Where Is a Painful Nerve in the Arm?


Quick Answer

One potentially painful nerve in the arm, referred to as the ulnar nerve, stretches from the neck to the hands, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The pain results from compression or irritation of the ulnar nerve at any point along its path of travel.

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Full Answer

If the ulnar nerve is constricted, the result is pain or numbness in the hands, wrists, fingers or elbows, explains the AAOS. The typical points of this constriction include the point at the neck where the nerve exits the spinal cord, the wrist, and under the collarbone. However, the elbow is the most common point of constriction; this results in a condition known as cubital tunnel syndrome.

The condition may lead to pain inside the elbow, explains the AAOS. However, the majority of symptoms affect the hands, including numbness, tingling and loss of feeling in the little and middle fingers; difficulty in moving or coordinating the fingers; weakening of the grip; and, if the constriction persists over a lengthy period of time, muscle wasting.

These problems and the consequent pain can be avoided in several ways, notes the AAOS. Arms should not be bent for long periods of time, and sufferers should avoid leaning on elbows. If the pain persists, treatment should be sought before muscle wasting starts. This is because damaged muscle tissue cannot be recovered.

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