Arm & Leg Pain Management in Mesa, AZ
For many patients in Mesa and throughout the East Valley, chronic arm and leg pain presents a challenging set of symptoms to deal with. Because these pains are frequently associated with nerve irritation or compressed discs in the upper neck or lower back, they can sometimes be difficult for your primary care provider to effectively diagnose and treat.
In addition to the constant pain, your symptoms may keep you from spending time with friends and family, and participating in the activities you enjoy. In some cases, chronic arm and leg pain could keep you out of work, adding to the stress and difficulties brought on by your symptoms.
The pain management specialists at Mountain Vista Medical Center help patients like you work through their condition, providing advanced treatment options and personalized care every step of the way. Below, you can learn more about a few of the chronic arm and leg pains treated at Mountain Vista Medical Center. If you encounter a treatment option you aren’t familiar with, view our Pain Treatment page, where you can get detailed information about the therapy.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that can occur in the arm, leg, hand, or foot – typically following some form of trauma or injury to that limb (about 90 percent of all cases). This condition tends to be more prevalent in women; the average age for developing CRPS is 40.
Patients with CRPS typically experience pins-and-needle-like pain in the affected limb. The skin may become swollen, hot to the touch, shiny and thin in appearance, and blotchy and discolored (reds, blues, and purples being fairly common). This physiological response is the peripheral nerves’ overreaction to a trigger – the injury or trauma.
Complex regional pain syndrome may be treated with medication or interventional therapy, such as a spinal cord stimulator implant for the legs or stellate ganglion block (sympathetic nerve block) for the arms.
The peripheral nerves carry signals between the brain/spinal cord and the rest of the body. When these nerves are damaged, the condition is known as peripheral neuropathy. Pain in the peripheral nerves may be acute or chronic.
In most patients with peripheral neuropathy, pain and symptoms first appear at the furthest points from the spinal cord: in the fingers and toes. The pain and numbness may be symmetric, slowly progressing up the arms and legs over time.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can vary greatly, depending on which type of peripheral nerve is affected. Below is a brief synopsis of peripheral nerves and associated symptoms:
- Sensory nerves with myelin sheaths: Inability to sense vibration, light, touch, and position. Patient feels like they are wearing gloves or stockings.
- Sensory nerves without myelin sheaths: Inability to sense pain and temperature.
- Autonomic nerves: Inability to control certain critical functions, such as bladder/bowel movements and respiration. Patients may have difficulty with digestion, responding to temperature changes, blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and more, depending on which organs or glands are affected by autonomic nerve damage.
At the Pain Management Center at Mountain Vista Medical Center, patients with peripheral neuropathy may be able to have their damaged nerves regenerated ifthe nerve cell itself is still living. Furthermore, pain management specialists are trained in helping patients control symptoms and prevent additional damage. Symptoms may be managed with pain medications (oral and injected), orthotic devices, spinal cord stimulator implants, and surgery for compressed or entrapped nerves.
The sciatic nerve, which branches off the spinal cord, is responsible for transmitting signals and sensation between the brain and the lower limbs (buttocks, thighs, calves, ankles, feet). “Sciatica” is a term used to describe pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve.
In most patients, sciatica affects just one side of the body; pressure is usually put on the nerve by a herniated disc or bone spur. The sensation in the affected buttock and leg can range from a dull ache and/or numbness to pins-and-needle-like pain with burning sensation.
While mild sciatica may resolve on its own without intervention, sciatica with severe and/or worsening symptoms should receive medical treatment. Only a physician can evaluate your symptoms to determine what – if any – treatment is needed. Potential sciatica treatment options in the East Valley may include physical therapy, pain relief medications, sacroiliac (SI) joint steroid injections, epidural steroid injections, or facet joint injections. Your pain management specialist at Mountain Vista Medical Center can tell you more.
Lumbar Radiculopathy (Herniated or Slipped Disc)
Lumbar radiculopathy is a type of nerve dysfunction in the lower back that can cause pain in the leg. A herniated or slipped disc is often the cause of this nerve dysfunction. (Learn more about what happens in your back.)
The herniated disc may put pressure on a nerve, potentially causing radicular pain (e.g. sciatica, see above), numbness, or tingling in the leg or foot.
Herniated discs in the lower back may be treated with epidural steroid injections. More severe cases may require discectomy (surgical removal of the herniated disc). Other treatment options may be available through your pain management specialist.
Phantom Limb Pain
Phantom limb pain is a prevalent phenomenon that occurs in approximately 80 percent of all amputees. Patients who have lost a limb (through trauma or surgery) may report feeling pain and other sensations as if the limb is still there.
Common symptoms of phantom limb pain include prickly or tingling sensation, numbness, feelings of warmth or cold, feeling of moving toes or fingers, feeling that the limb is in an unusual position, and ‘telescoping’ – the sensation that the amputated limb is getting shorter. Common types of phantom limb pain may include burning, cramping, sharp/shooting sensations, or achiness.
Treatment options for phantom limb pain can vary greatly, as few treatment options have been found to consistently improve symptoms across the board. Your pain management specialist at Mountain Vista Medical Center will work with you to find treatment options that work for you. Treatment may include: medication, physical therapy, biofeedback, surgery to remove scar tissue (if pain is caused by nerve-entanglement), electrical nerve stimulation, and neurostimulation (e.g. spinal cord stimulation).
Neurogenic claudication is a syndrome that is caused by spinal stenosis in the lower back. As the spinal column degenerates and narrows (common in old age), pressure may be put on nerve roots in the lower back. This problem is exacerbated by a poor, stooped posture. Pressure on the nerve roots may cause nerve pain, which manifests itself as a symptom that may be confused with muscle cramps in the lower back or leg.
Neurogenic claudication is usually brought on by walking or arching the back (when the most pressure is put on the nerve roots). Many patients find that sitting or bending forward at the waist provides symptomatic relief.
Treatment options for neurogenic claudication range from conservative – back brace or epidural steroid injection – to surgical – minimally invasive lumbar decompression.
Begin Treatment for Your Arm or Leg Pain
This page covers only a few of the arm- and leg-related pains that may be treated at Mountain Vista Medical Center. For more information about your pain management options in the East Valley, contact us at 1-877-924-WELL.
Not sure if your pain is “chronic pain” or not? Take our two-minute self-assessment. Pain management is possible, but it’s up to you to take the initiative and make the call.