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What Are the Most Common Causes of Nerve Pain in the Arm?

Disc herniation is a common cause of nerve pain in the arm.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2014
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Nerve pain in the arm very often results from a pinched nerve in the neck. When a nerve becomes compressed — or pinched — the area serviced by that nerve will experience any number of uncomfortable sensations, from pain to numbness or even a loss of motor skills. This compression may be the result of a herniated disc, spinal compression, tight muscles, or other problems in the neck and spine that can cause undue pressure on the nerve. Nerve pain in the arm may be an indicator of a much more serious problem, though in many cases, the pain can be treated easily and quickly.

A disc herniation can cause nerve pain in the arm. Such a condition occurs when the spinal disc, a fluid-filled sac between vertebrae, begins to deform due to spinal compression or another injury. The deformed sac can put pressure on the nerves that run near it, thereby causing pain in the part of the body serviced by that nerve. If the disc herniation occurs in the neck, the nerves that service the arms can cause nerve pain in the arm. Tingling, numbness, sharp pain, loss of motor skills, aching, and other types of discomfort may be felt when the nerve is compressed. If the pain persists, or if a loss of motor skills occurs, it is a wise decision to see a doctor as soon as possible.

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Most cases of nerve pain in the arm can be treated quickly and easily. Regular stretching and exercise can help alleviate pain and prevent it from occurring again. In some cases, changes to one's daily routines may be necessary; sitting at a desk all day long can cause muscles to tense up, thereby causing compression on the nerves in the neck. Purchasing an ergonomic chair, adjusting one's sitting position, and getting up to move around often during the work day can help alleviate and prevent nerve pain in the arm by ensuring the muscles in the neck and shoulders do not become excessively tense. If the nerve pain is caused by a herniated disc, several treatment options may be available.

A herniated disc very often heals on its own after time, and many people never experience any symptoms at all. Others may experience severe symptoms, especially neurological issues. If such issues occur, it is necessary to see a doctor to seek proper treatment. In less common cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the herniation or to alleviate the compression on the nerve.

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literally45
Post 3

The connection between nerve pain in the arm and a neck injury is not always apparent. Neck injuries don't cause symptoms right away, it can take months.

For example, I have a hernia in my neck. It was diagnosed but I didn't have any symptoms for almost six months. And the first symptom I had was nerve pain in my arm. So naturally, I thought that the problem was in my arm.

I had an x-ray first and then an MRI for my arm and my doctor found nothing. She then had me get an MRI for my neck and saw that the hernia had worsened and was putting a lot of pressure on a nerve. I wasn't feeling sciatic nerve pain in my neck, but rather in my arm because the same nerve goes through the arm.

After a few steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy, my nerve pain is completely gone now. I hope it doesn't return.

SarahGen
Post 2

@donasmrs-- It can. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of neuropathy, which means nerve damage. So it will definitely cause nerve pain symptoms. Usually the pain is in the hand and wrist, but it can also resonate to the arm. You might also experience numbness and tingling.

Have you seen a doctor about your condition? There are exercises you can do and medications you can take to relieve your symptoms. Definitely see your doctor again if things are getting worse.

donasmrs
Post 1

Does carpal tunnel syndrome cause nerve pain in the arm?

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