hands and arm going numb

I recently started a new job and it involves lifting heavy (40-60 lbs) boxes , using a two wheeler with boxes stacked 6 high and lifting boxes over my head. It also calls for lots of reaching and stretching of the arm to it full length. I had hoped to "get strong" but I am now experiencing my hands going numb and arm tingling at night. It is enough to wake me. If I sleep on my back it lessens. It is usually in my right hand but sometimes in the left also. I am right handed, 125lbs. the shoulder is tender to the touch and i take 500mg Naproxen daily. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Diane

Hello D,
I assume you have no neck pain, and that movements of your neck to not provoke the numbness or tingling in your arm and hands.

Does placing your hand on your head increase or decrease your symptoms? The so-called "Shoulder Abduction Relief" sign.

The most likely cause, though there are several possible diagnoses, is a Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). Raising your arm closes down the space between the collar bone, the first rib, and two muscles in the neck. It's a condition treated routinely by chiropractors. Occasionally it's complicated by abnormality called a "cervical rib".

Do you also look up when you are raising your arms? Then it could be in your neck.

Which fingers do you get tingling in? If it's from the neck, it tends to go to certain specific fingers, whereas TOS more likely affects the whole hand.

A carpal tunnel syndrome is also a possibility.

Type these terms into the search engine at Chiropractic-Help.com. You'll find lots of info about them.

Taking anti-inflammatory drugs for any length of time can cause serious side effects in the stomach.

The pain in your shoulder may also be significant. Active trigger points in the shoulder muscles may refer down the arms. Rotator cuff syndrome.

If the condition continues, seek the help of a local chiropractor. Ask friends and even your doctor for the name of a competent conscientious DC.

I hope this has contributed.

Dr B

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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've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's 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's 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 painfree. 

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's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's 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 walk 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.

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. Xrays 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 year 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's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 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 couldn't 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 shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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