tingling aching arm

by Wanda
(Bernice, LA, USA)

Tingling aching arm

This is my third week of the pain. First it was around my shoulder blade and if you rubbed around it, I would holler out in pain. The doctor gave me the pregnazone pac (5,4,3,2,1)and my shoulder did get some better.

All along my arm has been aching but over the last week, the pain of the aching is pretty bad. (if I were a child, I would be crying) The tingling will start and get so bad that it feels like my arm will explode and then it will ache.

Can only sleep on my back at night and move my arm a hundred times till my sleeping pill kicks in so I can sleep. Moving it trying to find a comfortable position.

The first week the pain around my shoulder blade was like and icepick sticking in my back and it was throbbing and aching. The back part is better and I can move my head to the right again. The pain definitely gets worse when I lay down.

As I am writing this my arm just had the tingling to almost exploding and now to a raging toothache hurt. Went to doctor the first week and have now seen a chiropractor for a week. The arm hurting is getting worse but the back shoulder blade pain is better. This pain is pretty bad. The aching is on the top right part of my forearm. Sometimes, it is under my arm right above the elbow. Sometimes, the whole arm is hurting.

Last night in bed, there was a throbbing on my forearm closer to the elbow on the inside part of my arm. I haven't had an x-ray yet because you can't x-ray nerves so I was told that wouldn't help.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hello Wanda,
You are experiencing one of the most painful conditions we face at the Chiropractic Coalface. So, don't feel you're being a baby, it hurts and usually hurts a lot. The night pain is a common feature, sometimes your hand under your head might help.

The rhomboid muscle in the shoulder blade region is supplied by a nerve from the lower neck so deep upper back pain is a common feature.

What's interesting though is that the pain is crossing several nerve roots. Which makes me wonder about a thoracic outlet syndrome in which a whole bundle of nerves, and the artery to the arm are pinched. The key sign: in a regular pinched nerve root raising the arm above the head will usually relieve the pain. The so-called Shoulder Abduction Relief sign. However in a TOS raising the arm as in hanging the washing will usually increase the symptoms as both the artery and the nerves are affected.

A cervical rib is another consideration, only detected on X-ray.

I'm afraid I disagree with the advice concerning X-rays. It's true you can't see the nerve root, but what you can see is if there is nerve root encroachment into the foramen by degenerative change of the Uncovertebral Joint Luschka, use this search funtion to find more info: Search this site … Also you can see old disc injury, whether there is a cervical rib... and much other stuff. But an MRI would be better still. But expensive.

Sometimes swinging your arm as in a windmill helps. Absolutely avoid carrying heavy objects in that arm. The definitive test is called the Upper Limb Tension Test which you can test at home. Use that Search function to find it.

Sorry, but you have a very painful, difficult condition. Both chiropractors and medical doctors find it difficult. The right diagnosis is at the heart of success and that means a proper, thorough examination of all these issues. Is your arm going lame, weak? The triceps is the most commonly affected. Try doing press ups. Does the arm tire much more quickly?

Get back to me with answers.

Dr B

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Jul 31, 2013
reply to tingling aching arm
by: Wanad

My arm feels weaker but I think it is because of the aching. I did press ups and it started tingling under my upper arm and then instantly the hand started the tingle...not just a light tingle, it is like the pressure gets great inside and feels like it might explode???crazy I know.

When I rest my arm on my desk to type, it really starts to tingle like that again and aching. I got in the pool the weekend and the water was cool and I had to get out because of the pain and got in a hot tub and the pain slacked off.
When I move my head to the right, it feels like a toothpick sticking in my back between my shoulder blade and spine.

I have been to a chiropractor three times. Twice he popped my back and all three times we did the therapy on the muscles. I go back tomorrow. I can ask him to do an x-ray.

Hello Wanad,
It's not for me to interfere with your doctor. You must be guided by him. After all, he's the one who can examine you, I'm only surmising.

You might do the Upper Limb Tension Test which will define whether the pinched / irritated nerve is in your back or neck. Is the lower arm much tighter during this test?

The fact that turning your head causes the pain in the midback definitely points to nerve irritation somewhere.

You might suggest, but beware, doctors don't like being told what to do, particularly because you read this or that on the internet! that he test the strength of the triceps muscle, and to do Adson's test, the definitive test for a first rib syndrome.

Again, does raising your arm above your head increase or decrease the pain and tingling in your arm.

Working at the computer stretches out the tethered nerve and is indeed likely to increase the tingling in your arm.

Not a smoker? Sometimes, rarely, a lesion in the upper lung can affect the plexus of nerves passing from the neck to the arm. Unlikely, really quite rare.

In my book an X-ray is indicated, but there's more research coming out about the dangers of ionising radiation, hence his reluctance. Mine too. As I said, an MRI would be safer and give more info.

These days all doctors are used to patients scanning the web for solutions, frankly it's healthy, keeps us on our toes! so perhaps you might print this out and discuss things with him.

Let me know what the ULTT does, and whether raising your arm relieves the tingling in the arm.

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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