Symptoms of neck issues aren’t always felt in the part of the body that’s the source of the discomfort. If you are experiencing pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands not directly associated with hand injuries or joint issues like arthritis, it may be related to something going on within your cervical spine, or neck.
Separating Hand Pain from Neck Problems
Several conditions involving muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues in your hand-wrist area, such as rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, may contribute to hand pain. Separating hand pain and neck problems often involves a process of elimination that includes X-rays and other image tests recommended by board-certified orthopedic doctors.
Possible Sources of Radiating Neck Pain
Similar to how the sciatic nerve can cause radiating lower back pain, the radicular nerve in your neck can cause radiating pain referred to as cervical radiculopathy. Motor and sensory functions are controlled by eight nerve roots running from the neck along your shoulders, arms, and hands. Problems with any of these nerve roots may result in hand pain that can range from mild and intermittent to sharp and persistent.
Neck Conditions That May Cause Hand Pain
A number of neck conditions can cause pain extending to your hands. It’s likely your doctor will search for potential sources of pain in your back and neck if there are no structural issues with your hands, with possible sources including:
- Cervical degenerative disc disease: Age-related wear and tear weakens discs.
- Cervical herniated disc: Inner disc material presses outward and compresses on nerves.
- Cervical osteoarthritis: Cartilage on facet joints wears away to the point where bone friction causes nerve irritation and inflammation.
- Cervical foraminal stenosis: Tunnels for nerve roots become narrow and compress those nerves.
- Cervical tumor: Nerve irritation results from an abnormal growth in the neck.
Most instances of neck pain actually felt in your neck are minor or temporary in duration. Pain that travels to other parts of your body such as your hands, however, is often related to some type of nerve compression. If this radiating pain doesn’t go away or becomes increasingly persistent or worse, see your doctor.
Interesting in learning more about treatment options for debilitating or chronic neck pain? Reach out to leading Beverly Hills spine surgery center The Spine Institute by calling (310) 828-7757. Our specialists can diagnose the cause of your neck pain and help you determine how best to find adequate relief.