Home > Physiotherapy / Hand Therapy > Blog > Vague arm pain? Suffering From Pins and Needles or Heaviness?
Vague arm pain?
Suffering From Pins and Needles or Heaviness?
There are many causes of pain of the whole arm in adults.
And this type of vague nerve-type pain can be
- anxiety provoking
- worrisome and
- significantly affect function of the arm
most conditions a very specific part of the arm is affected – usually
depending on where the problem is and what specific structure is
With some conditions however, the pain and symptoms are more
general and influence the whole arm, which cause vague arm pain.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome condition can involve
- the nerves of the Brachial Plexus or
blood vessel of the arm
Typically, symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome include a
- general ache in the whole arm
- heaviness or a feeling that the muscles
of the arm become easily and quickly fatigued.
The symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome are usually
made worse by having the hands above the head or in elevated positions
for a prolonged period of time. These symptoms might start consistently after a certain
amount of this activity but then ease quite quickly once the arms are
Normally when the patient rest, the symptoms subside.
Because either the nerves or the blood vessels can be affected in
thoracic outlet syndrome, there are some differences in the symptoms
that might occur:
1) Neurogenic (nerve) thoracic outlet symptoms
For this version of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, the symptoms may include pins and needles or numbness in the arm with
movement, load and activity. It can also lead to pain in the arm (sometimes it's a burning sensation) and other times this pain can follow a pattern in the arm that
follows specific nerves if they are affected.
If the conditions have
been going on for a while, and the nerves have been significantly
influenced, the muscles that those nerves supply will also be affected eg weakness and decreased mobility.
Often it is the lower nerves from the neck that are
affected and these usually present as symptoms in the little finger and ring finger
and under side of the forearm but this is not always the
2) Vasculogenic (blood vessel) thoracic outlet symptoms
If the blood vessels have been affected then the pain is often
- heavy and
- the arm gets tired or fatigued very
If the blood vessels are affected it can mean that the blood
supply for the rest of the arm is not 100% and so changes can occur in
the quality of the healing rate, circulation, color, strength etc of the affected arm. There may be sensory loss or numbness as well.
A large proportion of the assessment for these conditions is based on
a clear and accurate discussion of the clinical symptoms between the senior physiotherapist, senior hand therapist, the doctor and the
patient. Identifying this clear ‘on/off type’ pain with above head
activities and the description of the pain would give a good idea of the
In addition to this there are some clinical tests used to
add strength to a diagnosis. Some of these include the
- Adsons Test
- Allens Test and
- Roo’s Test procedures
These tests all look to add extra
stress to the vascular tissues that are in question so that symptoms
may start or blood flow (assessed by checking the pulse at the wrist)
can be monitored.
Other tests used to determine if nerves are being
effected include neurodynamic tests which stress the nerves and look for
reproduction of symptoms.
Once a clear diagnosis has been reached, then treatment can be aimed
at the structures that may be causing irritation of the blood vessels or
nerves. Clear diagnosis is the primary aim as it leads to clear
explanation to the patient and understanding of their condition and what
might aggravate it.
vague arm pain physiotherapy treatment
Physiotherapy treatment aimed towards reducing stress on the
irritated structures can then be given. For example, this might include
- Stretching or
reducing tension in muscles that might be compressing tissues or
- changing the way these are performed can also enable better movement and
overall glide of tissues
- Strengthening and stretching exercises can help strengthen and lengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder so
that they are better able to support the collarbone.
- Postural exercises
can help you stand and sit straighter, which lessens the pressure on the
nerves and blood vessels by increasing/improving the space around the shoulder and rib cage
Back to Top
Phoenix Rehab physio Services
Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist
physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly
trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of
expert care to our patients.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
HAND THERAPY & SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, and requires Hand Therapy to increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations as well as custom made hand splints.
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.
It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which
meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries
You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood
flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to
- accelerate recovery and
- shorten downtime / recovery period required
It also prevents
muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle
Done regularly, it will keeps your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence. Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.
All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).
See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.
At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.
Follow up sessions are inline to provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
do Tell Your Family, Friends And Colleagues About Us =)
We appreciate you as our valued clients and want you to know that the #1 way we grow as a clinic/brand is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.
We do not rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.