Having pain, numbness or tingling in your arms or hands can be extremely debilitating. Traditionally, tennis and golfer’s elbow, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, have been treated locally as muscle and tendon injuries. This has led to extremely poor outcomes and prolonged recovery periods. Its time to try something different!
Recently, more research is shining a light on a condition called radiculopathy. A funny word, not so funny when you have it. This is irritation of nerve roots as they exit the spine that causes pain to be felt in the extremities. Radiculopathy does not always come with neck pain which is what tends to mislead patients and healthcare professionals alike.
The good news is, these symptoms can be addressed with conservative measures in the clinic in addition to some simple movements that the patient can do at home.
When it comes to radiculopathy, the first goal of treatment is to ‘centralize’ the symptoms. This means we are aiming to bring the symptoms (i.e. pain, numbness or tingling) closer to the source of the problem which, in this case, is the neck.
When radiculopathy worsens it will tend to ‘peripheralize’. This means it will spread further down the extremity. This tends to be a common progression of events. Patients experience it, but unfortunately, are unable to identify the pattern because it happens so slowly and not in an obvious way.
The increasing prevalence of this condition is what makes it so important to talk about.
In our next blog posts, we will discuss how this presents itself in our patients and what can be done about it, practically.