After fall, slight tingling in hands, pain in extensors of forearm, weakness in tricep.

by Samuel
(Japan (US military))

Which fingers are affected?

Which fingers are affected?

I recently fell on the beach after scrambling backwards to avoid a wave, falling onto my back, at which point I felt what seemed similar to a muscle pull in the upper left of my back. I felt fine after at the time, but for the rest of the day felt like I had pulled something in the left side of my back.

Two weeks later, and I am still experiencing tightness in the left side of my neck, like a knot (only present on left side), as well as tightness in the left trapezius and levator scapulae, especially upon awakening. I am a lifetime weightlifter, over 20 years, and have never injured my spine. Heavy loads for deadlift or squat are unaffected with no pain. The only strength affected seems to be the left tricep, with about a 25 percent reduction in strength. Bicep strength is unaffected.

No X rays yet or MRI, doctor has prescribed muscle relaxers and naproxen. Symptoms are worst in the morning, but get better as I loosen up, and sometimes disappear completely after stretching, massage, or exercise, though the left arm is still weak. Some of the tightness in the morning seems to be getting better. I'm really concerned about the strength loss and the best course of treatment. Please assist if possible.

Hello Samuel,
Firstly thank you for taking the time to write clearly and succinctly.

The triceps is the most commonly affected muscle after a pinched nerve in the neck, so you are right to be concerned.

Could you do you some tests for me please.

1. If you turn your head to the left, and then look up, what happens? this is called Spurling's test, or sign, if you want to look it up.

2. Following the arm pain page at Chiropractic Help, locate the 'upper limb tension test.' With the help of a friend do the test, and let me have the result.

3. Ask someone to test the triceps reflex.

4. Prick the skin with a pin; is there a difference in the right and left arms?

If any of these are strongly positive, get an x-ray taken, including 'obliques.'

Don't do any weight lifting at present.

Dr B

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