Initially there was tingling/numbness in index finger & thumb

by Linda

Initially there was tingling/numbness in index finger & thumb, then becoming painful.

I'm going to try & keep it brief & to the point. It started approximately 7yrs ago. My index fingers & thumbs would become numb when in certain positions, i.e. resting my head on them, resting on handlebars of my bike, holding a phone. My left forearm, also seems to get stuck in certain positions.
I admit I ignored it at first. Seeking medical help, I had MRI & EMG tests.

The MRI showed pinched nerve @ C5 or 6.(my bad memory). It also showed arthritis in my neck. I'm 53, I get it. The EMG proved Carpal Tunnel. Not major enough for concern.

The findings after tests & symptom descriptions also included some arthritis in my hands, particularly my left thumb.

Anyway, I have increased weakness in my arms from the shoulders down. A few years ago, I could do 50 push ups, now I can't stand to have my hands in that position, let alone be strong enough to push thru 10. I have had increased pain in my hands, it is chronic. The majority of my pain is in my middle fingers of both hands & that makes the whole of my hand hurt. There is weakness as well & simple chores exasperate the pain level.

I was given Neurontin & its relieved the tingling. I don't feel like the tingling was from Carpal Tunnel.

I have seen Doctor, orthopedic doctor, neurologist, chiropractor, 2 hand specialist & had two sessions of physical therapy.

Nothing has helped or relieved the pain.I keep asking my primary..HELP??? His last thought was perhaps a pain clinic.

My medical history is 53 female. High BP but controlled w Availide.

I am a bilateral BK since 19 due to Menigicoccal Meningitis. My arms were affected & almost amputated, but thankfully didn't happen. I wonder if the pain is due to a residual effect of that. My doctor thinks not, since the rest of me seems fine.

So, that's it in a nutshell. What are your thoughts?? I'm so tired of the pain & with it the increasing loss of hand function. Who knows where this will go if I leave it untreated.

I appreciate your time & look forward to your reply.

Hello Linda,
Thank you for a very full description. It helps.

Firstly, you can discount the carpal tunnel story. The thumb and index fingers are very specific for the C6 dermatome, and CTS would have included the middle and half the ring finger.

That fits with the x-ray findings that you have degenerative changes at either C5 or C6; the lower cervical spine. It's probably affected the joint of Luschka; an old whiplash injury.

The mostly affected muscle in this syndrome is the triceps, hence your inability to do press ups. Do you know if anyone found a diminished triceps reflex?

Because of the weakness in the muscle(s) it's likely that you would be prone to rotator cuff injuries in the shoulder, and others like tennis elbow.

There's also a suggestion that you have unrelated arthritis in the fingers, but adding to the complication and pain.

Did you go for a course of chiropractic treatment, without relief, or just one or two visits? This is a complex and painful condition; it's incurable but like many medical conditions, but can be greatly relieved. Would you be satisfied with 80% relief, say, and a monthly visit to the chiropractor? It's unlikely we can offer better.

Interesting research at Harvard university showed that a chicken bones bouillon was more effective than medication in stubborn cases of inflammatory arthritis; try it. Massage your fingers daily, exercise them, and work hard to reducing the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 in your diet.

In short, fatty fish, freshly ground flaxseed, real free range eggs if you can find them and walnuts.

Try a different chiropractor; do your homework first. Find someone thorough and conscientious. If he or she doesn't use a reflex hammer, or look for that weak triceps, want to see your x-rays, then go elsewhere.

A home traction unit, one used lying down, sometimes can bring great relief. A monthly sports massage of your neck, arm and hand would be helpful too.

Miracles we do at once, but the impossible takes a rather longer; don't expect instant relief because you probably won't get it.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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Mar 24, 2016
thanks for the feedback
by: Linda

Thank you so much for taking the time to give me such a detailed & informative response.
I am definitely going to use your wealth of knowledge, experience & advice.

Enjoy your day,

Pleasure, Linda, such is my site. As a thank you one could purchase one of my Bernard Preston books on chiropractic!

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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