Both arms becoming numb.

by Angie

Cervical rib

Cervical rib

Cervical rib
The Inter Scalene Triangle in the neck

Please help. I had a 19 month old son and it seems that ever since he turned a year (He is getting heavy to carry) I have been getting intermitten numbing in my left arm down my ulner nerve into my pinky and ring finger. So, this has been starting for 6 months or so. Recently, about a month and a half ago, the numbing has starting going into my right arm, but not as progressed as in the left arm. I have had like a kink or tight feeling behind my left shoulder, closer to my spind where that bone ends. Almost like it wants to be cracked. I feel like this is where the problem started? I think this may be due to carrying this 29 lb. child around with my left arm because I never had issues with this beforehand. During the day when I am at my computer desk typing the numbing or tingling will start to hurt or bother me, but for the most part during the day the feelings are reduced. At night when I am sleeping is when it bothers me the most. Whenever my arms are slightly elevated. I used to be an arm sleeper on both arms, but since this has started, I try to sleep only on my back otherwise I don't know what to do with my arms so they don't tingle and go numb. It keeps me awake and I am going crazy with those feelings in my arms.

I started to see a chiropractor who has been cracking my back and neck and putting me in a machine that stretches my neck out to relieve pressure in those upper vertebrae. I feel like it helps for a couple of days or maybe one and then I am back at square one. I have been really conscious at night about how I sleep and watching my form so I don't shrug my shoulders when holding my son or I try to use two arms to hold him instead of one; or let him walk when at all possible.

I am wondering what could be causing this and if I am getting the right treatment, as it is costly to go to the chiropractor with high copays. Any suggestions on what I could do or what this is would be greatly appreciated and hopefully this will help someone else out.

Hello Angie,
It certainly sounds like a chiropractic problem, so I think you are doing the right thing. But like always, if you aren't getting significant relief it may be time for a change. Another chiropractor? Your doctor?

Sleeping on your tum with head turned to the side is a real no/no. But on your side with arms in front, under you is usually the best. This condition is usually worse at night so nothing unusual there.

Carry your son as little as possible. His little legs need the exercise! When wailing, let him sit on your lap.

Have you had X-rays? A cervical rib?

I'd be thinking of a Thoracic Outlet Syndrome too, usually caused by a first rib / scalene muscle problem. Ask your chiro if he's done Adson's test.

Any neck pain? Breastbone pain?

Don't carry any heavy parcels in your left arm.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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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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