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Numbness in the Arm? Read This!

It’s a common complaint that I hear day in and day out from patients, family members and friends, but numbness and tingling in the arm is often far too quickly diagnosed as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome before taking a deeper look at the issue.

What else could be causing your arm pain? Keep reading!

Why Does My Arm Tingle?

Numbness and tingling are sensations that occur as a result of nerve compression, which can be caused by bones, muscles or fascia. Fascia is connective tissue that surrounds muscles. With improper movement patterns or overuse injuries, fascia can develop adhesions, which overtime will grow and start compressing nerves.
Nerve Compression by bone is usually associated with a trauma. If a trauma has occurred, it’s best to go to a doctor for an X-ray to rule out anything serious.

Nerve compression by muscle is caused by a tightness or shortening of muscle fibers due to a contraction of the muscle spindles. These contractions happen when the muscle is stretched quickly and the spindles contract to protect the muscle, causing micro-tears in the muscle. As a result of the micro-tears, your body will apply a quick Band-Aid in the form of scar tissue. This scar tissue can grow over time and compress nerves just like fascia. 
The location of the numbness and tingling will generally guide you to which nerve is affected. However, there are causes that are functional and harder to diagnose if you don’t know where to look. Below, take a look at the more straightforward conditions causing numbness.

Numbness Location

Thumb, index & middle

Ring & little finger

Ring & little finger

Thumb side of forearm

Back of hand on thumb side

Compressed Nerve


Ulnar nerve

Ulnar nerve

Radial nerve

Brand of Radial Nerve


Carpal Tunnel

Cubital Tunnel

Tunnel of Guyon

Radial Tunnel Syndrome

Cheiralgia Paresthetica

More uncommon causes of numbness and tingling down the arm may be a result of herniated or bulging discs in the neck or contractions in the shoulder and neck muscles.

Treating Arm Numbness

Nerves of the arm originate in the neck and maneuver through and around muscles that can compress them. These muscles include the Sternocleidomastoid (neck muscle), Scalenes (neck muscle), and Pecoralis minor/major (chest muscles). Treatment of these causes should always be sought in a conservative to invasive paradigm. Neuromuscular Therapy and chiropractic care can correct nerve compression, curing the numbness and tingling in most cases. Though rare, some cases will require surgery.

Contact Us for a Consultation

If you’re wondering how chiropractic care can benefit you, I encourage you to contact our practice today to schedule an appointment.

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