There are 3 main nerves to the arm, and over 30 sites that these nerves can become compressed- little wonder the world of nerves always keeps us fascinated!
What is nerve compression?
An injury to the nerve where one or more nerves are compressed by another soft tissue or bone. In the upper limb this can occur in the neck, shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist or hand. And nerves can be compressed in more than one location along their path from neck to finger.
What are the symptoms?
Nerve compression can result in feelings of pins and needles during the night, or associated with activities or certain body postures. Some people loose strength or dexterity and can drop things or finding doing fiddly things difficult. Finger tips can loose their fuller shape or might produce less sweat making gripping a challenge. Some people notice changes in the colour of their hand and a burning or heavy feeling.
How do you get it?
There are many different things that can result in nerve compression. Some include; sleeping or resting posture, holding the arm or hand in the same position for a long time, doing the same activity (movements) repetitively, pressure from tools or even jewellery, or it could just be the way your body is built and moves.
How can we help?
Hand Therapists can assess where the compression is likely occurring, this can be confirmed in most cases with diagnostic ultrasound or nerve conduction studies.
By assessing how you use your body we can often determine the reason for the compression. We also give advice and exercise to try to manage the symptoms, and sometimes supportive day or night splints to help address the problem.
We also know when it is the right time to consult with other specialists, to ensure optimal timely team treatment.
Author Jo Marsh
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