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Pressure in neck, pain in arm, numbness in arm and hand. How can I relieve this?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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I have the feeling of pressure in the back of my neck. The amount of pressure varies throughout the day. A couple of mornings upon wakening I have experienced severe pain down my right arm and numbness in my arm and hand. 1. How can I relieve the pressure in my neck? 2. Does this sound like a connection between the vertebrae and a nerve in my arm, 3. What type of doctor should I see to get advice about this?
Posted Tue, 25 Sep 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 55 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
Pressure in the neck with pain and tingling and numbness in the arm and hand is suggestive of a nerve root compression at the cervical vertebral level due to degenerative disc changes or cervical spondylosis. It happens primarily due to degenerative changes secondary to age in the cervical spine. Past neck injury may also contribute to the degeneration.

X-ray of neck in lateral view or MRI will help in the diagnosis.

Treatment includes
1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilisation and brings relief.
2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen/ibuprofen and muscle relaxants might be helpful.
3. Methylcobalamin supplements are also recommended for nerve compression symptoms.
4. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist.
5. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms.
6. You can avoid using a pillow.

As you try these measures, I also encourage you to consult an orthopedician for both evaluation and to avail stronger prescription medications (if over the counter medications are not helpful).
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pressure in neck, pain in arm, numbness in arm and hand. How can I relieve this? 9 hours later
I believe your answer is exactly correct. My primary care doctor said it was stress and then later told me to contact my neurologist. I contacted you because I didn't know who to turn to. Thank you very much.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 4 hours later
Thank you.
I am glad I could help.
If you have no more questions, please close the discussion and rate the answer.
I wish you the very best in whatever you do.
Warm regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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