Tingling right hand with ache in arm, arm pit and front right of chest, and pain in back by shoulder blade and side of neck

by Deb
(Hollister, MO)





Tingling right hand, ache in arm, pain in arm pit and front right of chest, and pain in back by shoulder blade and side of neck. All on the right.

Several months ago I was having pain somewhat under my right armpit and a little into the chest on that side. I wrote it off as to a sore muscle. Then about 6 weeks ago, I woke up during the night with a very stiff center back between spine and right shoulder blade. It hurt to breath in. It happened suddenly during the night and has lasted since that time. For the past 3-4 weeks, my right hand, thumb, pointer finger and center finger, and a tiny bit of 4th finger, have been tingling and feeling like they were asleep.

It occurs mostly when my arm is bent at the elbow and when I lay down in bed on my left side. I can make the tingling and sleepy feeling go away by laying on the right painful back side. It is an odd moment for me and somewhat concerning to me as I have never had this before.

I do work at a computer 2 days a week, but I have previously had carpal tunnel in the other wrist and it was nothing like this. This seems to be involving my right side, arm pit, neck, back, arm and hand. Should I go to a chiropractor, a spine doc, or start with my primary care physician?

I do have several back issues; sciatica, spinal stenosis, and L5 disk narrowing, which I have had for most of the past 15 to 20 years. But, as I said, this right side numbness, tingling, aching, pain is relatively new. Help. And, thank you in advance for any insight you can offer. Debbie

Hello Debbie,
Obviously without being able to examine you, all that follows is speculative.

It sounds to me like you have what is known as a double crush syndrome. A pinched nerve in two or even three places.

Firstly that tingling in the fingers, but excluding the pinkie, is typically an irritation in the wrist in the carpal tunnel, or possibly as the median nerve passes between the two branches of the pronator teres muscle. Your description is pure median nerve distribution.

However, clearly if it's affecting the front of chest, arm pit and the upper back there is also a pinching of one or more nerve roots either in the neck or as the nerves pass through the so called thoracic outlet.

An important distinction can be made by placing your hand on your head when the pain and tingling is bad, and seeing whether it relieves or aggravates the pain. Read more by going to our search function and typing in shoulder abduction relief sign.

Smoker with a cough? Definitely see your doctor as a tumour in the apex of the lung can cause this. Much more likely though is enlargement of the joints of Luschka, a cervical rib, or simply a fixated first rib. All these can cause the symptoms you have.

That pain on deep breathing is typical of a so called sprung rib head, one of the conditions that chiropractic excels in. But with all these other symptoms, who ever treats you needs to tread with caution. This is certainly not just a routine sprung rib.

What's needed is a thorough examination first in order to make the diagnosis. Your choice who you see. I would recommend an xray of your neck including the oblique views or, if you have the money, a scan.

Let us known how you get on. I hope this has contributed. Use that same search function to find more information on deep upper back pain, inter scalene triangle and rib pain treatment.

Comments for Tingling right hand with ache in arm, arm pit and front right of chest, and pain in back by shoulder blade and side of neck

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Nov 07, 2016
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Pain in left side mid back
by: Anonymous

I was playing softball and swung the bat to my left and came all the way around (because I missed). Anyway, the next morning I work up with mid back pain between my left shoulder blade and spine. I've had pain that travels under my left arm pit to the inside of my left bicep down past my elbow to the outside of my lower arm and wrist causing pinky and middle finger numbness. I have full ROM in my left shoulder. The pain is constant. I've been icing for two weeks and taking nsaids. Nothing has really changed.

Do you have full range of motion of your neck and midback? What happens if you take in a deep breath, and in particular if you turn you head to the left and then look up?

The pinkie and middle fingers is rather irregular. Midback pain in the rhomboid muscle may come from the lower neck, but then one wouldn't expect radiation to the hand.

You may have given yourself a stinger; stretched the brachial plexus in which case it should slowly resolve unless you have torn one of the cords.

If in another two weeks it's still not resolving, I'd see a neurologist for a diagnosis; then you might consider seeing a chiropractor.

Some of this suggests a rib subluxation, but nothing is clearcut.

Dr B

Nov 03, 2016
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Tingling and arm pain
by: Anonymous

I have pain in my two middle fingers and it goes up my arm and across the front of my chest on the right side? I just want to know if I should be concerned. And yes I do see a cardiologist.

Any condition, no matter what, if it's not resolving within a period should be treated with concern.

I take it you mean the middle fingers, the third, on the right and left hands; that belongs to the so-called C7 dermatome.

But you make no mention of neck pain, or movements of your cervical spine increasing the tingling. You could just have arthritis in the two middle fingers.

Give it a week or two of home therapy, trying to decide if anything increases or decreases the pain and tingling. For example, what happens if you squeeze your finger, is it swollen, and what happens if you turn to the right and look up?

Neither the index and middle finger, or middle and ring finger belong to specific dermatomes.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

Oct 21, 2016
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Your pain
by: Anonymous

This sounds a bit like RSI which comes from restricted movement and shortening of muscles, nerves and tendons from keeping arm in one place for too long, like computer mouse use. Massage therapy or Myo Facia Release from professional massage therapist or physio would help followed by stretching exercises given would lengthen and release area.
Linda
Body Function Massage
London, UK

Thank you Linda for your contribution. A bit more grist for your mill, Julieta.

Dr B

May 31, 2016
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Neck pain, armpit pain , tingling numbness to arms
by: Julieta

Hi, I have the same symptoms. I had undergone a ACDF C5,C6, and after the surgery I continue to have arm pits , pains to my arms and tingling and numbness to my 4th and pinky. The bad thing is that I have these symptoms on both my arms. So I had a MRI Neurography to both my arms and they found I have brachial plexus injury. So I had a surgery for decompression to my rt brachial plexus.

I am out from work for almost 2 years now due to all these problems. So after the surgery on my brachial plexus, I continue to have all the pains and my tingling and numbness to my right arm is worse; my MD who did my surgery did a test for ulnar nerve compression to my rt, and found out that causes my numbness to my 4th and pinky. I just had my surgery last week on my right elbow, and this will take 3 months to heal.

Still with all the surgery, I continue to have the burning on both on my armpits, arm pains and numbness to my fingers. I am so frustrated that I do not know where is the root of these pains and after all the surgeries, I still feel the same. I pray and hope that I will feel better after 3 months.

Hello Julieta,
I'm not surprised you are frustrated and frankly am unsure what to recommend. Certainly I'd stay away from the surgeons now.

I suspect they operated on the wrong level as C5-C6 causes tingling and numbness on the thumb side of the hand; the ring finger and pinkie belong to the C8 dermatome; it's probably still the spoke in your wheel. But that's history now.

Whether you can find a chiropractor who will take on your case is doubtful after all the surgery you've had.

I'd start with a home cervical traction unit, a weekly sports massage and perhaps acupuncture for perhaps 6 to 8 weeks.

If that delivers nothing, then start hunting for the most experienced and thorough chiropractor in your area.

The ring finger and pinkie can also be affected by a first rib subluxation; the signs are increased tingling with your arm above your head, and loss of the pulse in your wrist when you turn to that same side, look up and take in a deep breath; it's called Adson's test.

You have no cervical ribs?

I'm sorry that I have no more to offer.

Dr B

May 04, 2016
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Pain in neck and both arms
by: Anonymous

Hi there,
I am having pain in my right arm since last year. But I have had neck pain for a long time and that has got worse too now.

I had brain surgery (AVM) in Aug 2014. I used to get migraines and now I take topamax 25mg everyday for that.

The pain in my right arm first started with my last two fingers. My arm use to get numb from those two fingers to my elbows and tingling feeling all the time. But since this Feb my left elbow started hurting too (if my arm is straight it is really painful to fold my arm) and my right arm pain got worse too but now instead of last two fingers it's my index finger, and thumb. And my whole hand started hurting front and back along with the arm. Pain is below my elbow.

My neurologist did all the tests on me like bone scanning, Xray and EEG but they are all normal. And I tried Lyrica, celebrex,and now going to try cymbalta.

Actually I was praying if doctor find something in the tests so she could treat me but all the tests came normal. I don't want to keep taking strong medication either. I have no other problems but headaches. And I'm 42 yrs old. Thank you. Amy

Hello Amy,
Gosh, you're young to be having all this trouble.

Firstly, be pleased the tests are negative; it only makes things more difficult if they were positive.

It means that everyone is missing something.

Firstly, if you turn your head to the right, and then look up, do you have pain? Exactly where?

Secondly, if you tap in the funny bone, ulnar groove hehind the inner elbow, does it shoot down to your hand? Ask the neurologist if Tinel's sign was negative?

The little and ring finger belong to the C8 dermatome and ulnar nerve, so the elbow pain is significant.

Now, using the site search function in the navigation bar, look up and do the "upper limb tension test". What's the result?

Now it gets more difficult. The fact that the pain has moved to the thumb side suggests either another level in your neck, or a pinched brachial plexus in the inter scalene triangle. Then it can affect any and many parts of the arm. If that's the case, usually lifting your arm above your head as in hanging the washing will make it worse.

You've tagged onto someone else's comment. It would be better to copy this and paste it into your own page at Chiropractic Help. Then I can attach graphics to explain some of this stuff in more detail.

Ask your neurologist if she's considered a thoracic outlet syndrome, and whether Adson's test is positive.

It's healthy that you're doing some homework of your own. Certainly won't be good for your kidneys and stomach to be taking those meds for the rest of your life.

Give me some answers, and we can take this further.

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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