Symptoms in Your Hands Could Stem From Your Neck

Unlike injuries that produce symptoms directly at the affected site, nerve irritation or compression can sometimes create an effect called referred pain. Instead of symptoms at the point of injury, you could experience effects anywhere along the path of the nerve. 

It’s possible that tingling, numbness, or pain that you feel in your hands stems from nerve issues in your neck. 

A common reason for this is a condition called cervical radiculopathy. Sometimes referred to as a pinched nerve, cervical radiculopathy affects nerves branching off the spinal cord at the cervical spine, the upper portion of vertebrae that supports your neck. 

Hand symptoms that you think result from carpal tunnel issues may in fact trace back to your neck. This could have a big influence on the success of pain treatments and your relief from symptoms.

Dr. James A. Nassiri and the team at Westside Pain Specialists are experts at pinpointing the source of your hand issues, ensuring effective pain relief and a fast return to your daily routine.  

Cervical radiculopathy

The seven vertebrae at the top of spine comprise the cervical section. They extend from the base of your skull to about the top of your shoulders, the framework for your neck. 

Your brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system, protected by your brain and spine. When nerves branch off of the central nervous system, they become peripheral nerves. Since the spine has a range of tasks from protecting the spinal cord while supporting your body and permitting motion including bends and twists, it’s a complex piece of bioengineering. 

The transition from central to peripheral nerves requires spaces that allow unimpeded passage of nerve tissue, no matter what sort of movement you undertake. These spaces, called foramen, usually do an excellent job of protecting nerve branches. 

However, there are some conditions that reduce the size of the foramen, resulting in cervical radiculopathy, nerve issues affecting the peripheral nerves that branch off your spinal cord at the neck. . 

Nerve impingement

There are two types of events that account for most cases of cervical radiculopathy. 

Herniated discs

Herniated discs represent a failure of the tough, cushioning pads between the bones of the spine. Composed of a tough outer shell and softer gel-like interior, spinal discs can rupture, allowing the inner gel to escape. 

The injury is not, in itself, painful, but the escaping gel can press on nerve tissue or reduce the room for nerve passage through the foramen. 

This creates the nerve “pinching,” which causes either neck pain at the point of injury or referred pain along the path of the nerve from neck to hand. 

Degenerative conditions

Degenerative conditions can also affect discs. As you get older, spinal discs lose volume, dry out, and start to bulge. The bones of your spine may respond by forming additional tissue called bone spurs, which can also reduce the size of the foramen, compressing or irritating nerve tissue. 

The result may be that issues with your hands originate in the neck, rather than the wrist, as is the case with carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Contact Westside Pain Specialists in Beverly Hills or Rancho Cucamonga, California, to assure proper diagnosis and to explore your treatment options. Call the nearest office to schedule your consultation now. Relief from your pain, numbness, or tingling could be close at hand. 

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