Pain in Right Shoulder, armpit, arm, & neck

by Reita
(Williamsburg, KY, USA)

Pain in Right Shoulder, armpit, arm, & neck x 3 mos?

Hi! and thank you so much! I hurt my right shoulder (I thought) lifting box above my head 3 mos. ago. It progressed from shoulder & upper arm, neck, and radiated to armpit & wrist with in the week.

I still have pain although not as severe along with aching, numbness, and severe weakness (almost no use) of my right (dominant) arm. I had MRI that showed herniated disk at C5-C6 with Left lateral forminal stenosis and broad based buldging disks at C4-C5 and C6-C7 with mild spinal stenosis.

My neuro doesn't think it looks that bad and doesn't think it's causing my right arm weekness...due to the stated left side?

Would this cause my issues? I am seriously hurting here, and off work, and need to get back to business. Test of EMG are pending...thanks for any insight you can give me. My nerves are shot!!

Hello Reita,
I need more information.

See below

Oh, one more question. Anyone mention a "cervical rib" seen on your X-rays?

Dr B


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Nov 07, 2013
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
by: Reita

1. Turn your head slowly to the right, and then look up. Repeat to the left. What happens?
ANS: Turning right- I get pain that goes to my right shoulder & down into my bicep area ( I cannot tell if it shoots from my neck.) Turning left- I feel numbness, but not the same kind of pain, from my left shoulder down to my wrist.

[You have a positive Spurling sign, for a pinched nerve.]

2. Prick your arms following the patterns found at tingling in arms and hands and determine just where it feels either numb, or hyper sensitive.
ANS: I think it feels more hypersensitive in forearm, lower arm, wrist. But my Tricep, Deltoid, & top of shoulder (Trapezius?) feel numb. [The lesion appears to be affecting more than one nerve root. As confirmed lower down that the whole ulnar nerve is affected. Hence less likely to be a slipped disc at one level.]

3. Just which muscles are weak? In the hand? The triceps? Try and be specific.
ANS: Tricep & hand are majorly weak in right. I have no control over tricep at all, and cannot lift anything over a spoon with that hand. I have weekness in forearm as well but it is not as bad and throbs with pain when using it. [Mm, do you know which is the triceps? It EXTENDS, straightens the elbow. Again, signs that more than one nerve root is affected.]

4. Raise your arms in the air. What do you feel?
ANS: I do not feel pain, but my right arm goes cold very quickly. However I do have to use my left arm to raise my right arm because I cannot raise it at all with out assisting it. [Again, a negative Shoulder Abduction Relief sign for a slipped disc. However, that going cold points to a nerve AND artery being affected. Called a Thoracic Outlet syndrome.]

5. Do this test: Upper Limb Tension Test What happens?
ANS: I have severe pain in both arms doing this, greater tingling & tightness as well. [A little confusing. With a pinched nerve would have expected the right to be much more painful / tighter than the left]

6. Do you remember if anyone tested the pulse in your arm whilst you looked up and took in a deep breath? Adson's Test.
ANS: Yes they have but did not comment. I just tried it but I still have a pulse when it is raised. [This is very difficult, and subjective test, but is critical: the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome would affect the artery and nerves. A difficult test, you wouldn't be able to do it yourself, takes a long time and a lot of experience to master it.]

[We are not much further forward Reita, except to say there certainly is a problem, and from a distance I would suggest it may be a serious problem.

To cause that weakness in the arm there has to be severe nerve pressure.

An opinion from a vascular surgeon may in order to test if the subclavian artery is being affected. A smoker? Very occasionally a condition in the upper lobe of the lung may affect artery and nerves.



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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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