Everyone has probably experienced pain in his or her hand, whether it’s just from a bump or perhaps overuse. However, if hand pain persists or is accompanied by tingling, numbness, or weakness that interferes with important daily tasks, such as gripping items or typing on a keyboard, then an underlying medical condition might exist.
There are many causes of hand pain and numbness, including wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. What many people don’t know, however, is that hand pain and numbness can often originate from a problem in the neck and spine.
When a nerve root in the cervical spine becomes compressed or irritated by a problem in the neck, symptoms can appear anywhere from the shoulder all the way down into the arm, hand, and fingers. Pain that travels along this nerve pathway, the radicular nerve, is called a cervical radiculopathy.
The most common conditions that can trigger radiculopathy include:
- Cervical herniated disc
- Cervical spinal stenosis
- Cervical degenerative disc disease
- Cervical osteoarthritis
The pain experienced from cervical radiculopathy can range from mildly achy to sharp and stabbing. It can also cause numbness and/or pins-and-needles tingling sensations. Symptoms can affect different sections of the hand, depending on what area of the spine the source of the irritated nerve is signaling from.
If hand pain and/or function don’t improve on their own, then a doctor should be consulted. Many conditions are more easily treated early in the process. If a nerve is compressed, then it’s especially important to get treatment before permanent damage can happen.
Everybody is different and unique in the way they experience or explain their pain, so a consultation is important when diagnosing the problem and coming up with the right treatment plan. If you’re experiencing persistent pain in your hand – especially if it travels down your arm – contact Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.