Even if minor, it’s important to find out what causes shoulder, arm, or hand pain. At Chiropractic by Thriveology in Denver, we often find that when you have pain, movement impairment, or decreased sensation in your arm, shoulders or hand it could indicate a nerve problem. But you won’t know if you don’t get medical attention for the pain, and if you wait, it may reduce the success of the eventual therapies.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, the brachial plexus, a bundle of nerves in the neck area, helps send signals from your spine to your shoulder, arm, and hand. An injury to the brachial plexus happens when the nerves are stretched, compressed, or sometimes even ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord. Brachial plexus injuries cause shoulder, arm, or hand pain and can affect anyone.
Brachial plexus injuries are often caused by:
1. Trauma from birth. Newborns can get brachial plexus injuries during birth if there the baby is born breach or there is prolonged labor. If a baby's shoulders get wedged in the birth canal, there is an increased chance of a brachial plexus palsy. Most frequently, the upper nerves are injured, a condition called Erb's palsy. Total brachial plexus birth palsy occurs when both the upper and lower nerves are damaged.
2. Inflammation. Inflammation may cause damage to the brachial plexus and sometimes result in arm muscle paralysis. A rare condition known as Parsonage-Turner syndrome (brachial neuritis) causes brachial plexus inflammation with no trauma and results in paralysis of some muscles of the arm.
3. Stretch injuries.
4. Direct traumas. This can happen in automobile or motorcycle accidents, bullet wounds, or falls. If your shoulder is pulled one way and your neck the other way, like whiplash, you might begin to suffer from hand, shoulder and arm pain.
5. Tumors. Tumors can put pressure on the brachial plexus. Both noncancerous (benign) and cancerous tumors can grow in the brachial plexus, put pressure on the brachial plexus, or spread to the nerves, causing damage.
6. Contact sports. Contact sports like football or wrestling can cause the brachial plexus nerves to be stretched or compressed. Sometimes these are called stingers or burners, and can create a feeling similar to an electric shock or a burning sensation shooting down your arm, and numbness and weakness in your arm. Many football players have this injury when the nerves in the brachial plexus get stretched after direct contact with other football players.
7. Radiation treatment. Radiation treatment can cause damage to the brachial plexus.
Diagnosing an injury to your brachial plexus may require an MRI of the neck and shoulders, ultrasound, blood tests or an electromyogram (EMG). In addition, pain meds, physical therapy, or braces or splints may be used as treatment. Surgery is sometimes required.
Chiropracticby Thriveology in Denver helps many patients who have subluxations or misalignments of the spine that cause compression of the nerves. Many of them seek our chiropractic care to help with pain without the side effects of medications. Our chiropractic adjustments can often provide relief from what causes shoulder, arm or hand pain, or numbness. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, get in touch with us to make an appointment.