Intermittent episodic aching tingling numbness arms and legs and back

(Oakland CA)

Intermittent episodic aching tingling numbness arms and legs and back

I have been experiencing for quite some time (4+years) discomfort which most often starts near the spine, slightly inside the inner edge of my right scapula, then my entire right arm, palm and fingers will ache, both to the touch and in usage.

Recently I am also experiencing the aching etc. down my left arm (without the pain in the scapula area) and most oddly aching in my right hip and numbness in the area right below the toes as they move into the ball of the right foot.

It is very uncomfortable to sleep on my side - even with pillows.

I am quite active physically: yoga, walking, dancing Tango. Working at the computer, sitting and lying down can aggravate, as can standing (i.e. going to a museum). Moving actually seems to relieve.

I have gone to several chiropractors, a Heller worker, acupuncture: temporary relief if I am lucky.

Sometimes slight pressure on the muscle/flesh right next to the inner edge of the right scapula helps relieve, or slight pressure to the right of C1 helps.

Recently I have been putting ice on my mid back before falling asleep, which seems also to be helping.

I am 60, quite slender, fine boned.

Any ideas on what is going on?

Thank you

Hello Barbara,
It's time to ask to see a neurologist. Frankly I have little idea, more tests are needed.

If it affects your whole arm and hand, it means that the whole brachial plexus of nerves is being affected, rather than one single nerve root. My thinking is of a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome ... both the artery and the nerves to your arm may be affected.

The classic symptom is that the tingling and numbness in the arm(s) increases if you lift your hand above your head. Test it. Is it worse when you hang washing?

The standard test is known as Adson's test. Do you remember if anyone has tested the pulse in your wrist whilst you turn your head, look up and simultaneously take in a deep breath? Quite a difficult test to be objective with, unless one does it regularly.

But what about the scapula pain. Right now I'd assume it's related, but that's not necessarily so. Plus the rhomboid muscle located there is supplied by a single nerve from the neck. Read more at this deep upper back pain page. It could be a rib condition too, a referral from the lung tissue, and a host of others.

Most often a first rib fixation, or scalene muscle spasm is the cause of Thoracic Outlet syndrome and usually responds quite quickly to chiropractic care, but not in your case. There are other causes. Not a smoker?

And then there's the pain in your lower back and feet. Perhaps another separate condition, but possibly related, particularly now it's affecting your left arm too.

What's needed is a careful, thorough physical examination, reflexes, muscles strength, numbness, orthopaedic tests, listening to your chest, exam of the lower back and pelvis, the rib cage. And perhaps a scan of your lower neck and midback.

Have you had an X-ray of your neck? No cervical ribs? There really are many possibilities.

Please let us know when you have a diagnosis, it's helps others with simular problems. Perhaps someone else reading this will reply.

Good luck.

Dr B

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Oct 12, 2014
tingling and numbness
by: Dr B

I've had no further correspondence from them, Barbara; perhaps they'll answer.

Further tests needed in my opinion.

Dr B

Oct 12, 2014
Any answers?
by: Anonymous

I have been dealing with almost identical aches and pains..wondering if you ever found out any answers?

I've had no further correspondence from them, Barbara; perhaps they'll answer.

Further tests needed in my opinion.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

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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. 

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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.

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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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