My Arm Hurts. Can This Be Caused By a Back Problem?

Arm Pain vs. Back Problems

The human body can send mixed signals when it comes to the source of pain. Where something hurts doesn’t always correspond with the actual origin of your injury or pain condition.

One common example of this scenario is with the case of arm pain. Numbness, tingling or discomfort in the arm doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an injury or condition in the arm itself. Pain such as this can be frequently attributed to deterioration, inflammation or trauma in the spine.

Because the spine transmits electrical impulses (or signals) between the brain and the nerves in your extremities, it is not uncommon for a problem in the back to be experienced as pain in, or radiating to, the arms, legs or buttocks.

Here are a few examples of arm pain that originates as a problem with the upper or lower back: 

  • Numbness or TinglingThese symptoms (also known as anesthesias or paresthesia, respectively,) may signify pressure or damage to the nerves in the spinal cord or neck region. Sometimes the source of injury or pressure does not originate in the spine or neck, but rather, in nerves that have already left the spine; this is known as peripheral neuropathy.The pain from these conditions is sometimes felt in the arm by way of the nerves that traverse throughout the body.
  • Weakness or Muscle DeclineThese symptoms can be experienced in the arms or legs but may not be as readily noticeable as with numbness or tingling. Pressure on the nerves may be a potential culprit in this situation.
  • Burning or Radiating PainWhen strain or injury occurs in the spine, the resulting pain symptoms may radiate to the arms and/or legs. A few such examples of injuries that would cause this type of discomfort are:

    a.) Lumbar and cervical spine strain – this can cause inflammation in the soft tissues, which may cause pain in other parts of the body.

    b.) Herniated disc – when the cushioning between your vertebrae become ruptured, this can cause any combination of burning, tingling, numbness or weakness in the arms.

    c.) Traumatic injury – When damage to the spine is caused by a car accident, fall or other abrupt force, the pain will likely be felt in the region of the injury, but may also radiate into the arms, legs or other areas of the body.

    d.) Disc inflammation – This condition often results from cervical degeneration, usually stemming from an old injury. This condition may also cause radiating pain or numbness in the arm(s).

    e.) Pinched nerve (radiculopathy) – When nerves in the spine become pinched as a result of injury or normal wear and tear, they may cause the nerve root to become inflamed. Such a condition may be experienced as numbness, weakness and/or pain that radiates to other parts of the body.

Pain in the arms or other extremities may not always mean an issue with the spine, but if you experience this type of pain with no apparent cause for your discomfort, it is recommended that you consult with a pain doctor to accurately determine your pain source.

Do You Have Arm Pain That May Be Cause by Back Problems?

At Florida Pain Relief Centers, our highly skilled, board-certified physicians use the latest in state-of-the-art technologies to more effectively determine the true origin of your pain.

Our pain management specialists utilize a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment of your chronic pain, assessing your individual needs to provide the best solution for relieving your pain and restoring your quality of life.

If you are tired of living with chronic pain and want more information on options for minimizing or eliminating your suffering, contact Florida Pain Relief Centers today at 800.215.0029 or visit to set up a consultation at one of our clinics.

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