A pinched nerve anywhere in the body can be extremely debilitating for the patient as its symptoms affects his daily activity. Compression of nerve is a type of damage to the nerve or set of nerves. Like modern day cables, nerves carry messages to and fro from the brain to the specific site. For example it carries the message from brain to move the hand or leg.It is also useful for carrying sensation to the brain.
Nerve passing from the arm can be pinched from the tissues that surround it such as the muscles, bones, ligaments and the tendons. Tingling numbness, pain in arm, weakness of arm muscles are prominent symptoms when the nerve in the arm is pinched. In most cases the treatment is conservative. Rest, physical therapy, and medications are effective in managing the condition.
What Causes A Pinched Nerve In Your Arm?
Starting from the cervical and thorasic spine the nerves of arm merge together to form brachial plexus before it continues its journey to its destination in arm and forearm. These nerves are auxiliary, musculocutaneous, radial and the ulnar nerves. Each nerve carries signals from the arm and forearm to the brain and vice versa.
Any type of injury or inflammation can cause compression of the nerves. Overuse of arm muscles from repetitive work, excessive stretching or a direct injury on the arm can damage the tissues. The inflamed tissues and muscles surrounding the nerve can pinch and irritate the nerve.
Sometimes even excess of fat as in obese persons can cause pressure on the nerves. Pinched nerve in arm can also occur due to fracture of arm bone, the humerus. Keeping the arm in awkward position for long period is also a triggering factor for pinched nerve in arm.
Pinched Nerve In Arm Symptoms
The symptoms of pinched nerve in arm are similar to those that occur to any pinched nerve elsewhere in the body. The classical symptom of pinched nerve is pain. It is sharp, shooting pain which radiates further downwards. Aside from pain, there are many other associated symptoms such as:
- Loss of sensation in the area which is innervated by the damaged nerve. It can be on the anterior or posterior side of the arm depending on the particular pinched nerve.
- Feeling of pins and needle in the arm, forearm and the first two fingers and thumb.
- Weakness of deltoids and triceps muscles.
- Twitching of muscles.
- Tenderness in the area which is innervated by the pinched nerve.
Home Remedies To Fix A Pinched Nerve In Arm
Pinched nerve in arm is usually well managed with conservative methods. Rest, cold application, massage, physical therapy and medications are found to be effective in treating pinched nerve symptoms. In rare cases where the symptoms worsen even after conservative measures may require surgery to release the pressure on pinched nerve in arm.
- Rest: Rest is essential to reduce the inflammation of tissues which put pressure on the nerve. Avoid any activities with the affected hand. If needed use a splint to immobilize the arm and the hand. Reduced movement of arm enhances the healing of damaged nerve.
- Cold application: Ice fomentation will help to reduce inflammation and irritation of the involved nerve. Take few cubes of ice in a clean towel and place it around the pinched nerve. Cold therapy alleviates pain and swelling of the tissues and thus reduces pressure on the nerve that is pinched. Repeat it two to three times in a day for few days. Cold fomentation should not be done more than 10 to 15 minutes.
- Medication: Anti inflammatory medicines are beneficial as they reduce inflammation of muscles and tissues that compress the nerve.
- Few days after the acute symptoms have subsided, patient should begin physical therapy. Stretching exercises will help to reduce pressure on the pinched nerve. Always consult a physiotherapist before beginning any exercise as wrong exercise may worsen the symptoms.
- Acupressure and acupuncture are also beneficial in reducing symptoms of pinched nerve.
If the conventional treatment is not effective, the doctor may recommend surgery to release the pinched nerve from the pressure of adjoining tendons, muscles.