C6 and c7 nerve path not adding up is a not uncommon conundrum.
So I had a minor ache in my back after working out in the gym and figured I just pulled a muscle. It has happened in the past and would usually just rest a few days and then go back to normal gym schedule.
This time however I went back to the gym, and after doing a chest/ tricep workout along with throwing a football far distances, I woke up with incredible pain in my upper back/ shoulder region. I figured I had either torn or strained a muscle in my back/shoulder area.
Then my index finger and thumb started to become numb and have been for a month now. I feel the pain radiating from my neck back area all the way down my tricep to my thumb and index finger.
I got an MRI and it said mild disc protrusion on c6 and moderate disc protrusion on c7 with possible c7 nerve root impingement. Have done some research these results don't add up for me. If I had the c7 nerve root impingement is should have a numb middle finger but that is not the case. And I do have numb index finger but can feel the pain radiating down through my tricep rather than my bicep. At physical therapy the PT says it is possible it is my radial nerve is the issue. Can a disc protrusion effect the radial nerve? Or can a strained or torn muscle cause radial nerve compression?
Hello Daniel, Your concerns are genuine, and frankly confusing to clinicians too.
The radial nerve is unlikely to be affected since it is almost invariably due to severe trauma to the arm; dislocation of the shoulder, fracture, or being stabbed. Plus, it supplies the back of the arm, lower arm and hand. Is it the palmar surface of your first two fingers that are affected?
A disc lesion can certainly affect one of the nerve roots affecting the radial nerve, but again, back of the hand.
I don't believe a muscle injury can affect the radial nerve. Ask the neurologist for confirmation of that.
Also, the thumb and index finger is highly specific: C6 dermatome which would be affected by the C5-C6 disc.
It's the "mild" protrusion on C6 that is almost certainly affecting you, and not the "moderate" protrusion on C7.
To muddy the waters further, severe deep upper back pain is usually denervation of the rhomboid or levator scapular muscles, and they are C5.
One has to lay out the whole problem, which reflex is missing, which muscle has gone weak (most commonly the triceps incidentally which is why you probably have the pain at the back of the upper arm) But that is the C5 area probably, which perhaps correlates with the upper back pain. It's even possible that the C4-C5 level is the spoke on the wheel, despite not being obvious on the MRI. Which reflex has been affected? Biceps, triceps or brachioradialis? Ask.
And then palpation of the neck itself gives important clues as to which level has been affected.
For what it's worth, I often find that it's pull downs that provoke this injury.
Three key questions: 1. Does turning your head to the side of the painful arm, and then looking up cause pain in the neck and radiation to the arm?
2. Is the Upper limb tension test positive? Type it into the search function at chiropractic help, and have a friend do the test.
3. Is the numb tingly pain in your arm relieved or worsened by raising your arm above your head?
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.
Greetings, Dr B. You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.
Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.
You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.
The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.
MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. Signed up yet? It's free. BACK ISSUES
"Wow, fantastic newsletter." Dr Leah Remeika-Dugan DC
Issue #50: Make time for breakfast / Scrambled eggs and parsley
Issue #49: Consulting a locum / Green salad /Eggs Florentine
Issue #48: Hips and the sacroiliac joints/ Bacon and eggs
Issue #47: Life without medication/ Eight coloured foods
Issue #46: Lower backs and ankles/ kaempferol and cancer prevention
Issue #45: Tingling, weakness and malaise/ vitamin B1
Issue #44: Applying general chiropractic principles to the hand / Omega-3
Issue #43: Art and science of chiropractic / Kale
Issue #42: Tum sleeping / Flaxseed
Issue #41: Adult potty training / Beetroot constipation
Issue #40: Ominous lumbar signs / Too much medication?
Issue #39: Swapping chiropractors / Butter is back
Issue #38: Making a correct diagnosis / Make your own pesto in five minutes.
Issue #37: Have your wisdom teeth out in the chair
Issue #06: Safety on the Stairs / Ginger
Issue #05: Safety in the home / Red foods
Issue #04: Whiplash and the Joints of Luschka / Parsley
Issue #03: How to stop falling / Danger of a low fat diet
Issue #01: Tingling in the arms and hands / Apples
(PS. If you find them irrelevant to your needs or an exercise in tedium, one click will UNsubscribe you.)
This site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or manage any illness. Please consult your chiropractor.
The information is to the best of my ability at the time of writing accurate and correct. Queries, comments and corrections are very welcome.