A pinched nerve in the arm or ulnar nerve entrapment isn’t a health concern that you hear about every day. In truth, nerve pinching in the arms is more common than you might think. Statistics suggest that nerve pinching or compression is a widespread problem, affecting 85 out of 100,000 individuals in the country. Unfortunately, not many people know about a pinched nerve because it often gets mistaken for ordinary muscle pain. Others also confuse it for disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
In our discussion below, we’ll take a deep dive into what a pinched or compressed nerve in the arm is. We’ll also answer some FAQs, such as “what does a pinched nerve feel like?” and “can a chiropractor fix a pinched nerve?”. By learning as much as you can, you can find better ways to cope with a compressed nerve in the arm.
What is a pinched nerve in the arm?
Nerve pinching isn’t an official medical term used to describe nerve compression. However, it does paint a clear and accurate image of what patients can expect when they have a pinched nerve.
If you have tried getting pinched before (unconsciously or deliberately), you know how painful it can get. At first, it causes a jolting sensation. Then, as the pinching continues, it causes increasing discomfort. Finally, it also causes visible damage like tenderness or redness on the pinched area. Now imagine that same pinching effect happens on your nerve roots.
Basic anatomy classes taught us that the nerves serve as the brain’s connection to various parts of the body. Hence, if something happens to one or more nerves, such as nerve pinching or compression, the body part that nerves innervate or regulate will likely malfunction.
What are the signs of a pinched nerve in the arm?
Nerve pinching can occur in various parts of the body. Hence, the best way to determine if you have a nerve compression or irritation problem is to check for signs and symptoms. In the case of nerve pinching in the arms, here are the symptoms that patients often observe:
- Radiating pain
- Loss of sensation
- Muscle tingling on your arms, wrists, and fingers
- Cold sensitivity on your arms, hands, or fingers
- Elbow tenderness
- Loss of finger dexterity (difficulty doing detailed work with fingers such as sewing or using tools)
Have you experienced any of the symptoms above? If yes, you might have a pinched nerve in the arm. We recommend consulting with your doctor or a neurologist to get diagnosed and gauge how much nerve damage you have.
What are the possible causes of nerve pinching in the arm?
To understand the answers to questions like “can a chiropractor fix a pinched nerve?” and “what are the best remedies for nerve pinching?” you need to know how the problem develops. According to studies, some of the possible reasons behind nerve pinching or compression include the following:
Herniated discs can put pressure on nerves innervating your arm or hand. Essentially, when you have a disc herniation, it means that one or two of the cushioning sacs between your vertebral bones have shifted or ruptured, causing the gel-like material to flow out of the sac and irritate nearby nerve roots or bundles.
Degenerative disc disease
Did you know that 40 percent of American adults in their late 40s develop degenerative disc disease? This condition causes the discs to flatten, causing vertebral bones to shift from their original alignment. While it’s a common consequence of aging, it causes extreme discomfort and increases risks for nerve compression on different body parts, such as the arms.
Bone spurs or bone overgrowth primarily develops on joints due to an inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, the excess bone tissue puts undue stress on nearby tissues such as nerve roots, causing irritation and sometimes trigger permanent nerve damage.
Other factors that contribute to nerve pinching
Besides pre-existing conditions, a pinched nerve in the arm can also stem from other factors such as:
- Repetitive movements that strain the spine
- Prolonged sitting and tilting the neck during work hours
- Pregnancy due to the weight of the developing child and increased water retention
- Excessive weight and fat deposits around the body
How can you cope with pinched nerve pain?
Having a pinched nerve can be quite worrying, especially if it causes severe discomfort or progresses to serious nerve damage. That’s why, as soon as you get diagnosed or notice symptoms, it’s crucial to start finding a suitable remedy to use. Some of the usual choices of patients with a compressed nerve in the arm include:
- Correcting posture problems
- Taking a break from labor-intensive work
- Choosing better workplace equipment
- Doing gentle stretches every day
- Applying heat and ice on the affected area
- Taking pain medication
- Using splints or braces to keep the arm from moving
- Surgically removing the tissue compressing the nerves
Can a chiropractor fix a pinched nerve?
So, can a chiropractor fix a pinched nerve? Yes, of course! Besides the remedies above, upper cervical care is another proven way to relieve lingering pain from a compressed nerve. It involves making minor adjustments to misaligned neck bones to restore the original curvature of the spine.
It’s helpful for patients with posture problems, neck trauma history, and even those with pre-existing conditions like disc herniation and rheumatoid arthritis. The process is precise and uses digital imaging techniques and in-depth assessment of a patient’s condition. If you didn’t have any luck with other pinched nerve remedies, maybe upper cervical chiropractic care might do the trick for you.
Find out if it’s a suitable option for your painful problem and start receiving chiropractic adjustments for a pinched nerve in the arm as soon as possible. You can try to find an upper cervical chiropractic practitioner close to your home and schedule your appointment today.