pain in right scapula area and numbness in fingers


I have been kayaking for over 8 years. This year I have been paddling much more than anytime I have in the past. About a month ago I started feeling numbness in my right hand from the forefinger to the pinky finger. I would typically paddle 5 miles a night. At firet I ignored the numbness (it would go away momentarily when i opened my hand and put it in the water) but eventually that numbness combined itself with pain in my right scapula. I went to get a deep tissue massage from a reputable clinic. They focused on my right shoulder and pectoral muscle. This didn't alleviate the pain.

I took a couple of weeks off from paddling but it still hurts. The only other time my shoulder bothers me is when I'm mt. biking. Then the symptoms are the same so I know it's just not the repetitive motion of the paddling.

I don't believe that it's a torn rotator cuff because if it was my shoulder would hurt doing regular activities. What can i do to alleviate this problem? My guess is that it's a pinched nerve. I don't want to quit exercising my upper body altogether because I don't want to lose any more muscle gain.

No, you're quite right, this certainly isn't a rotator cuff problem.

What's interesting is that it covers two or more dermatomes. That suggests that it's not a pinched in the neck, but probably a problem in the Inter Scalene Triangle where the artery and nerve bundles to the arm pass.

Ask for Adson's test to be done, though it's a difficult and very sensitive test, unless one does it regularly.

The key sign is that raising your arms above your head is likely to increase the tingling, whereas a pinched nerve in the neck would usually lessen.

The fact that it affects your pinkie rules out Carpal tunnel syndrome.

I'm afraid only a thorough chiropractic examination is likely to plumb the mysteries of your pain. Look for an experience thorough local DC. Take this note with you.

I hope this has contributed.

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. Mrs T looked like the leaning tower of Pisa; she had a slipped disc at L5 making her lean towards the opposite side. It's called the postero lateral disc hernia; she's much better after two weeks of treatment and will go back to work next week, part time. Lateral discs are more difficult; both take a minimum of six weeks to heal. In my opinion, antalgic patients need what I call exercising bed rest. Sit and it won't get better.

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 groin pain, 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 lower back is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her hip, 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. Hypermobility is more difficult that too stiff in my opinion. Chiropractic 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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