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. Mrs D, a 78 year old woman has very severe sacroiliac joint pain, and even more severe cramps in her right leg. There are two problems; she is on two diuretics but no slow K. Taking her temporarily off one diuretic and adjusting the SIJ brought 50 percent relief within four days. 

2. Mr S, a 48 year old man, has right low back pain, groin pain and a numb feeling in his lower leg when he sports. For six months he's been off football. He too has two problems; a very treatable lumbar facet syndrome and a very serious blocked artery in the groin; it's called intermittent claudication. Smokers beware.  

3. Mr S looks like the leaning tower of Pisa; he has a slipped disc at L5 making him lean towards the opposite side. It's called the postero lateral disc hernia; we'll fix it, but he has to stop for a week or two. Antalgias are serious so take them seriously. 

4. Mrs V too has  two conditions; a chronic low grade sciatica giving her an ache in the right leg, and a threatening Morton's neuroma. She's glad I'm back in Holland; chiropractic fixed it before, and we'll fix it again. 

5. Mrs W is one of the lucky ones, says her doctor. I agree. He says only 40% of patients with lumbar stenosis have a successful operation. We fixed a nasty slipped disc three years ago, but it came back two years later; the surgeon did a fine job but she has a weak ankle now giving her subtalar joint pain; it's routine stuff. 

6. I myself had an acute exacerbation of a femoral nerve lesion last year. One immediate treatment of the new strain by my colleague has fixed the pain in the lower back, but there's some residual numbness in the lower leg; no soaring tomorrow alas.

7. This lady is a 86 year old woman with a 63 scoliosis. Chronic lower back has been her lot in life but she's well pleased with chiropractic and comes for chiropractic help once a month; some conditions you can never cure.

8. She is an 78 year old woman, is doing remarkably well with a bad sciatica. But over 200 pounds she is not losing weight; in fact, gaining despite my suggestions. She's high risk for a stroke. I have referred her to a dietician to crack the whip.

9. A 61 year old man with upper cervical pain yesterday; it's not severe but also not getting better of its own accord. He's afraid it may turn very acute as when I treated him three years ago. Since then it's been fine. 

10. A 64 year old woman has had scheuermanns disease; it's left her with a spinal kyphosis and chronic middorsal pain. She responds well to chiropractic treatment provides she come every six weeks or so for maintenance treatment.

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. Mrs D, a middle aged woman with hip pain of one year duration, despite other treatment. Xrays reveal an impingement syndrome and early hip arthritis. There's much to be done.

13. Mrs B has had one of the nastiest of conditions; vertigo caused by a disturbance in the inner ear. Falling repeatedly and vomiting she consulted her doctor but medication didn't help. After two sessions of the Epley manoeuvres she was 50 percent better. After two weeks 75 percent improved. No longer vomiting all falling. She's not enjoying the Brandt Daroff home exercises.

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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