Is Shoulder Pain Radiating Down the Arm to Fingers an Indication of Something Serious?

If your shoulder pain began as a simple annoyance but has since progressed to constant shoulder pain that radiates down your arm to your fingers, you may be wondering if this is something serious. In some cases, the pain can extend from your shoulder straight down into your fingers, which can interfere with your daily life.
Pinched or damaged nerves can be associated with shoulder pain as well as hand and finger numbness. While in most cases, these issues can be fixed with non-surgical or surgical options, it’s still best to consult an experienced spine doctor from NJ Spine & Orthopedic to get the treatment and support you deserve. Our Concierge Team can also help make your experience stress-free.

Why Is My Shoulder Pain Radiating Down My Arm?

A plexus is a branching nerve fiber network that sends signals to a certain part of the body. Your brachial plexus is a type of nerve connection to your shoulders, chest, forearms, upper arms, and hands. Your cervical plexus is a type of nerve connection to your shoulder, neck, and head.

Inflamed, pinched, or damaged nerves in these areas can lead to radiating or shooting pain that travels down your arm and into your fingers. Tingling, weakness, a burning sensation, or numbness might also be experienced. 

Types of Medical Conditions That Can Cause Shoulder Pain That Radiates to Your Arm and Fingers

Various conditions can lead to shoulder pain that radiates down your arms and into your fingers, including:

1. Cervical Radiculopathy

This condition generally develops from degenerative changes that you experience in your spine as you age or if you sustain an injury. Nerves control movement and feeling and a pinched nerve root often leads to weakness, numbness, or a pins-and-needles feeling in your arm or hand. You may experience pain in your shoulder and your hand and arm. The pain you experience may be a mild, constant ache or a recurring, intense shooting or burning pain. 

If the pain is intense and hasn’t gone away, it’s important to reach out to a skilled doctor before it becomes more serious. 

2. Brachial Plexus Neuritis

Inflammation of your brachial plexus causes this condition. It leads to intense pain in your shoulders and upper arms. Numbness, weakness, and tingling are frequently felt from the neck and shoulder directly into the arm and hand. 

The underlying cause behind this condition isn’t well established. It could be associated with an irregular immune response to other illnesses or diseases, but weakness and pain frequently occur without any reason. A doctor can help diagnose this condition and treat it before it affects your life more fully. 

3. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Your brachial plexus nerves must move through a narrow space between your ribs and collarbone, referred to as the thoracic outlet. Your blood vessels also move through this area. If this space starts to get too small, it can squeeze your blood vessels or brachial plexus. This squeezing can result in a number of symptoms known as thoracic outlet syndrome.

Certain movements can make your symptoms worse, especially raising your arms overhead. They may also become worse after activity, sleeping, or at the end of the day. You are more likely to experience pins-and-needles, tingling, or numbness in your ring and pinky fingers.

4. Brachial Neuritis

With brachial neuritis, you have inflammation of your brachial plexus. This is a fairly rare condition that can lead to tingling, pain, weakness, or numbness anywhere along your brachial plexus pathway, from your shoulder and neck straight down into your arm and hand. Around 20% of cases impact both sides of the body. 

Your symptoms may come on suddenly and then go away in a few days or months. Rarely does this condition become permanent, particularly if it’s treated. Brachial plexus inflammation may be linked with a chronic disease like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. 

Reach Out to NJ Spine & Orthopedic Today About Your Radiating Shoulder Pain

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain that radiates down your arm and into your fingers, it could indicate something serious, so you don’t want to hesitate to have it looked at by a professional pain specialist. Here at NJ Spine & Orthopedic, our pain specialists are ready to give you a proper diagnosis so you can begin treatment promptly. 

Call NJ Spine & Orthopedic at (866) 553-0612 or fill out our online form to speak with one of our pain specialists about your symptoms of radiating shoulder pain.

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