Hand pain & it relationship to your Neck’
This week I will continue to discuss and explain the relationship between nerve pain and the cervical spine of the neck. This will help you understand where that pins and needles pain of the hand is coming from.
Thumb & Index Finger pain - C6 Nerve Root
The C6 nerve root supplies sensation to the outside of the upper arm and forearm area, thumb and index finger. Sharp shooting pain, Pins & Needles or numbness felt in these areas can be associated with compression of the C6 nerve root which originates from the C6 vertebrae of the cervical spine in the neck. The radial nerve, which is a branch of the C6 nerve root, controls the muscles of the forearm that enable the wrist to be turned outwards with the palm facing the sky and to extend the wrist backwards. Weakness in this movement can indicate nerve root compression.
Palm of the hand pain - C7 Nerve Root
Sensation and feeling into the middle finger and to the centre of palm of the hand is supplied by the Median nerve which partially originates from the C7 nerve root in the cervical spine of the neck. Weakness in the ability to bend the wrist against resistance may suggest compression of the C7 nerve root in the neck region, neck pain or restricted neck movement would support this diagnosis. This nerve root can be compressed by Facet joint Dysfunction or a Cervical Bulging Disc between the C6 and C7 vertebrae. This can bring about shooting pain and Pins and needles into the hand also. Likewise with median nerve compression as in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Pronator Teres Syndrome of the forearm, shooting pain, numbness and pins & needles can felt into the hand.
Small & Ring Finger Pain - C8 nerve Root
The C8 nerve root is situated between the C7 and T1 vertebrae of the Spine, at the base of the neck. The C8 nerve root, through the Ulnar nerve supplies sensation and feeling to the small finger, ring finger and the inside region of the forearm. Abnormal compression on the C8 nerve root in the neck can lead to altered sensation, shooting pain and pins and needles into this area. Weakness in bending the fingers against resistance can be noted also. The Ulnar nerve which partially originates from the C8 nerve can be separately compressed in the neck region through Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and in the elbow by Ulnar nerve Neuritis syndrome with both causing symptoms into the small and ring finger.
Next week I will discuss ankle injuries.
Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy and is based in Thurles.
Contact Number: 0504 26672
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