upper arm discomfort and tingling thumb

by Jackie
(Lincoln UK)

Hello, Five weeks ago i reached down for the shower to rinse my hair and i got a really horrible feeling in my neck/shoulder,

i took pain killers and over the course of two/three weeks the pain went , but then i started getting muscle spasm in my upper arm and my thumb went numb and it has been like this since ,

if i sit with my arm relaxed and slightly forward the muscle in the top of my arm, not my bisep starts to feel strange and then i get tingling down from there and the forearm and in my thumb, my tip of the of the thumb hasen't regained full feeling for almost two weeks although i do think its easing off .

Any idea what i have may have done ?

Thank you

Hello Jackie,
Certainly a nerve entrapment / irritation syndrome. What's good is that it is slowly improving.
Never wash your hair in a basin, the shower is the place.
There are several places where the nerve could be affected. In the nerve root, in which case raising your arm above your head may likely relieve the tingling.
Or by the first rib, in which raising your arm may increase the tingling.
Or somewhere in your arm as well.
Do the Upper Limb Tension Test at C-H, and let me know what happens. Use the SiteSearch function. Adson's test for a "First rib syndrome" aka Thoracic Outlet syndrome, is rather difficult to do. It takes a lot of experience to do objectively.
Give it another week, not carrying anything heavy in that arm, and looking out for weakness and numbness in the arm. The triceps is most often affected. Avoid turning to the side and looking up.
Potentially this is a serious problem. It may resolve on its own with some common sense homecare, but if it doesn't, don't wait, get to see a local chiropractor. X-rays of your neck may be necessary.
Read the Pinched nerve in neck page at C-H.

Good luck, let us know in a few weeks how things progress.

Dr B

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Mar 21, 2013
flu shots and numbness in hand and fingers
by: Anonymous

Numbness in hand and fingers after flu shots

I had a flu shot and a few days later, my shoulder, arm and hands started bothering me. My shoulder got stiff and my fingers are stiff and won't bend very good. It usually hurts at night when I lay on that side and my hand goes numb. Could the way the shot was given be the cause? It spread to my other shoulder but I barely notice it and that side is not tingly and numb. Can you give me some advice about this.

My best advice is to contact your doctor who gave you the shot. Vaccinations do occasionally have severe side effects, and it's best you ask his/her advice.

It will probably pass, but if the numbness gets worse, and particularly if you start to feel weakness then it's essential you immediately make a medical contact.

Personally, I'm not in favour of flu shots except in exceptional circumstances, and perhaps you are one. Very occasionally they cause Guillain Barre syndrome. Tingling in arms and hands and feet … The cardinal signs are: "sudden onset of tingling in arms and hands and legs, usually starting in the legs, and then quite profound weakness." It's most uncommon, so don't go assuming you have GBS. But also don't dismiss it.

Go from Flu shots and numbness in hand and fingers to Chiropractic Conditions often treated…

Jan 08, 2013
upper arm discomfrot and tingling thumb
by: Jackie

Thank you for your reply , i can't seem to find where to read your advise maybe i am not looking in the right place, also how do i do the test sorry if this sounds dumb, i clicked on your pictures and tried to sign into facebook as it suggests but it keeps saying my email and password are wrong.

Sorry, I should have been more specific. At Chiropractic-Help.com you'll find at the top a SiteSearch button. Click on it and type in ULTT.

Hope this works for you.

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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