All movement in the shoulders, arms and hands is controlled by the brain. From there, the brain is in contact with the rest of your body through billions of nerves that make up your nervous system. Some nerves go straight to their destination point, but others mix with other nerves to form complicated nerve networks called a ‘plexus.’ The brachial plexus is made up of nerves that come out of the middle and upper back that supply information to the shoulders, arm, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers.
The nerves that make up the brachial plexus may become irritated as they leave the spinal column. This can occur when the spinal bones in the neck and upper back are misaligned and damage the very nerves they are supposed to protect. Any injury or trauma can cause the bones to become misaligned. Things as serious as an accident or fall or simply sitting at a desk with incorrect posture can create the vertebrae to become misaligned. Symptoms from damage to the brachial plexus can differ depending on location of the trauma.
Common causes of pain to the shoulder, arm, or hand are:
- Rotator cuff dysfunction
- Frozen Shoulder
- Brachial Plexopathy
- Tennis Elbow
- Neuritis and Bursitis
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In addition, it is not uncommon to experience headaches, facial pain, dizziness, thyroid or nasal problems as a result of brachial plexus nerve irritation.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms include tingling and numbness in the hand, fingers wrist, shoulder, elbow and neck. The pain is described as incredibly intense and has been reported to awaken sufferers at night. This pain is often caused by excess pressure in your wrist, which leads to inflammation. The compression of the median nerve causes the hand to “fall asleep” frequently and drop objects without warning.
There continues to be an increase in CTS sufferers seeking help from chiropractors. A chiropractor is able to analyze the body’s structure to locate and correct subluxations, which are irritated spinal nerves caused by pressure from the vertebrae. This will eliminate the pain and correct the underlying structural problem that is referring pain to the shoulder, arm, or hand.