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April 04, 2011



(Keywords: neck arm pain, arm pit pain, arm neck pain, lower arm pain, neck shoulder arm pain)

This last month I have had nearly 100 letters (unbelievable, Chiropractic Help had 82684 unique visitors last month) from correspondents asking for guidance concerning Neck Arm pain. Later we'll consider a few of them.

But first our book of the month!


For three days only - until Wednesday midnight - you can download my alter ego, Bernard Preston's new book for only ONE DOLLAR! This exclusive offer for the readers of Chiropractic Help newsletters is FOR YOU! Thereafter $2.99. You don't need a special eReader, it's in microsoft Word.

New … hot off the press

STOP PRESS: Stones in my Clog by Bernard Preston, his third book has just become available for the first time as an ebook for just $2.99.

STONES IN MY CLOG gives you an intriguing look, from the inside, into a Dutch chiropractic clinic. Have you ever thought what life is like from the doctor's point of view? What does HE think of ME?

Stones is the culmination of seven years of work, collecting, writing, rewriting, editing of my astonishingly interesting sojourn in the Netherlands. Only those grey skies... and the Dutch Alps, their language!

  • A woman in acute pain who arrives on the arm of a man I presume is her husband but, no, Jan Two is her parish priest. And lover...

  • Dick is one of the world's best gliding instructors. He's been Dutch champion many times, flown at least ten times at the World Gliding championship... could a pupil fly so badly to make him airsick? You bet!

  • How Bernie got fired "op staande voet". Instant dismal. Now... GO!

I promise you, you won't be asking for your money back, only one dollar, but that is an option if you don't feel you've got your money's worth. I'm still waiting for the first person to tell me s/he hasn't finished one of my first two books, Frog in my Throat and Bats in my Belfry! Perhaps you're all too kind...

Three days only, $1.


Hello, I am a 26 year-old male who has been experiencing pain and tingling in the area where my neck and shoulder meet, along with in the wrist, hand, and fingers. This has been going on for over a year now.

I did data entry at my job for 5 years and that is where I first started experiencing discomfort in my hands, though most of my issues are on the right side. I have had 2 EMGs 8 months apart, 2 MRIs (one of the neck and one of the brain), an x-ray of the neck, and cortisone injections in my wrists. The tests have all come back fine and I have seen many different doctors who can't seem to pinpoint an issue or come up with a diagnosis.

The symptoms used to be only in my hands and wrist so they thought it was CTS, but over time my symptoms have changed and worsened. I have experienced tingling in all of my fingers. My arms feel easily fatigued. I feel it is difficult to sit up straight, I can't sleep on my side anymore because my arm (from my armpit all around) and neck feel pain and tingling sensation, where it feels like I need to move to relieve it but no matter what way I move the arm it doesn't feel right. I'm only able to sleep on my back, though sometimes when I do (and I am unsure if this is related) from the top of my rear down to my toes I feel an uncomfortable numbness, but it doesn't happen all the time.

I have been unable to work or enjoy my hobbies such as playing guitar, because any bit of work or activity I do seems to make them worse. Particularly the spot on my wrist and an area in my neck. Up until these problems I lead an active healthy life-style and exercised every other day by doing pull-ups, push-ups and lifting 10-30lbs. dumbbells, so I have always had good body strength. However, I have been unable to do this workout routine.


3 months ago I had a fall, down some steps at work probably fell from a height of @ 1 metre I instinctively stuck my left arm out behind me. I came down fairly hard on the arm this resulted in an intense burning sensation in the upper part of my arm lasting 10 minutes or there about.

The incident was reported and I was checked by site safety officer and after 30 minutes all seemed ok and I returned to work.2 months later I started getting pain in the left arm like a dull ache in the upper part I went to my GP he said it was probably just soft tissue damage, give it a few days and see how it goes.After a week it had progressed to numbness and pins and needles sensation down the forearm across the hand and thumb and first 2 fingers and the dull ache in the upper arm which was now fairly constant.

I also now have a constant twinge in my back in between my shoulder blades and the neck where it meets the shoulders.

I have had x-rays of the neck done but they were inconclusive.

What is it that I have most likely done to end up with these symptoms? I know the initial burning sensation I experienced was most probably related to stress on some nerve or nerves.

LOWER ARM PAIN letter #3

Pins and needles starting in my finger tips and going up to my elbow in my right arm. I cannot carry anything in rt. hand without it starting.


I would say that the most challenging conditions at the Chiropractic Coalface concern neck shoulder arm pain. From the patient's point of view these conditions can be very disabling and to make matters worse they often seriously disturb sleep. Unlike a sciatica, you often can't find a position to relieve the pain in the arm.

Obviously pain in the lower arm, for example, could be a local problem like arthritis in the fingers or, if you fell, an injury like a sprained wrist. Or the severe pain I'm suffering from after contact with a nasty rhus tree that gave me a very painful rash two months ago and the nerve pain is now waking me at night. I doubt an adjustment of the neck would help!

However, the stubborn carpal tunnel syndromes, the tennis elbows, the frozen shoulders and rotator cuff syndromes that haven't responded to medicine and physiotherapy's best efforts, I find almost always have one of two underlying causes:

  1. A pinched or strongly irritated nerve root.

  2. A First Rib syndrome, affecting both the brachial plexus of nerves and often the artery supplying the arm too.


I present here two challenging cases. Both women, one with pain in upper left arm of some two years' duration. Surgery did not help, and eventually the nerve bundles to her shoulder became so badly irritated she got a frozen shoulder.

In a case of left arm shoulder pain of acute onset, an impending heart attack should of course also be considered.

In the second case, a six-month muscle pain in arm turned out to be a very stubborn case of tennis elbow. And behind it, a twenty year history of neck pain.

Both cases have been a challenge, both are doing very nicely, but... get that neck sorted out before it starts giving you a nasty neck arm pain. That nerve pain in the arm is far worse than the pain in the neck.



    When all else fails, think more exercise, think omega-3 oil and think traction. There is no scientific evidence that traction ON ITS OWN has any benefit with pain upper arm or lower arm pain ... but combined with chiropractic care I can offer you anecdotal evidence that it does contribute. Perhaps you'd like to make a home traction unit like this innovative patient did. We couldn't find a decent traction unit in Holland. It made a big difference to a stubborn two-year upper arm muscle pain. In fact in the end, he found that the traction helped more than my treatment! or that of various doctors over the previous two years. HOME TRACTION UNIT ...


    If you have pain in the axilla that you can't provoke by turning your neck, or raising your arm, then I'd see your medical doctor first because it just may not be the Neck Arm pain we've been discussing. Just to be sure. The Subscapularis, Teres Major and Latissimus dorsi muscles are the usual causes of arm pit pain, but nasty swollen lymph nodes lurk there very occasionally.

    "If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers."

    Maya Angelou's mother.


    Instead of anything on nutrition this month, since your veg garden is probably empty, I'd like to promote two ideas.

    1. Firstly a compost pile, if you have the space in your garden. This three-month compost could use another month, but I can't wait. Our Southern hemisphere winter garden is demanding we plant by mid-April.

    2. Planning. Now is the time to decide just how much space you have in your garden this summer for vegetables and fruit. If your space is limited, could I again punt for growing and cooking green beans.

      On the fruit side, growing lemon trees is a must if you have the space. This improved Meyer lemon never grows very large. Just for its scent and decorative fruit it deserves a place in every garden.

    THAT BOOK...

    You have just a couple days to spend that one dollar, and get a few weeks' entertainment. If you don't finish it in two nights! Prove me wrong!

    Important tip: These videos of lower back exercises may be of help to you.

    Until next month then,

    Dr Barrie Lewis DC

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