Tingling and pressure in hands and arms are keeping me up all night.

by Maria
(Long Island, NY)

I can't sleep at night; the pressure seems to build up and I have to get up. It's tortuous and I despise taking medications to help me sleep but am forced to do so when this happens.

I had a slip and fall 2 years ago and finally saw a chiropractor 1 year ago. I saw her 3 times a week for 6 months and now I see her once a week for adjustments. She has provided tremendous relief but I still have occasional problems at night.

Since the fall I have also had vestibular problems and migraines. I have received several occipital nerve blocks which have helped those symptoms. But the pressure and tingling at night in both arms are causing me to consider surgical options. The pressure and pain are equal on both sides. Sitting up and moving around helps but at 2:00 am I cannot afford too many more nights like this. Please help.

Hello Maria,
I need more information. Do you have neck pain? If you turn your head, and then look up, do you get radiation to the arm? Do you become dizzy?

Which fingers tingle? If you prick your fingers, is one side more numb than the other?

Have x-rays been taken and what do they show? If not, I'd start there.

This is controversial and is simply my opinion. 3x26 weeks + 1x26 weeks = 100 treatments. If frank manipulation was being done each time then, in my opinion, you've had too much manipulation. If an activator instrument was used, or you weren't manipulated each time, then that changes things.

I'd talk frankly to your chiropractor about this; obviously I know nothing of your case, so I probably should hold my tongue. But you are clearly an unhappy camper.

Perhaps a treatment once a month now, with some massage in between. Perhaps some exercises. Cervical traction sometimes helps. An orthopaedic opinion, or even from another chiropractor.

Personally, if you are experiencing vertigo, with what's called nystagmus (vestibular problems) then I'm reluctant to do frank manipulation on the neck.

Any jaw joint pain, clicking or popping sounds? When you fell, did the jaw take a knock?

All of this is opening a can of worms, Maria. How about, print this out, and discuss it with your chiropractor; you've obviously been helped greatly and have confidence in your chiropractor. Like two mature adults talk through these things.

Let me know how you get on. I hope this contributes rather than confusion.

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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