numb hand and alternating severe shoulder pain

by Melanie
(Las Vegas, Nev.)

Numb hand and alternating severe shoulder pain points to old injury in the lower neck and probable degenerative change in the joints of Luschka.

My right hand has been numb/tingly very similar to CTS patterned numbness. But it is this way 24/7..for about the past 18 mo. I guess I have a knack for picking bad doctors. After a few chiropractic treatments and adjustments, he said the problem is in my neck and told me I need to see an Orthopedic surgeon.

I haven't been to another doctor yet because of my lousy insurance and it has gotten progressively worse. When I turn my head in either direction, it radiates pain down the back of my right arm.

I'm getting severe shoulder pain in one shoulder for weeks to the point I cannot lift it. Then it will gradually go almost away and it goes to the other shoulder for a few weeks. I have also lost mobility in my right thumb; chiro said arthritis, and is very painful to even barely squeeze that hand. What is it? neck or other? I don't know where to go.

Two years ago I had blunt force trauma to the area of my sacroilliac joint. I was hanging a shower curtain and when I started to step onto the edge of tub I lost balance and fell straight back, landed on the toilet, on my low back/high butt rt.side, full force. I got up, but for 11 months, I limped, and walked, leaned some to the left to relieve pain. And nobody could tell me what was wrong. I found exercises for Anterior rotation that helped but what the heck did I do? Please help me find answers...
I am a 62 yr old female.

Hello Melanie,
There are different things going on here. Most carpal tunnel problems do indeed have their origin in the neck, as does very often the alternating shoulder problems you are having.

That's confirmed by the fact that turning your head causes radiating pain into the arm; known as Spurling's sign.

You almost certainly have some degenerative change in your lower neck, most folk of 62 do, from an old injury and perhaps even from that fall in the bathroom. I would start by getting some x-rays including oblique views.

Leaning to the side to relieve lower back pain is called an antalgia; unusual to have gone on so long, and you're lucky not to have radiating pain down your leg as you do in the arm.

Start doing our lower back exercises that you'll find in the navigation bar every morning before getting out of bed.

There are no easy answers to this, Melanie. You've neglected it, and the prognosis isn't that great. Start hunting for a chiropractor who comes highly recommended by friends and family. He's going to have to work hard, and you're going to have to be careful, do the exercises and no more playing silly buggers in the bathroom!

I wish I could be more helpful. Yes, it's going to cost you; how important is your health? If you don't look after your body, where are you planning to live?

That probably is arthritis in the thumb, and unrelated. Look to getting on to an anti arthritic diet; basically many coloured fruits and salads with olive oil.

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 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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