My arm hurts, but my doctor says the problem is in my neck. How can that be?

This type of pain is called referred pain. When the source of your pain is deep in your body, the nervous system has a hard time pinpointing the exact spot that hurts. The pain is often felt farther away from the source. The worse the original pain, the further away it can be felt. Referred pain is usually deep, burning, or aching.

There are many types of referred pain. Pain from a heart attack is often referred to the jaw or left arm. Low back problems can cause pain down the legs. Whatever the case, you need to treat the source of the pain to get rid of the problem. You wouldn’t treat a heart attack by taking drugs to make your jaw or arm feel better. You need to treat your neck problem to regain a pain-free arm.