Left Thumb Index finger numbness and tingling after upper chiropractic adjustment

by Jai
(Las Vegas, US)

C6 dermatome- index finger AND thumb

C6 dermatome- index finger AND thumb

Left Thumb Index finger numbness and tingling after upper chiropractic adjustment

Recently I got my first chiropractic adjustment for upper left side pain as it was radiating towards my heart, the doc stated rib 4,5,6 needs adjusting w/o x-ray.

After the procedure, I now have tingling/numbness in my left thumb and index fingers. Is this anything to be concerned about?

Hello Jai,
Ah, good, you have started a new thread.

Was your neck also manipulated? If so, then yes there is reason for concern, and you should discuss this fully with your chiropractor before having another neck adjustment. Don't be brushed off, and if s/he doesn't take you seriously go elsewhere.

More likely deep upper back pain often comes from the lower neck, and the tingling in your arm was going to begin anyway.

A C4-C5-C6 subluxation often starts by radiating via the Dorsal Scapular nerve to exactly the area where you were feeling the pain. Diagnostically it's very difficult: is it a 4-5-6th rib, or is it radiating from the lower neck. Is it both? Or something else entirely. Rib problems do radiate along the rib to the front of the chest. But so do T1 and T2 subluxations. It's complicated!

So it starts in the upper back and, with or without treatment, after a few days starts down the arm. More usually the C5 dermatome in the upper arm, so with yours being in the C6 dermatome, careful evaluation is needed.

We used to X-ray each and every case, just to rule out serious pathology which rarely cropped up. Now research shows that 7-8% of cancer is actually caused by X-rays, so I too only X-ray when it's clearly indicated. Which may now be the case.

After chiropractic treatment pain isn't uncommon, just like after-having-your-wisdom-teeth-or-appendix-treatment-out-pain.

But each and every case needs to be evaluated: should the treatment be changed, are X-rays necessary, or is this simply part of the process?

Follow your gut feel, and especially whether your chiropractor just brushes over your concerns. They are real, what you feel is what you feel. S/he should understand that.

Severe cases of chiropractic iatrogenic illness are very uncommon, but stresses and strains after the first few treatments of a chronic problem are certainly not uncommon at all.

I hope this doesn't simply add to your confusion!

I do hope this has contributed.

Dr. Barrie Lewis

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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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