Nerves in the neck branch out into the arms. These nerves can get compressed at any site along its course down the arm. This can lead to pain, pins and needles or numbness in the arm or hand. In severe cases there may be some weakness in the muscles of the arm/ hand.


What are the characteristics of activities that cause neural irritation?

  • Prolonged and repetitive desk and mouse work
  • Repetitive activities


Signs and symptoms of neural irritation

  • Pain, pins and needles or numbness in the neck, upper back or arm
  • These symptoms may come and go during the day
  • May have weakness in muscles of the arm, forearm or hand
  • Pain is generally not as severe as with a nerve root compromise


What does the science currently say?

  • Scans are not needed initially as most people who do not have pain will have signs of a disc bulge, degeneration, prolapse as normal signs of ageing
  • If your symptoms do not respond to conservative treatment, scans may be indicated
  • As pain, pins and needles, weakness resolves if you rescan the affected region, changes and healing will not be shown


How can Physiotherapy help?

Your Physiotherapist will be able to:

  • Help you identify aggravating activities
  • Help you identify positions of comfort
  • Provide manual therapy to reduce pain, tightness, pins and needles and improve movement
  • Guide you through strengthening exercises
  • Identify whether your symptoms result from a true nerve root compromise or an irritation of the nerve along its course down the arm
  • Help identify when conservative management is no longer beneficial and discuss with you regarding cortisone injections and surgery