Tag Archives: nerves

Hand Pain and the Role of the Neck

Hand pain doctors san francisco 94111We have been providing treatment for hand pain in San Francisco for over 20 years now. During this time we have learned much about the role of the neck when it comes to hand pain and carpal tunnel symptoms.

After-all, the nerves that innervate and control the shoulder, arm, wrist and hand, originate in the neck. The neck is the source of power, energy and life for the upper extremity.

If we were to cut-off the nerve supply from the neck to the hands, the hands would die. If there is diminished nerve supply the hands will malfunction and symptoms will manifest. In order for the hands to function at 100%, they need 100% nerve power. Some of the signs and symptoms of nerve pressure in the neck are as follows:

 

1. Neck Pain

2. Shoulder, Arm, and Elbow Pain

3. Wrist and Hand Pain

4. Numbness and Tingling in the Arms and Hands

5. Weakness of Grip

6. Night Pain

These are also the classic signs and symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Yes, the same symptoms result from nerve interference between the neck and had as true CTS, which is the result of pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. This is because the median nerve originates in the neck.

Interesting Huh? This is why it is SO important for a doctor to check you from the neck to the fingertips when you have hand pain or any of the other carpal tunnel SYMPTOMS.

There is a subset of chiropractors like us that specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of neck, arm and hand pain. Chiropractic upper extremity experts will incorporate tools such as deep tissue laser therapy, Graston Technique, ART, and upper extremity adjustments, in addition to cervical spine adjustments to remove nerve pressure from the neck to the hands.

Sometimes hand pain will resolve quickly…sometimes it takes a while. It just depends how long your condition has been there and the extent of the damage. One thing for sure…taking pain pills, anti-inflammatory medication such as cortisone injections, and wearing wrist splints, is not going to do much for you if the problem is nerve pressure in the neck from subluxations, bulging or herniated discs, disc degeneration, or muscle spasms.

Physical pressure on nerves (to the hand) requires the removal of the pressure on the nerves or the carpal tunnel symptoms will persist.

If you need help finding a carpal tunnel doctor in your area you can send me an email at ebendavis@yahoo.com and I will try to find a doctor I have trained in your area.

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Carpal Tunnel Doctors please call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Serving local 94111 since 1992

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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The Neck and Headache Connection

Headache clinic san franciscoWhen we hear the term headache, we don’t usually think about the neck. Rather, we focus on the head, more specifically, “…what part of the head hurts?” But, upon careful questioning of patients, our San Francisco Headache Doctors usually find some connection or correlation between neck pain and headaches.

The key to this connection can be found in looking at the anatomy of the neck. There are 7 vertebrae that make up the cervical spine and 8 sets of nerves that exit this part of the spine and innervate (connect to and control) various parts of the head, neck, shoulders and arms, all the way to the fingers. Think of the nerves as electric wires that stretch between a switch and a light bulb. When you flip on the switch, the light illuminates. Each nerve, as it exits the spine, is like a switch and the target it travels to represents the light bulb. So, if one were to stimulate each of the nerves as they exit the spine, we could “map” exactly where each nerve travels (of course, this has been done).  Cervical nerves and headaches
When we look specifically at the upper 3 sets of nerves that exit the spine (C1, C2, and C3), we see that as soon as they exit the spine, they immediately travel upwards into the head (the scalp). Like any nerve, if enough pressure is applied to the nerve, some alteration in nerve function occurs and usually a sensory change is noted (numbness, tingling, pain, burning, etc.). If the pressure continues, these symptoms can last for a long time. These types of headaches are often called “cervicogenic headaches” (literally meaning headaches that are caused by the neck). These can be caused by the nerves getting pinched by tight muscles through which they travel as they make their way to the scalp.

Forward head postureThese muscles are usually tight in people that spend the majority of their day in front of a computer…especially if they have developed Forward Head Posture.

Another connection between the neck and headaches includes the relationship between 2 of the 12 cranial nerves and the first three nerves in the neck described above. These types of headaches usually only affect one half of the head – the left or right side. One of the cranial nerves is called the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V). Because the trigeminal nerve innervates parts of the face and head, pain can also involve the face. Another cranial nerve (spinal accessory, cranial nerve IX) can also interact with the upper 3 cervical nerve roots, resulting in cervicogenic headaches. People with cervicogenic headaches will often present with an altered neck posture, restricted neck movement, and pain when pressure is applied to the base of the skull or to the upper vertebrae. Other than a possible numbness, there are no clinical tests that we can run to “show” this condition, though some patients may report scalp numbness or, it may be found during examination.

Though medication, injections, and even surgical options exist, manipulation applied to the small joints of the neck, especially in the upper part where C1-3 exit, works really well so why not try that first as it’s the least invasive and, VERY EFFECTIVE! In some cases, a combination of approaches may be needed but many times, chiropractic treatment is all the patient needs for a successful outcome.

 We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment with one of our headache specialists in San Francisco, call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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