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Arm Pain and Shoulder Pain

What Causes Arm Pain & Shoulder Pain?

Arm and shoulder pain often stems from nerve entrapment within the neck or potential pinching between the clavicle and chest wall. Although neck pain might not be evident, once causes within the shoulder are eliminated, the pain source can be hard to pinpoint. Conventional diagnostic techniques sometimes struggle to identify the cause of arm and shoulder pain.

Challenges in Pinpointing the Pain

Traditional diagnostic methods, such as clinical examinations, pain patterns, and MRI scans, can sometimes yield inconclusive results. For instance, an MRI might only reveal mild intervertebral disc degeneration. This degradation can lead to posture changes, making nerves susceptible to pinching in various locations. Additionally, nerves related to the arms and shoulders have a long pathway from the spinal column, making them prone to issues at multiple points.

Diagnosis of Arm and Shoulder Pain

An essential step in diagnosing arm and shoulder pain is analysing neck and shoulder posture to identify any abnormal movements. If this analysis is accurate, the pain sources in the neck can be defined through a surgical examination while the patient is awake. This examination allows the surgeon to replicate the pain by probing structures around the discs, and the patient can provide immediate feedback on the pain type and distribution. Sometimes, additional techniques are necessary to determine the main pain source, especially if symptoms are presented at multiple spinal levels.

Why Choose This Diagnostic Method?

This ‘live’ diagnostic approach ensures that arm and shoulder pain sources are accurately identified, avoiding potential misdiagnoses due to complex nerve links in the neck. Traditional diagnostic methods often depend on pre-operative estimates from X-rays, MRI scans, and CAT scans. These can sometimes lead to extensive surgeries, which might not address the primary pain source.

Treatment for Arm and Shoulder Pain

After attempting postural correction and the awake state diagnosis, patients typically undergo Endoscopic Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery or Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression. These methods clear degenerate products within the disc, relieve compressed nerves, and address leaks and bone spurs.

Benefits Over Conventional Surgery

Endoscopic Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression offer precise treatment with minimal tissue damage and reduced patient risk, ensuring a better long-term outcome. They contrast with traditional surgeries, especially when multi-level conditions are suspected. These minimally invasive techniques are suitable for all age groups, including the frail and elderly, because they don’t require general anaesthesia. They also provide an option for long-term symptoms where conventional surgeons might only offer palliative Chronic Pain Management.

Thank you - From the Spinal Foundation