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Arm nerve damage symptoms

The nerve involved in arm nerve damage is called the radial nerve. This nerve is positioned along the length of the arm. The cause of the damaged nerve can occur from a variety of reasons. Most commonly is overuse or pinched nerve. Unfortunately according to U.S. National Library of Medicine, it is becoming more common. Thankfully, modern medicine has discovered solutions to help relieve this pain. Which is a good thing since further complications can occur if left untreated.

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Besides providing movement and sensation throughout the arm, the radial nerve also supplies functions to the whole hand and wrist. Therefore many times people complain of numbness and pain in the hands or wrist. This is the beginning of further difficulties if it is not taken care of promptly.


One of the reasons the nerve may have been damaged is due to a trauma to the area where the nerve is. Another reason is pressure on the nerve for long periods of time. This pressure may also have been caused from swelling, or injury of a muscle or bone. The radial nerves passes along a narrow structure. Therefore, it is easily able to be blocked if enough pressure is placed on it.


If you have pain in the hands, wrist or arm it may be due to damage of this nerve. However, usually other symptoms such as, numbness accompanies it. You may feel tingling before the numbness occurs. In addition, you may have a problem extending your arm, elbow, or wrist. To confirm that your symptoms are due to nerve damage certain tests are provided. These tests include nerve conduction tests, EMG and nerve biopsy.


Having symptoms of arm nerve damage can be painful. There are ways to manage the pain. The use of over-the-counter medicine such as: analgesics are helpful. Other times prescription strength medications are required. Steroids, specifically prednisone, can be used when a reduction of the swelling is needed.

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Other treatment plans include physiotherapy to help keep the strength of the muscle. Splints or braces are used to help alleviate the pain and help increase the use of the hand and arm. Many times the person may need to reconsider changing jobs. Finding a job more conducive to the medical situation is not always possible but if done is extremely helpful.


Diagnosing and treating the arm nerve damage is important. Some complications may arise if the symptoms are left uncared for. Complications such as, the loss of feeling in the hand or arm is possible. The possibility of loosing the ability to move the hand is real. Even deformity of the hand is possible. Taking care of the situation before it gets worse is wise.

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About the Author

Michele Martinez

Based in central New York, Michele Martinez has been writing self-help articles since 2007. Her articles have appeared on eHow, Associated Content and Helium. She attended Mohawk Valley Community College and has over 20 years of experience in the areas of aviation, real estate, student loans and education.

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