Many of our clients see our therapists for pain that just can't be traced to the area where the pain is perceived. Classic examples of this are symptoms in the elbow, wrist, and hand that we find rooted from the neck and shoulder.
It's not at all uncommon for nerves, as they travel from their origin to the spine, to cause pain at the furthest extremities. In the shoulder, for instance, the bundle of nerves leaves the neck and travels through a pathway in the shoulder before innervating the rest of the arm.
At both of those locations do we often see a restriction of the nerves, whether it's from muscular tension, poor mobility between joints, or anatomical bone structure. That restriction can then result in pain, numbness, tingling, or other neurological symptoms.
However, nerve pain is interesting in that it follows trends, but not rules. Individuals often expect that they need all of the symptom criteria in order to identify the cause as a nerve. Radiating and electrical pain is a classic sign, as is the numbness or other sensory changes throughout the arm.
Neuropathies do not follow strict guidelines, though, and can easily present as localized sensations, resembling muscular soreness, tendinitis, or arthritic pain.
For this reason, we cannot simply point to the pain and assume that that's the spot that we need to rub and exercise. Our therapists will ensure to rule out the joints above and below the site of pain to narrow down, exactly, where those symptoms are originating from. (Fun fact, it could be MORE than one place. Fun.) With that being said, to the carpal tunnel or tennis elbow clients out there that seem to have found no relief, it may be time to seek an additional opinion to make certain that the right area is being addressed.