If you have a constant pain that usually starts at the base of your neck on your back and goes all the way to the tips of your fingers; excruciating pain episodes that don't seem to go away with regular pain killers, could be a sign of a cervical condition called Brachialgia.
is a technical term for an arm pain, that is sometimes confused with back pain since it starts on the upper back. This type of condition is caused by a pinch or compression of the nerves at the cervical discs area. And since it is not a muscular-related ache, analgesics don't do much to relieve it.
Among the common symptoms of this neurological condition include pain in the neck, shoulder blade or arm discomfort, weakness, numbness and tingling sensations.
Different causes could lead to this acute pain: They could be cervicogenic; related to traumatic injuries that could be acute fractures, subluxations, capsular sprains, ligament, muscle tears, undiagnosed trauma sequels, osteoarthritis, displaced cervical disks, cervical ulcers, degenerative disk disease. Some other can be inflammatory such as osteophytes (bony spurs), prolapsed intervertebral disk (bulging), tuberculosis, typhoid, etc. Usually two or more of these conditions are seen together.
There are a number of options to treat brachialgia, all depend on the patient's specific condition:
Physical Therapy: It can include specialized massage, osteopathy, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
Pain medication: Although in most brachialgia cases these are ineffective some analgesics may be useful. Ketamine infusions (type of anesthetic), membrane stabilizing agents could be appropriate in some cases.
Surgery: This alternative and its risks and benefits should be discussed with a neurosurgeon. However this is a common option for long term chronic pain. And among the surgeries listed to heal brachialgia are foraminotomy (to relieve pressure from the nerve root), laminectomy (posterior cervical decompression), anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF; decompression of the spinal cord and nerve roots of the cervical spine to provide stabilization to the affected vertebrae) and even an artificial disc replacement.
Nerve sheath injections: Under a CT scan guidance a local anesthetic can be injected around the compressed nerve. The benefit of this procedure is usually temporary until surgery is done; it is mostly used as a diagnostic tool and the neurosurgeon wishes to investigate exactly which nerve is causing the symptoms.
Sometimes just by modifying your daily activities in your workplace or recreational activities could avoid the pain that comes from this nerve pressure. Avoid any repetitive neck or arm movements and also stay away from any heavy lifting.