Arm and hand pain causes: Neurovascular entrapment

Arm pain, Buttock pain, Chronic pain, Hand pain, Understanding pain / Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

This is a series on arm and hand pain causes. If you missed the beginning, go back to the Checklist.

Neurovascular entrapment is what happens when nerves and blood vessels become trapped by tight muscles and the taut bands of Trigger Points. Entrapment is not the same as compression. Nerve compression occurs between bones or other hard tissues. Vascular entrapment happens in soft tissue when pressure from contracted muscles squeezes the blood vessels, preventing a normal flow of nutrients and oxygen from reaching the tissues further along, causing pain and ill health. The same thing happens with nerve entrapment. Signals from the brain and spinal cord don’t reach the muscles as quickly, causing numbness (dysesthesia), abnormal sensations (paresthesias) and loss of function.

A Trigger Point in the muscles can form a hyperactive nodule that pulls on the muscle fibers attaching to it, forming a taut band which can act like a cord, cutting off the supply of blood and nerve signals. Like a cord around your neck, it can be very effective.

Going the other way back to the center, it causes problems too. If blood, traveling to the heart through the veins, is blocked and prevented from passing efficiently, waste products build up behind the blockage, becoming acidic and toxic to the tissues. Nerve signals traveling back to the spinal cord and brain are prevented from reaching the command centers quickly, bringing information about sensations (like tension and pain) that need to be delivered as a warning of danger to the tissues.

The results can be serious. Tension and Trigger Points need to be relieved to restore normal functions and health to all of the tissues that depend on blood and nerve signals for life.