I think I have a pinched nerve in my upper/mid back. It is a sharp and radiating pain and gets worse when I move my neck and arm. The pain typically goes away after several days but keeps returning when I move the wrong way (usually when I have my arms raised to wash my hair). I'm wondering if it is indeed a pinched nerve and what I can do to make it permantly go away?
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Either it is pinched nerve or it is the neurogenic variant of thoracic outlet syndrome. TOS or thoracic outlet syndrome occurs as the result of narrowing of space below and behind the collar bone. The classic symptoms of the neurogenic variant of TOS are neck stiffness, pain on raising the arm above the head, neck pain and headaches and a tired feeling in arm. It can also be Scalene Myofascial Pain Syndrome to some extent. When scalene muscle is the cause of pain, the pain is referred to chest, inner lining of scapula, shoulder, posterior and lateral sides of the arm right up to the thumb and index finger. When this muscle shortens, this can press on brachial plexus and the subclavian artery and can compress or irritate these structures and cause symptoms such as abnormal sensation, cold extremity, claudication, and lymphedema in the involved extremity. This is a major cause of TOS. Please consult the trauma specialist and a physiotherapist regarding this.
Nerve compression can happen due to overuse of computers, work involving straining of neck, herniated disc, canal stenosis, bone disease, spondylosis, poor posture etc. A MRI of the cervical and thoracic spine and nerve conduction studies may be required. Please consult a neurologist. The treatment is to remove the compression. You have to discuss the best treatment option with a neurologist, which can range from medication to physiotherapy to traction, corsets or braces or even surgery. Take care!
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