Arm pain may be caused by disc and arthritic problems in the neck or shoulder or possibly a problem in the arm itself. Hand pain may also be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome or other problems of the wrist and hand areas.
Additionally, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) otherwise known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) which is a painful condition following an injury, may cause prolonged arm pain. Symptoms include pain, swelling, skin discoloration, hypersensitivity to touch, reduced range of motion, and muscle weakness. Nerve blocks including sympathetic nerve blocks help break the cycle of pain.
Carpal Tunnel Pain Symptoms
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a clinical diagnosis that typically presents as numbness and pain in the first 4 fingers. CTS is prevalent in occupations requiring repetitive motions with their hands and wrists. Patients may describe difficulty buttoning shirts, writing letters, and sleeping at night due to pain.
The carpal tunnel or carpal canal is the passageway in the wrist that connects the forearm to the middle compartment of the deep plane of the palm. The tunnel consists of bones and connective tissue. Several tendons and a nerve pass through it.
Nerve conduction studies and electromyography testing are helpful to examine the severity of the disease. Wrist splints and carpal tunnel injections are helpful to reduce the inflammation and pain.
The canal is narrow and when any of the nine long flexor tendons passing through it swells or degenerates, the narrowing of the canal often results in nerves becoming compressed, a medical condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome resulting in arm pain or hand pain.
The main symptom of carpal tunnel is intermittent numbness of the thumb, index, long and radial half of the ring finger. The numbness usually occurs at night because we tend to sleep with our wrists flexed and is relieved by wearing a wrist splint that prevents flexion. Long-standing carpal tunnel syndrome leads to permanent nerve damage with constant numbness, atrophy of some of the muscles of the thenar eminence, and weakness of palmar abduction.