Arm Pain and Physiotherapy

Physical Therapy

Arm pain refers to any types of pain or discomfort in one’s arm, hand and shoulder; basically from the finger all the way to the shoulder. Your arms is made of muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, skins, nervous system, blood vessels, blood etc, any of which can be injured, infected or receive trauma to get arm pain.

Arm pain may have different experiences, from

• duration (brief moment, versus intermittent pain, versus constant pain)

• location (very specific location, over a broad area, global area)

• ability to travel or radiate to other locations

• types of pain includes aching pain, stabbing pain, tingling pain, electrical pain, cramping pain, throbbing pain, stabbing pain, burning pain etc

If you have presence of a sensation of pins and needles, tingling like mild electrical sensation, with or without the presence of burning or electricity – this is what medical professionals call paresthesia. The range of pain experience includes being a simple discomfort and irritation, to moderate and severe pain such that even mild pressure as from blowing wind may disrupt the movement in your hand.

There can be many reasons that causes arm pain, which includes trauma; direct hits and blows; internal problems such as muscle tears, nerve degeneration and cancer; even repetitive strain injuries. Sometimes, arm pain can be referred or radiate from other parts of the body such as one’s back and neck. An example is a trigger point in the neck may cause radiating numbness down the hand and shoulder, or slipped disc that rests on the nerve of the spine that causes radiating pain or even numbness down one’s shoulder and hand.

The focus of physiotherapy and, or hand therapy will usually begin with

• an in depth assessment of the onset of the pain and injury,

• identify the factors that cause or aggravate to the pain,

• understand their previous medical and family history,

• as well as any other relevant medical information

• physical and manual testing to assess what exactly is the core problem

• physiotherapy, hand therapy and sports massage to commence from there

Once that is established, the focus of physiotherapy will then be to decrease pain experienced using electrical therapy modalities such as ultrasound and interferential therapy; cold therapy to decrease inflammation; before progressing with increasing range of motion and functional movements… slowly then progressing to building strength and dexterity. Physiotherapists may also use the following: exercise and movement therapy, joint mobilization and soft tissue management.