Just because you don’t have neck pain does not mean that the pain coming down your arm does not originate from here. This should always be screened for with your local physical therapist, but there are a few things you can do at home for your shoulder, arm, elbow, or hand pain. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t coming from one of those areas, but the neck must always be cleared out, especially when you have been working at a specific area without any relief.
The first and easiest way for you to rule out anything would move your neck around and see if it changes your pain down the arm at all. It may either reproduce it and make it worse or take it away. Be sure to check all directions and look up, down, left, and right as well as tilting to each side. You might have to move into and out of the position 10 times or hold for 30 seconds to get any reproduction or relief of symptoms. If this relieves any of your symptoms, continue to do this. Even if this doesn’t help and reproduces your symptoms, you now have something that you can address.
If you’ve wondered, “why do I have a pain in my arm from my neck,” there could be a few causes. Here are a few reasons you could have arm pain from your neck and what you can do to help.
When the nerves become entrapped, it is usually one of two places. The first is in the lower cervical spine, as this is where all of the nerves exit from that go down into the arm. The other place is between the collarbone and the first rib. As all of the nerves exit the spine, they travel here first before going down further. Compression at either of these joints can leave you in a world of hurt.
Joint and Disc Referral
These are more likely to present as neck pain, but when they do refer, they usually do so down the middle of the back between the shoulder blades. They can also be out more to the medial border of the scapular (shoulder blade), making it easier to determine what needs to be done next.
The neck’s main larger muscles, scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, upper traps, and levator scapula, can all have referral patterns outside of the neck. There is more of an assessment needed here, but it is important to keep in mind that if any of these muscles get jacked up, and they often do, that the pain can go down the neck, shoulder, arm, or chest.
Neck Pain Treatments
It is hard to get into too many treatment specifics, but here are a few things that are generally going to be pretty benign and most people would benefit from these.
Upper Trapezius – hook your arm on a chair and lean your head away.
Latissimus Dorsi – hold onto something overhead and lean back.
Pectorals – arms in a doorway and lean forward.
Deep Cervical Flexors – chin tucks.
Scapular Retractors – lay on your stomach and make ITYW shape with arms lifting them up, pulling shoulder blades together, and tucking the chin in.
Get Help for Your Neck Pain
A lot of people have pain and problems with their neck due to issues like a weak neck. While at home exercises and stretches can help, there’s only so much you can do on your own for neck pain. For more on preventing neck pain, watch our free neck pain video course. If neck pain is a concern for you, you might need to start seeing a physical therapist. At Robbins Rehabilitation West, we can develop a treatment plan with stretches, and exercises, like single arm band rows, that will help relieve your pain.
For trusted Allentown rehabilitation services, contact Robbins Rehabilitation West today.