Bilateral cervical ribs, carpel tunnel syndrome, cervical disc bulging and inactive ulnar nerves


I am 75 years male from India. I have had this problem for the last 30 years. I was an engineer in Railways, during this period I had to travel in train for more than 20 to 25 days in a month; also work on the steel bridges. Well known neuro Physician diagnosed and said the problem cannot be cured, and advised me to be prepared to learn to live with the problem. I had shown it to a well known neuro surgeon, He was also of the same opinion.

The problem slowly got aggravated. Now for the last 2 years the pain is unbearable; about 4 months back I had shown it to a doctor in Seattle WA near the university campus; there the doctor had given me two sittings of acupuncture treatment, which did not help me at all I am back in India and suffering from this very badly. The symptoms are pain along the nerve about 3 inches from the bottom of the thumb om the right hand and also pain in the fore arm muscles with inflammation; also pain in the biceps and muscle located outside the shoulder for about 6 inches; the muscle in this portion becomes very hard when the pain is there.

In the left hand the condition is same plus inside the fore arm at 6 inches from the wrist there is constant pain and some times burning; there is pain in the middle finger on the left hand, not always; both frequently comes and goes; similarly two fingers that is little finger and ring finger pains. For this finger pain I have taken steroid injection about 3 or four times.

Now for the last 9 months I am on LYRICA 150 mg . Now a days for the last 2 months the pain starts in the evening around 4 PM. Earlier I used to sleep well with LYRICA, but now all days I have disturbed sleep. I use crepe bandage for both the hands to reduce pain, this is also not effective.

If you suggest some pressure points it may help. I had taken MRI for the cervical portion about 20 years back. for bi cervical ribs X-RAYS have been taken many times.

Those specialists were correct in that this cannot be "cured" but these symptoms are very typical of at least one patient on any day in a busy chiropractic office. The can be helped.

It would appear to me that there are different things going on here; in that right arm it may be a shoulder problem; can you rotate your upper arm normally and fully?

As a general rule, if the pain in the lower arms is bad, does raising the arm above your head relieve or increase the pain?

Does turning your head, and then looking up, immediately provoke either neck pain, or the burning feeling in your arms?

There aren't many if any chiropractors in India for some reason; I would go for a weekly deep massage of your arms, shoulders and neck.

Ask the specialists about a home traction device; they sometimes help.

Dr B

» Bilateral cervical ribs, carpel tunnel syndrome, cervical disc bulging and inactive ulnar nerves

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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 have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is 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 is 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 pain-free. 

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 is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has 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 stroll 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; he has a short leg.

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. X-rays 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 few months 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 is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year 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 could not 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 should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.

You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

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