26 with Tingling, Numbness, with pain and cramps

by Amber

26 with Tingling, Numbness, with pain and cramps after treatment.

Ok, so there is a lot of explaining to do here and I'll try my best to describe what I'm experiencing. I'm a 26 year old female (weighing 118 lbs.) and I was having lower back pain, as well as pain in my right wrist that radiated up to my elbow, so I went to a chiropractor. I'd never been before but went to one that a good friend recommended.

He did an X-ray and an adjustment (I heard pops in about 4 different places on my spine) and told me that I had mild-moderate scoliosis and a misalignment factor of 70 mm (with the average person's MF being 20-25 mm.)

I saw the X-ray and there was indeed a curve in my chest area and a smaller one below, which he called a compensatory curve. He recommended a long term treatment plan with me coming 3 times per week for 4 weeks, tapering off to 2 times for 3 weeks, and so on.

I don't have insurance so I knew I couldn't pay for that many visits. I told him that I would think about it. The night after my adjustment, I had a horrible sore throat and chills. I have no idea whether this was related or not. The next day, the sore throat had backed off quite a bit and I actually felt relatively normal. A day after that I had strange sensations in my arms. It felt like rushes of cold air going through them. Then after those sensations went away, I was left with my arms/hands having a (slight) numb feeling. I could still feel touch and heat/cold, it was just strange. I also had normal arm/hand strength. When I went back to the chiro a few days later, I told him about the sensations and he said it made sense because of the subluxations in my cervical spine/upper back.

He adjusted me one more time and I left feeling like he had just brushed me off. I should also mention that my hands were falling asleep at night, however, I sleep with my head on my arm so I'm not sure if I just noticed it because I was hyper aware of my body at the time, plus it would go away after relieving the pressure.

Shortly after this, I noticed my feet felt sort of numb first thing in the morning. It would mostly go away after walking around though there was still some slight numbness (especially in my big toes.) I would also get pain in the sole and heel of both of my feet. Nothing unbearable, but it is uncomfortable. Almost cramp-like and especially in my left foot.

Within the last week, I've been having heat sensations in my right leg. This occurred after I had tenderness in my back right thigh area (sciatica?) They're fleeting, but it happens at least 10 times per day. Also, I've had an itchy, tingling feeling in my left shoulder blade, maybe 5 times per day.

Is it possible that all of these sensations are related to me getting adjusted? I know that bodies can go through a "healing crisis", especially if they've been out of whack for a long time.

I did seek the opinion of another chiropractor and she has adjusted me twice. The numb feeling in my left arm went away less than 24 hours after she adjusted me, focusing on that area. She said that my hips were slightly rotated (the first chiro had told me that as well) and my left leg was drawn up by a 1/4 of an inch.

She did not seem concerned about my presenting symptoms either. She said that the vertebra in my neck were "off some" and she did some adjusting to the neck region. Basically, I'm just completely freaked out thinking that I have some neurological disease. I haven't had any changes in my vision, balance or anything like that. I was concerned about MS but read that symptoms primarily present on one side of the body at a time (especially at first), depending on where the lesion is. My symptoms have been on both sides for roughly 3 weeks. If nothing changes in a week or so, I will consider forking out the money for an MRI, because my anxiety just can't take it anymore. Any input or advice would be much appreciated! Thank you in advance.

Hello Amber,
There are lots of issues that you raise here and I can only comment in very broad general terms.

1. Number of treatments. There's no unanimity in the chiropractic profession about how much treatment is too much treatment, probably because it varies so much with age, injuries, arthritis, etc. Having said that, it's strictly my opinion that 18 treatments in the first 7 weeks, is over treatment. Obviously the greed factor creeps into our profession too.

2. You had no leg pain as I understand it prior to the chiropractic treatment. That is a legitimate concern. Having said that, some after pain is not uncommon, but nevertheless I would certainly want to reevaluate my treatment if a patient developed radiating pain after the treatment.

The spine is unstable after treatment, and sometimes these developments occur because you weren't warned to be gentle with your self after treatment. To go home and vacuum the house for example would be asking for trouble.

3. You make no mention that leg length was considered. A scoliosis is often caused by an "anatomical" short leg. That's different to the shortened leg caused by the "hips being rotated" though I wouldn't have used that term. A simple inexpensive lift in the shoe can make a huge difference.

4. As far as I can tell there was no emphasis on daily exercises; vital for anyone with a scoliosis in my book.

5. Sleeping on your tum with your head turned to the side, on your arm, is a recipe for a very sore neck and radiating pains down the arm.

I could go on. It's my job here to be the devil's advocate. Both chiros you saw would probably be incensed. But I do feel you have problems that fit very much into the conditions I treat on a daily basis. You need to find someone with whom you "click", and that's hard. Take your time now before going to a third chiropractor.

Collect your x-rays if you're not going back to the first. Don't submit to any more at present, more ionising radiation wouldn't be good in the immediate future. I doubt an MRI is necessary. You don't have MS.

I hope this contributes; probably raises more questions that answers your doubts, I suspect.

Dr B

» 26 with Tingling, Numbness, with pain and cramps

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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