The Pain & Injury Doctor ONLINE Newsletter

Here is your latest pain relief tip. If it doesn’t apply to you, still take note because life is full of surprises. If you know someone who is dealing with this type of pain, please forward this email to that person– thanks!

Neck Pain Radiating Down Arm
Due to Disc Bulge

What is Happening:

First and foremost, see a doctor immediately if you have this presentation because neck and radiating arm pain can be caused by a developing heart attack.

Just like how sciatica/ leg pain is usually caused by a bulging disc in the lower back or by a muscle pinching the nerve, arm pain and/or numbness & tingling is usually caused by a bulging disc in the neck, narrowing of the opening where the nerve passes (stenosis) or by a muscle pinching a cervical (neck) nerve root or plexus.

The nerve roots that come out from between your cervical vertebrae converge to form three main nerves that service the arm: the ulnar, median and radial nerves. If any of these nerve roots are pressed by a bulging disc, a bone spur or thickened ligament it usually causes radiating (traveling) pain, numbness or  tingling from that area down the arm, usually all the way down to the fingertips.

Recommended Home-Therapy Products Covered in Today’s Newsletter:

 

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Self Treatment for Radiating Arm Pain

Non-surgical candidates can do exercises to reduce the bulge size. For typical posterior bulges (bulges that protrude towards the back and one side of the vertebral body) try this exercise, after consulting with a professional (physical therapist or chiropractor):

Use your posterior neck muscles to pull your neck straight back, as far as you can; hold for 3 seconds. It may feel uncomfortable if your disc bulge is acute. Keep your chin tucked in so that the top of your head is level. Do eight times, twice a day for a couple of weeks; note changes in your neck pain and arm pain. Discontinue if it aggravates your condition. This movement gently presses the backs of the vertebral bodies together, which pumps the disc bulge back to center.

If the exercises help but you hit a plateau, try side bending your neck towards the side of the pain, very slowly; repeat six times. Again, note changes; discontinue if it aggravates the pain.

When most of the pain subsides, use the cervical PosturePump device to hydrate your cervical discs and restore normal curvature to your neck:

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PosturePump Neck Disc Rehydrator

The cervical Posture Pump Disc Rehydrator gently pumps and stretches the discs in your neck, drawing in fluids and nutrients to the disc. This helps reduce the progression of degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. It also helps restore the normal, lordotic curvature in your neck and corrects forward head posture; thus reducing muscle tightness behind the neck, upper shoulders and upper back.

If you have a chronic stiff neck and early stage degenerative disc disease, the PosturePump Disc Rehydrator is a good investment. Use daily to keep your discs from thinning.

More Information…

Another home neck traction device you can try is the ComforTrac (some people find it more comfortable than the PosturePump):

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ComforTrac Home Neck Traction Device

Use the ComforTrac Cervical Traction Unit to gently decompress the discs and facet joints in your neck. It can be helpful in rehabilitating bulging discs and reducing the effects of spinal stenosis (narrowing of nerve passageways in the cervical spine).

Contouring memory foam headrest and independently adjustable neck wedges provide maximum comfort during therapy. A patented hand pump allows precision control over traction force. The unit can incline at angles of 10,15 and 20 degrees. It can generate a 50-lb. maximum traction force.

Easily transportable-comes complete with durable, lightweight wheeled carry case.

More Information…

For temporary, immediate relief, try using an infrared neck pillow:

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Infrared Thermal Heat Shiatsu Massage Pillow

Use this device on those days when you need fast relief from neck or lower back muscle stiffness and soreness. The infrared light and heat penetrate deep into your muscles, increasing circulation and energizing fatigued muscle cells.

More Information…

Recommended Lifestyle Changes

Use a contoured neck pillow and sleep on your back:

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TempurPedic Neck Pillow

This contoured neck pillow provides ideal support to the neck when sleeping. The curved end is close to the natural curvature of the neck, so when you sleep on your back it actually helps reform this ideal curvature which typically flattens over time. The viscoelastic “memory foam” material provides firm yet comfortable support and resists flattening.

More Information…

Avoid or minimize axial forces to your neck (basically, running and jumping activities). If you like running, consider getting Z-coil or Gravity Defyer shoes:

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Z-Coil Anti-Shock Shoes

Z-Coil shoes have a strong spring in the heel that dampens the small but numerous shocks generated from walking and assists the foot in forward motion, reducing strain on the plantar fascia, heels and forefoot. These specialty shoes are great for those who have thinning cartilage in the knees and/or hips as the springs make up for the reduced cushioning capability of degenerated joint cartilage. They are also helpful if you have neck or low back bulging discs that get aggravated with the small shocks generated when walking long distances.

More Information…


BOTTOM LINE: While it may sound scary, a bulging disc in your neck does not necessarily mean you need to get surgery. Check with your doctor to see if it is best to self-manage. Only severe cases typically require surgery. Your approach will be to let the inflammation settle down (ice, rest, avoid aggravation for a few days), and then try some stretches to encourage the bulge to resorb. Neck traction using the devices mentioned here can be helpful in this regard.

Replace your standard pillow with a TempurPedic pillow, and sleep on your back with this pillow under your neck for continued therapy while you sleep. The pillow curves your neck and causes disc bulges to resorb.

These are some of the products I recommend to my patients with disc bulges in the neck  and arm pain.  They are generally safe to use, but check with your doctor. ~Dr. Perez

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For more detailed, step-by-step guidance on permanently resolving chronic muscle and joint pain, visit

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The information contained in this email and on www.PainandInjuryDoctor.com is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as a medical directive. It is provided as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dan Perez, D.C. Every person is unique, and individual cases of pain are therefore unique. Dr. Perez encourages readers of PainandInjuryDoctor.com to use available sources of information to help them make a more educated and informed decision regarding their health, in partnership with one or more qualified health care professionals.

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