Arm Pain? Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

Are you experiencing arm pain that developed for no apparent reason? Pain that shoots down the arm that develops without a trauma or injury has to first undergo examination to rule out involvement of the cervical spine. The neck commonly produces arm pain that can very sharp or dull and burning. The neck has vertebral discs and nerves that travel into the arms. These nerves control the sensation, strength, and motor function of the arms. We commonly hear the term “pinched nerve”, laments terms, this is what is the population is referring to in regards to having shooting arm pain. Therefore, it is necessary to rule out the involvement of the neck when dealing with shooting pain down the arm. The sooner patients can perform neck pain exercises, the faster they will find relief.

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Shooting arm pain without trauma is a flag that implies involvement of the neck. You may also have neck pain but that is not a requirement. You may not have any neck pain, but still have shooting pain down the arm. Irritation to the disc or nerves can cause shooting arm pain. When repetitive stress is placed onto the neck, the nerves may become irritated or lead to having a “pinched nerve”. This will in turn produce shooting pain down the arm. Poor posture, repeated activity at work, bending the head repeatedly or straining the neck can irritate the sensitive structures of of the neck.


Arm pain may only be present in a local area such as the arm, forearm or hand, however, the pain may randomly move as well. You may experience “good days” and “bad days”. The rapidly changing nature of the arm pain strongly suggests involvement of the cervical spine creating a “pinched nerve”. Other symptoms may include weakness, tingling, pins and needles, or burning sensations. We can measure nerve health during the neurological exam by testing soft or sharp sensations in the hand, forearm, arm, or shoulder. We measure strength of the nerves by using a dynamometer to evaluate grip strength in poundage applied.


If the arm pain is associated with the neck, we determine appropriate neck pain exercises. These exercises are specific exercises that move the head and neck biomechanically with patients applying little resistance. The patents will begin to notice pain decrease and an increase in range of motion. Specific forms of physical therapy and chiropractic care will provide the best outcome. We are credentialed in McKenzie Therapy and it is the leading non-surgical treatment option for spinal & joint disorders. The emphasis is specific exercises that match the patient’s pain response. The patient is educated in what exercises to perform and what postures and activities to temporarily reduce or modify. Dr. Del Real is a Chiropractor in Crown Point who is the only chiropractor credentialed in McKenzie Therapy.

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