Deep upper back pain

by Henrik

Ask someone to pull your thumb and pinkie apart, comparing right and left.

Ask someone to pull your thumb and pinkie apart, comparing right and left.

Did pullups a few months ago, as I usually do outdoors after a run. As I got tired I did not have the strength to lower my self but dropped still hanging on to the bar. Felt immediate pain in upper back and woke up next morning with very tight/stiff back and neck, impossible to turn my head.

After one week my mobility was almost normal but deep upper pain has remained, coming and going in varying intensity. Tingling and numbness in both hands is felt often and as I am standing with my hands against my hips I feel painful stretch in the nerve in my arm all the way to my fingers.

My Chiro told my to stretch my pecs. 4 months has gone and no improvement.

I am 30 years old, been exercising my whole life and never been injured. My posture is good, I think, and my work place is ergonomically adapted.

Please give me tips and exercises.

Thank you.

Hello Henk,
What's needed is a diagnosis. Did your chiropractor examine you, and what did he say? Have you had just the one treatment?

The concern is that the radiation is down both arms. Have you had an xray of your neck? In fact, after all this time, if any of the following are positive, I'd try and get a scan.

1. Ask your chiropractor to test the reflexes in the arms. Are they equal?

2. Take a pin and prick both your arms following the dermatome patterns in the enclosed picture. Is there a difference right and left?

3. Is there specific weakness in the arm? Especially thumb opposition, elbow extension (triceps) as in press ups, and squeezing the fingers together?

Over and above these, two more tests;
1. Turn to the side and look up. Is there pain? Where?

2. Go to Chiropractic Help and using the search function type in Upper Limb Tension Test. Let me have the result.

3. Is that painful pull in your arm when it's at your side relieved if you place your hand on your head? It's called the Shoulder Abduction Relief sign.

Keep to this thread Henrik. Is there an xray report?

Dr B

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Jan 12, 2016
Head turning causes pain
by: Anonymous

What does it mean if I turn my head to the side and get pain?

Where does it hurt, on the same side or opposite, and does it radiate to the arm?

What happens if you look up and turn to the side?

These things often pass of themselves, but if not, don't leave it, particularly if you are getting headaches, or it's radiating down the arm.

Dr B

Feb 05, 2015
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your concern.

The symtoms is bilateral.
Turning to the side and up does not provoke more pain.

I will try to get a scan, but that may take some time. I will come back as soon as I know more.


Hello Henrik,
If this is going down both arms then you certainly must take this further. A neurologist would be a good start.

Dr B

Feb 02, 2015
by: Henrik

Thank you for taking the time to respond.
I have not visited a medical doctor and have no x-ray or MRI-scan made.

Upper limb tension tests is of course positive, quite painful, but reflexes are fine. Thumb opposition test are ok regarding strength but feels uncomfortable, same feeling when buttoning the jacket.

Nerve stress tests in upper limb causes significant pain radiation in triceps and elbow and after a few seconds the hand goes numb.

Forth time at my Chiro today.

Theory is that the event causing the symptoms stretched the nerves which been sensitive since then, but still very unlikely a bony injury.

Strategy is releasing any tensions in neck and ribjoints when I see him (once a week or maybe less), he sees small progress in joint mobility in neck and upper back. Advised to accelerate my strength training at the gym, use row machine, continue to stretch pecs (releasing pressure at thoratic plexus) without stressing the nerve and try to avoid movements that puts mechanical stress on nerve and prepare for several months of slow progress.

Please share your thoughts.

Hello Henrik,
I'm afraid I feel quite uncomfortable with all this. Four months pain in the arm, positive stretch test, no xray; frankly my opinion is not that you increase your gym work.

And what about movements of your neck, particularly turning to the painful side and looking up?

Using a pin, any sensory changes in your arms?

The possibility of a cervical rib, thoracic outlet syndrome and even perhaps a disc injury needs to be ruled out.

I'm being the Devil's advocate. Obviously I have no idea, but four months of arm pain is not good, so I'm just trouble shooting.

Let me know, some answers to these questions.

Dr B

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