Patient Information Resources

Alpine Physical Therapy
Three Locations
In North, South, and Downtown Missoula
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: 406-251-2323
Fax: 406-251-2999

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I have been experiencing pain in my left forearm for months, it goes away when I rest with my arms behind my head but is otherwise always present. Recently I was diagnosed with a disc bulge and bone spur in my neck that is said to cause this. Why do I have pain in my arm but not in my neck?

Cervical spine pathology can be due to degenerative changes, which may include bone spurs, disc herniation, and ligament changes, that lead to impingement of the nerves within the spine. The symptoms that result include referred pain, radiculopathy, and cervical myelopathy. Cervical radiculopathy is compression of a nerve root at the spinal level that results in pain, paresthesia, sensory changes, weakness or loss of reflexes along the upper extremity following the path of the affected nerve root. Radiculopathy can affect just one or both sides and can involve more than one level. A common description of cervical radiculopathy includes radiating severe arm pain that is relieved when placing the hand on top of the head. Clinically the individual will present with a positive clinical test called the Spurling test, decreased pain with cervical distraction, decreased range of motion to the same side as pain, and pain with an upper limb tension test.


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