Numb pinky/ upper inner arm & to chest, just below left collarbone

by Nick
(North Bay area, California)

Hi, I have had this problem for a few years now. Starting with the symptom of a numb left pinky/ & traceable up the inner forearm /near elbow, (which is sore when probed).. to the chest, just beneath the left collarbone, as the seeming source of the problem. & (also)sore when probed.

I also have a weakened (left) grip & seemingly relevant/ connected, my feet have lost much flexibility, toes have stiffened,(& become a bit deformed) esp. sore in the Big toe area & my feet often feel inflamed (hot)/ a bit swollen/ generally sore & very intolerant of shoes of any type...(& cannot be worn for any length of time).. AND also seemingly connected, my knees often give me more of a stabbing pain/ more the inner knee caps./ most typically on stairs & more so on the descent.

Also, (a lesser symptom), my grip & fingers in general are becoming very slowly weaker.
I originally (self-diagnosed) this as 'cubital tunnel syndrome', but it is looking now like TOS (?). (& I realise this could be (?) two separate issues).(upper & lower body)

As possible initial causes..?
:I did strain my inner arm/ about this time/ by lifting & turning a heavy object (repeatedly)..
I also stubbed (both!) toes, very painfully around this time.
AND, there was a period (around the same time) of extended leaning on the left elbow, whilst using the computer.. this "funny bone" area was initially felt to be the source of the numb pinky..& thus the Cubital tunnel self-diagnosis.
& (Possibly relevant) ?..I also strained my back badly near this period ?
I have no insurance. I have no X-rays or Doctors assessments.
I did see two acupuncturists & maybe two chiropractors.. But I believe, not people in any way expert in this particular field.
Now, it is hard (but feels helpful) to stretch this arm out straight & flex out at the wrist.
Many Thanks for any help, Nick.

Hello Nick,
I'm pretty sure these are separate problems.

The numbness in the pinky (does it include the ring finger?) and inner arm can be a nerve root problem, in the thoracic outlet, or in the elbow. Only a careful thorough examination will work this out.

You've saved a huge amount of money by having no insurance. It's now time to use some of those savings, particularly as your arm is going weak. Do it.

Dr B


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Sep 30, 2015
From Nick
by: Nick

Thank you for your reply Dr. B.
The ring finger/ perhaps very slightly numb, but only just.
I am wanting to find the right chiropractor..
.. or ?/ appropriate bodyworker/ diagnosis/.. in the CA Bay area.
If you or anyone has a good recommendation I would be most grateful, Nick.

I'm afraid I know no one; you must follow the usual channels of friends, family and your GP. Good luck.

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.

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Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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