Arm Pain & You
What is It and How Can You Get it Cured?
Arm pain is ocuring more frequently in modern life. Dr. Prem Pillay a Spine, Nerve & Pain Specialist in Singapore, states that this is from several factors including our lifestyle and work style of the 21st Century. This results in stress and strain to the neck, shoulder, arms and hands. Consequently, pain and stiffness can occur at these locations resulting in difficulty with work and sports activities.
The overuse of Computers and Mobile devices including smartphones and iPhones is an important factor in causing arm related pain, states Dr. Prem Pillay. With computer use and poor posture, stress can accumulate in the neck causing cervical spine/neck disc protrusions that can press on or irritate nerves that run down the arm. Neck and arm pain can result. Sports activities like tennis, badminton, golf, weight training, gymnastics, horse riding, martial arts (judo, karate, TKD, jujitsu, kendo, etc.), rugby, football, etc. can also result in arm and neck injuries that can cause arm pain. Even activities like yoga and pilates, if not done correctly, or from incorrect instruction can result in injury.
Localized arm pain in the shoulder, elbow or wrist can be from a joint capsule strain or tendon injury. Other causes include a muscle strain or tear. Partial injuries can heal with rest. The principles of treatment include RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation for an acute injury. Repetitive stress injury (RSI) is associated with office work especially with computers and with some types of manual work even in artists and musicians! When injuries are mild and associated with partial tears, anti-inflammatory pain medications, muscle relaxants, and physiotherapy with heat, ultrasound or lasers can assist recovery states Dr. Prem Pillay. Many people try traditional message, chiropractors and massage therapists for these pains. If the pain does not improve after three visits or becomes more painful during therapy you should immediately seek help from a proper Medical Specialist.
Dr. Prem Pillay states that the proper medical examination and tests can usually accurately determine the cause of the arm pain. Pain in the shoulder can be from localized problems such as a frozen shoulder, partial tears of the rotator cuff, joint cartilage injuries, and muscle tears/strains. In the elbow, a tennis elbow causing pain on the outside or a golfer’s elbow causing pain on the inside are common. In the hand, a condition called De Quervain’s tenosynovitis can cause pain at the base of the thumb and wrist. Another cause of pain in the hand, wrist and fingers can be caused by nerve pressure on the median nerve in the wrist by thickened ligaments. This is called Carpal tunnel Syndrome. Nerve pressure from a slipped disc in the neck can cause pain in the shoulder, elbow and down the arm to the fingers.
Nerve related pain can be quite disturbing and disabling. Dr. Prem cautions that it is important to distinguish pain from a pinched nerve from a muscle sprain. A pinched nerve is often more serious and could spread to more muscles causing not only pain but weakness as the nerve pressure increases. Nerve pain that radiates down the arm is called radiculopathy. Brachalgia is a general term for arm and shoulder pain. Radicular pain can be associated with tingling, and numbness in the area of pain going down the arm to the fingers.
Medications and physiotherapy can be helpful once the diagnosis has been confirmed states Dr. Prem Pillay. However if nerve pressure is found, pain relief alone is often not enough. It is important to reduce nerve pressure so that is does not result in weakness or paralysis. If the nerve is compressed severely or for too long, recovery may not occur or be incomplete despite surgery. If the problem is found early, modern methods include laser treatments without surgery, superior to laser treatments for spine disc problems without surgery through special injections can reduce nerve pressure. For carpal tunnel syndrome endoscopic release or direct microscopic release can be effective. Cervical spine disc problems that are more serious may require Microsurgery including minimally invasive spine surgery techniques to remove the disc protrusion or herniated disc that is pressing the nerves. A disc replacement is often done at the same time.
Dr. Prem Pillay, states that modern spine surgery can be done safely and effectively if the specialist is experienced, well trained and qualified. Further information is available at spine-neuro.org or by contacting email@example.com