THE REASON FOR HAND AND ARM TINGLING IS NECK?
Female patient in her mid-sixty’s came into the office with a serious face while holding her right arm with her left hand. Her extreme pain was noticeable because of her expression and slouched posture, and she claimed the pain in her right arm and hand worsen when extending her arm down, so she had to hold her affected arm with her left arm for the past six months.
The pain worsening when lowering her hand, relief of pain when lifting the hand over her head – also known as “shoulder abduction relief sign”—and a positive sign of Spurling’s test, where the pain arises in the affected side as the examiner turns the patient’s head while extending and applying downward pressure to the top of the patient’s head, all point to herniated cervical disc disease. These are typical symptoms of herniated neck disc, and MRI results further confirms degenerative neck disc disorder.
Why does degenerative neck disc disorder arise? Degenerative neck disc is a disease that arises from the aging of bones and discs. As aging progresses, the disc’s moisture dissipates and distorts the disc, leading to pain. Thorn-like spurs grow on the surface of the bones, thus, together with the shrunken disc, irritate the nerve, arouse inflammation, and trigger pain.
Symptoms of herniated disc include heaviness and stiffness on the neck and shoulder, accompanied by overall arm and hand pain and numbness, without limiting to being startled as if electrocuted. In worse cases, the muscle of the arm weakens to the point where one unknowingly drops an item that he or she was holding. Additionally, only a certain area of the arm may feel tingly, numb, or even sensitive rather than on the whole arm.
Neck disc patients are taken aback the most when neck disorder is mentioned, despite never having any neck pain before, except for arm or hand pain for few months, if not severe pain for a few days. However, patients themselves discover unnatural forward stretching of the neck, limited range of front and back, side to side motion of the neck, and imbalance of both part of the body as they receive treatments.
Spinal disorder does not appear out of the blues. Daily bad postures and habits damage the spine and trigger spinal disorder. Bad postures and habits include reading of book for a long time, bending of the neck, extending the neck forward, breaking the balance of the body by holding items always on the same side, burdening the neck and shoulder muscles with incompatible pillow every night, and more.
These bad habits interrupts the body’s balance as the stacked-up vertebrae deviate out of their proper place, leading up to herniated neck disc. Overwork, stress, lack of exercise, smoking, and drinking are also bad lifestyle habits that can trigger spinal disorders.
Pains followed by symptoms of degenerative disc diseases are somewhat bearable; therefore, patients visit the hospital only when the pain becomes unbearable. Someone who has experienced missing the appropriate timing for treatment knows the danger of self-diagnosing by searching the internet, listening to other people’s opinion, neglecting, or pilgrimaging to different hospital after seeing no results of self-treatment.
Like any other diseases, only time and money are wasted without proper treatment at a proper time. Confirmation of the disease through consultation and examinations from specialists and proper treatment plan are very important.
Published by KoreaTimes under <Health Column> on July 21st, 2015.