Herniated Disc Weak Arm

Herniated Disc Weak Arm

Herniated disc weak arm syndrome can be a consequence of cervical intervertebral protrusions. It is certainly possible for a herniated disc to bulge or rupture into the neuroforaminal spaces, causing a pinched nerve that leads to weakness and numbness in the neck, upper back, shoulder, arm, hand or fingers. It is also possible for a herniation to compress the actual spinal cord, leading to central stenosis symptoms virtually anywhere in the body, including weakness in one or both arms.

However, there are many other reasons why a weak feeling can be experienced in one or both arms and these actual causations might be overlooked if a herniation happens to exist coincidentally in the upper spinal regions.

This essay examines weakness in the arm that may or may not be related to intervertebral disc bulging.


Herniated Disc Weak Arm Diagnosis

A weak arm has a far better chance of actually being related to a single nerve root compression issue, if the weakness is accompanied by numbness and both symptoms are objective in their expression. This type of symptomology often entails a complete lack of neurological signal to the affected area, as would be expected from a true compressive neuropathy.

Chronic, subjective weakness, accompanied by tingling, pain or partial numbness, is highly unlikely to be related to a pinched nerve that is enacted by a herniated disc in the neck. However, these types of symptoms might result from central canal impingement on the spinal cord, most often occurring due to a central disc protrusion. That being said, there are many other possible sources of arm weakness, including alternative spinal causations, disease processes, mindbody syndromes and localized nerve dysfunction in the arm itself. None of these possibilities should be overlooked during the diagnostic process. Unfortunately, in many instances, a herniated disc is visualized on diagnostic imaging and takes full blame for causing the arm symptoms, even when the weak area might not correlate to the expected innervation pattern for the affected nerve.

This premature diagnostic conclusion is par for the course in the back and neck pain treatment industry, with virtually any type of structural spinal abnormality being implicated as the cause of pain without any pathological process being demonstrated to explain the symptoms. In essence, we are discussing an epidemic occurrence of misdiagnosis.


Herniated Disc Weak Arm Facts

Subjective weakness is rarely proven to be the result of any nerve compression issue. Research has clearly demonstrated that continued compression of a spinal nerve root will cause complete dysfunction, leading to no nerve signal at all. The resulting symptomology should include objective weakness in highly specific muscles in the arm. This is exactly why doctors use nerve burning, cutting and tying procedures to end pain in the spinal structures. Once a nerve is prevented from signaling, only total numbness and weakness should remain. Therefore, diagnosing a pinched nerve due to a herniated disc is illogical and unenlightened in a great number of patients, however common the practice may be. 

Spinal stenosis may rarely enact arm weakness which is subjective, although most cases of stenosis are completely normal and asymptomatic, just like the majority of herniated discs. Furthermore, it is uncommon for patients to suffer upper body weakness, compared to the much higher incidence of lower body symptom sets in central cervical stenosis patients.

An alternate spinal cause of arm weakness might include general foraminal or central canal stenosis that is not enacted by an intervertebral herniation. Meanwhile, alternate nonspinal causes of weakness might include diabetes, a host of neuromuscular diseases, local injury to the arm nerves, muscular nerve compression in the cervical or brachial plexus, tumor growth, psychogenic cause, circulatory problems or idiopathic explanations.


Herniated Disc Weak Arm Suggestions

Many people are diagnosed with a weak arm that is theorized to be related to a herniated disc. Some of these patients experience escalated symptoms while at work.  In some scenarios, the job is blamed for exacerbating the symptomatic expression, through the occurrence of RSI, also called repetitive strain injury. This vocational link is more logical than many of the other types of misdiagnosed herniated disc concerns. RSI might be the true culprit for pain and subjective symptoms, but is almost never to blame for chronic objective numbness or weakness, especially in the absence of pain.

One of the less commonly diagnosed causes of arm weakness is localized nerve compression that might be enacted by tendonalgia.  However, these concerns are also typically accompanied by pain and are not often objective in their expression.

Carpal tunnel syndrome might produce weakness, but this will usually be experienced in the wrist or hand and not in the arm.  Additionally, pain and other symptoms should accompany carpal tunnel expressions in virtually every case.

If your arm weakness is blamed on a cervical intervertebral pathology, be sure to understand how the symptoms are being generated. Once you can comprehend the process, be certain to conduct your own independent research to make sure that there are no holes in the diagnostic conclusion before agreeing to pursue any treatment path designed to work on resolving the herniated disc.



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