Weakness in Arms
Weakness, as mentioned earlier, is found in more profound cases of nerve compression. The patients may notice that their hands are getting more clumsy e.g. difficulty buttoning shirts and dropping things easily. Their gait may become more difficult, with problems in the balance and coordination. Sometimes, the bulk of the muscles will be affected, i.e. “muscle atrophy”. This is more easily seen in the small or intrinsic muscles of the hand.
In obvious weakness, one will have to suspect that the patient may have significant compression of the spinal cord, the “highway” of the nerves. This condition is termed as cervical myelopathy. Very often, myelopathy is slowly progressive, and remains underdiagnosed as many patients (especially the older ones) will regard their symptoms as part of growing old, and will ignore the warning symptoms till late in the course of the disease. One the earliest signs maybe difficulty writing and using chopsticks, tasks which require a fair amount of fine motor coordination.
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