Category : Nerves

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Hand Pain Nerves Pain

8 Signs of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) – is a pain condition that can be present for a long period of time. Those with this condition have a dysfunction in their central or peripheral nervous systems, causing the system to send frequent or constant pain signals to the brain, which results in the nervous system becoming overactive.

Here are 8 signs that you may have CRPS:

  1. “Burning” pain
  2. Sensitive skin
  3. Changes in skin temperature (warmer or cooler compared to other parts of the body)
  4. Changes in skin color (often blotchy, purple, pale or red)
  5. Changes in skin texture (shiny and thin, and sometimes excessively sweaty)
  6. Changes in nail and hair growth patterns
  7. Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
  8. Decreased ability to move the affected body part
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Brachial Plexus Nerves Shoulder

Ask a Doctor: Brachial Plexus Injuries

Hand surgeon Ryan Zimmerman, MD answers your questions about brachial plexus injuries.


What is the brachial plexus? 

The brachial plexus is a complicated web of nerves located near the base of your neck and top of your shoulder.  Typically, five nerves from the spinal cord at your neck weave together and eventually form the nerves for your shoulder, arm and hand.

How do brachial plexus injuries happen?

Brachial plexus injuries usually happen due to a stretching injury across the nerves.  Most of the time, the nerves get stretched but stay connected.  In severe cases, the nerves can tear. There are a few common ways for brachial plexus injuries to happen.  In newborns, the injury can occur during birth, This is more likely if the baby gets stuck during delivery.  During sports, tackles or collisions can cause a stretch injury.  This is commonly referred to as a “stinger” or “burner.”  In car or motorcycle accidents, the brachial plexus can be stretched by the force of the impact.

What are the symptoms of a brachial plexus injury?

Each injury is unique, and the symptoms are due to the exact nerves that get stretched and how badly they get stretched.  Many patients with brachial plexus injuries describe “electrical” or shooting pains that can run all the way down to the hand.  Numbness and weakness are also common.  The numbness can range from a slight funny feeling to total numbness. Weakness can range from mild loss of strength to total inability to move the shoulder, elbow, or hand.

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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Elbow Hand Nerves

3 Causes of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that involves the ulnar nerve, also known as the “funny bone” nerve, which runs on the inner side of the elbow. This condition can cause numbness or tingling in the ring finger and small finger (sometimes referred to as “pins and needles”), pain in the forearm, loss of sensation and/or weakness in the hand.

Here are three potential causes of this condition:

  1. Pressure: The ulnar nerve has little padding over it, so direct pressure (like leaning your arm on an arm rest) can cause the arm and hand — especially the ring and small fingers — to “fall asleep.”
  2. Stretching: Keeping the elbow bent for a long time can stretch the ulnar nerve.  This can happen while you sleep or if you are holding a phone for a long period of time, for example.
  3. Anatomy: Sometimes, the ulnar nerve simply does not stay in its place. It will snap back and forth over a bony bump as you move your elbow, which can irritate the nerve.
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Brachial Plexus Hand Nerves Shoulder

What is a Brachial Plexus Injury?

The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that start in the spinal cord in the neck and travel down the arm. These nerves control the muscles of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, as well as provide feeling in the arm. If you have a brachial plexus injury, it means you have damaged a nerve.

Nerve injuries can be very serious, as they can stop signals to and from the brain. Nerves can be damaged by stretching, pressure or cutting. Stretching can occur when the head and neck are forced away from the shoulder, such as during a motorcycle or car accident. Pressure could occur if the brachial plexus is crushed, which can happen during a fracture or dislocation. You will know if you have a nerve injury, as opposed to just a broken bone or other injury, if you’ve lost feeling in your arm.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Hand Nerves Wrist

Video: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common conditions of the hand and wrist. It is the result of pressure on a nerve in the wrist which leads to pain, numbness, tingling  and a weak grip. Carpal Tunnel can prevent you from enjoying hobbies or daily activities that you enjoy. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit a hand surgeon to discuss potential treatment options for you.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be treated in a variety of ways, including:

  • Changing the way you use your hands
  • Wearing a wrist splint
  • Steroid injection
  • Surgery

Watch our 3-minute video above to hear directly from a hand surgeon about the causes, symptoms and treatment options for this condition. Or, go to www.HandCare.org to read about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, watch other videos, and view printable resources.

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Anatomy Brachial Plexus Nerves Shoulder

Anatomy 101: Brachial Plexus

brachial-plexus

The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that stem from the spinal cord in the neck and travel all the way down the arm. These nerves control the muscles of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. They also provide feeling in the arm.

It starts with the five “roots” at the neck. The second level is called “trunks,” which continue toward the shoulder then divide into the third layer of two nerves called the anterior division and the posterior division. The nerves in the fourth layer are called “cords,” and the final layer is comprised of the “branches” that feed the shoulder and arm. See the image below for details.

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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Elbow Hand Nerves

Ask a Doctor: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

ask a doctor_cubital tunnel

Dr. Douglas E. Pittner answers your questions about Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.

My doctor said I have cubital tunnel syndrome.  What does that mean?
The cubital tunnel is the name for a space, like a tunnel, at the inside of the elbow.  It is where your ulnar nerve (the “funny bone” nerve) travels around the elbow and into your forearm.  Sometimes problems develop in this area.  It is possible for this tunnel to be too tight, causing pressure on the ulnar nerve.  The nerve can also be stretched as it travels around the elbow.  Cubital tunnel syndrome refers to the pain, numbness, or weakness that is caused by these problems around the elbow.

Why do my fingers to go numb?
The ulnar nerve travels from your elbow to your hand and provides sensation to your fingers as well as connections to important muscles in your hand.  The nerve acts like an electrical wire that sends signals to and from the hand.  When this nerve is stretched or compressed at the elbow, the electrical signals can be slow.  Your body interprets this as numbness or tingling, usually in the small and ring fingers.  You may experience pain in the elbow or forearm.  Weakness can also develop in the hand muscles which can cause decreased strength with gripping or pinching.

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Anatomy Hand Nerves

Anatomy 101: Nerves of the Upper Extremity

Nerves-Peripheral-Musculo cropped

Nerves are essential to everything that you do. The nervous system carries messages to and from the brain. Nerves control your movements and actions, the sensations you feel on your skin (including pleasure or pain), and even your heart rate and blood pressure. In the upper extremity, the nerves are:

  • Ulnar nerve: This nerve provides sensation to the hand, especially the small and ring fingers, and contributes to the muscles that bend the wrist. It travels around the inside of the elbow and across the wrist.
  • Radial nerve: This nerve contributes to muscles that bend the wrist, fingers and elbow. It also provides sensation on the back of the hand and thumb.
  • Median nerve: This nerve provides sensation to the hand. It travels down the middle of the forearm and crosses the wrist through the carpal tunnel.
  • Musculocutaneous nerve: This nerve contributes to muscles that bend the elbow and provides sensation to the forearm.
  • Axillary  nerve: This nerve provides signals to muscles that help raise the arm. It travels deep around the shoulder.

Nerves are fragile and can be damaged by pressure, stretching, or cutting. Learn more about the signs of a nerve injury and how it can be treated. Brush up on your anatomy knowledge at www.HandCare.org.

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