Deep upper back, down the inner arm, funny bone to numbness in the fingers

by Stacy
(Culpepper, VA )

Which fingers are affected?

Which fingers are affected?

The pain came on gradually and maximized with a deep upper back pain, pain down my inner left arm, sore funny bone and numbness at the tips of my fingers; the thumb is fine.

Now after about a week and a half the arm is just slightly sore, the fingers are slightly numb but the deep upper back pain remains. It is not constant but sneaks up on me, depending on my movement, just irritating my arm and fingers but really hurting my upper back. It feels like a nerve ending is dangling and if I move the wrong way it would make contact and hurt.

When I put my arm up on my head the numbness at my fingertips does seem to slow a bit but quickly returns.

Do I have a T1 or pinched nerve problem?

Hello Stacy,
The level is not quite clear, but it's more likely the C8 nerve root; that's not important. It's up to your chiropractor to determine exactly where the lesion is.

Thank you for a very clear description; now try and work out exactly which fingers. Prick them with a pin perhaps, comparing sides.

The deep upper back pain is usually affected by the C5 nerve root, but that doesn't fit with the pattern in your arm. It may be a rib that's causing the pain, rather than from your neck.

The fact that raising your arm brings some relief suggests it's in your neck; the so called Shoulder Abduction Relief sign.

Now do the Upper Limb Tension Test that you will find using the site search function at chiropractic help.

Do any movements of your neck hurt? If you turn to the left and look up, what happens?

Xrays of your cervical spine, including oblique views and, if you have insurance, an MRI would be a great help.

Let me know what transpires, keeping to this thread.

Dr B

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Dec 09, 2014
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Good call
by: Stacy

Dr. B,

Just wanted to let you know that the numbness in my pointer and ring finger is almost gone. The pain when I tilt my head to the left also is much less. But the numbness in my pinky and adjacent finger remains along with slight discomfort up my arm which is exactly what you determined in your first response to me. (the C8 Dermatome)

Hello Stacy,
You don't actually say; have to been to a local chiropractor?

Either way, it's good that things are looking up; remember our fifty percent less pain rule. The pain goes away faster than it heals. Just be careful, don't carry heavy packages in that arm and try and avoid looking up.

Great news.

Dr b

Dec 01, 2014
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Very Helpful
by: Stacy

Thank you very much for your response and I hope your response will help others as well as relieve my discomfort. It's off to find A Chiropractic doctor and a traction tool.
Thanks again.

Pleasure, let me know how you get on.

Dr B

Nov 26, 2014
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Oops, pertinent info omitted
by: neck and arm pain

Thank you Dr. B
In your response you suggested some neck test and it reminded me about something that could be pretty important. About 14 years ago I had a near herniated disc in my neck. I received two of the allowed steroid shots in the neck and was able to dodge the pain and operation by watching what I lifted and not lifting anything over my head. At that time I had neck pain and numbness to my pointer finger. (I think it was around C5,C6 orC7) Could my current problem be my old problem returning or aggravating other things?

Note: All neck movement is painless except for tilting my head to the left which I had from the older problem.

Hello Stacy,
That tilting of your head causing pain is very significant; is it in your neck or arm?

Yes, this is almost the same problem rearing its ugly head; be very kind to your neck now. No sleeping on your tum, or sitting in a chair, and no heavy lifting with that arm.

A traction device, used lying down, at home, coupled with chiropractic adjustments can be very helpful.

Dr B

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