There are many anatomical differences between humans and other animals, and one of the most striking is the human arm. Most mammals have four legs, some swim in the ocean and have no legs, the apes and monkeys can use their front limbs as feet or arms; but only the human has the human arm.
What do humans lose by having two arms instead of four legs? Speed and stability. Most four-legged creatures can run rapidly because they have four muscle-bound well-balanced limbs pushing off from the ground, whereas we have to move our entire body weight with only two limbs. Humans are also more prone to falling over. If a dog, for example, injures one paw, it can still stand up straight on the other three.
But speed and stability are not as important for humans because of our intelligence. Most other animals are constantly concerned about running away from predators or hunting their prey. We humans have the intelligence to construct weapons to defend ourselves, farms to grow our own plants, ranches to raise our own meat, sturdy homes for our protection. Since speed and stability are not necessary for our survival, we have no need for four legs.
What do humans gain by having two arms? The ability to do work. Our flexible shoulders allow us to reach up into trees for food or in front of us to grasp tools. Our elbows allow our hands to reach our mouths, bringing food into easy reach without straining our necks. Our wrists give strength to our hands and increase leverage when lifting objects. Our finely-tuned fingers and thumbs allow us to perform delicate work that no other animal on earth could do. And when we do fall, our arms help to break the fall, keeping the force of the fall away from our more sensitive organs, like our brains, lungs, and heart.
There is no human activity that does not make full use of the human shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, and hand. That is why pain in the arms can be so devastating for work, play, and hobbies.
Arm pain can be caused by problems in any of the structures of the arms, nerve pain caused by neck or shoulder problems, cardiovascular problems, or many other conditions. Please see our pages on shoulder pain, elbow pain, wrist pain, and hand pain for more details on conditions that affect the arm and causes of pain.
How We Can Help Your Arm Pain
Surprisingly, neck pain is one of the most common reasons for arm tingling and numbness and other arm pains. When the bones of the neck are not moving properly or when the muscles of the neck are too tight, the nerves which exit the spinal cord at the neck can be affected. Many of the nerves of the neck pass through the shoulder and provide communication to the structures of the arm. Tightness in the neck can also affect the blood vessels which supply the arm and hand. Chiropractors always search diligently for any problems in the neck when shoulder or arm problems arise, because chiropractors are always on the lookout for the true cause of the pain.
If your pain is the result of a problem in the arm itself, you might be surprised to learn that chiropractic can help as well! After all, chiropractic is not just for back pain. Chiropractors can help upper and lower extremity conditions, because the chiropractic adjustment can be applied at any joint where the nervous system is affected.
Dr. Johnson of Johnson Family Chiropractic specializes in the Activator Methods technique, which provides an accurate analysis method for assessing the health of the spine and the arms. Whether your pain is the result of problems at the shoulder joint, the acromioclavicular joint, the shoulder blade, the upper arm, the elbow, the forearm, the wrist, carpal tunnel syndrome, the hand, the thumb... consider chiropractic!
Dr. Johnson also offers many other therapies which have helped many people suffering from arm pain. Cold laser therapy can be dramatically effective in some conditions like tennis elbow. Ultrasound therapy helps reduce swelling and promote healing in some forms of arm pain.
Ask Dr. Johnson if chiropractic will be able to help your arm pain today.