing shooting pain in the neck and shoulders that radiates toward the arms.
The intervertebral discs are majorly composed of water and fibrous tissues, which dry up and weaken as we age or due to systemic conditions. This further narrows the spinal canal, increasing the compressive pressure on surrounding soft tissues. Since these discs also offer a significant height to the spinal column, their shrinking also causes the column to contract in height. In the cervical spine, this increases the chances of nerve impingement.
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis where the vertebrae develop bony spurs called osteophytes over their edges. Bone spurs are sharp outgrowths that restrict a joint’s movement. When a cervical vertebra develops such bone spurs, they poke over the cervical nerve roots and even pinch them. Here, arm pain treatment in Dubai starts with treating osteoarthritis symptoms.
Other secondary causes of arm pain in Brachalgia are tendon inflammation or tendonitis, spinal cancer tumours, or compression fractures in the cervical spine.
What Are The Treatments For Arm Pain Caused By Brachalgia?
If the disc prolapse gradually resolves by itself, no arm pain treatment is needed as the impinged nerves are relieved. However, if the pain persists for several weeks (ideally more than two weeks), the doctor may recommend undergoing investigative tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, etc., to diagnose the severity of the condition. After a thorough visual diagnosis, the doctor may recommend one of the following treatments.
Therapy or Activity Modifications
Since the condition can resolve without treatment in most cases, the initial step in Brachalgia treatment is therapy and observation. Many patients find significant relief from arm pain and other symptoms by avoiding certain activities that involve excessive neck extension, above-shoulder work, and lifting heavy objects in the initial stages of the condition.
The doctor may prescribe a course of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs to manage moderate but persistent pain. Mild doses of antidepressants and anticonvulsants can also offer relief from chronic pain and reduce dependency on analgesics.
Another treatment option is an X-ray-guided steroid injection (cervical nerve root block) into the area around the affected nerve. A cervical nerve root block may offer pain relief for anything from a week to several months.
The doctor will suggest an appropriate spine surgery for arm pain treatment in the following cases:
- If the arm pain does not respond to any medical treatment or physiotherapy
- If the arm pain is associated with muscle weakness that is hampering routine activities
- If nerve impingement may pose a threat to the spinal cord functions, such as bladder, bowel, or sexual dysfunction
The most common types of spine surgeries that Dr Sherief performs for Brachalgia (arm pain) include:
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
- Cervical disc replacement / cervical arthroplasty
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Dr Sherief Elsayed For your Arm Pain Treatment?
Dr Sherief is a comprehensively trained and highly skilled spine surgeon specialising in the problems of every aspect of the spine. In the past 20 years, he has treated hundreds of patients with Brachalgia-related arm pain treatment in Dubai non-surgically and surgically and helped them recover promptly with regular care and tips. His patient reviews are a testament to his effective treatment methods and dedication to patient care and comfort. You can read more about Dr Sherief or book an appointment to consult him personally.