Numbness in left arm


I carry my stress in my left shoulder area and tend to develop knots under the scapula. I recently fell while teaching a movement class and thought I may have aggravated the pre existing condition. Originally I couldn't put much weight on my left arm and finding a comfortable position to sit in was difficult.

It has been two weeks and with a little rest (not much), ibuprofen, and heat the injury has "moved" causing discomfort in the left side of my neck and depending on how I move my head a tingling sensation washes over my left arm and into my thumb. It doesn't last long but is uncomfortable. Does this sound like a pinched nerve or greater damage to the rotator cuff? What should my next steps be in treatment?
Thank you.

Hello Jill,
The tingling that washes down your arm to the thumb, I like the term! coupled with neck pain certainly suggests that this is more than a rotator cuff syndrome.

This is especially true if movements of your neck provoke the tingling in your arm.

The shoulder is supplied by nerves from your neck and it's more than likely that the underlying condition prior to your fall was in your cervical spine rather than your arm.

Deep upper back pain is a relentless condition, often difficult to diagnose because it's caused by a myriad of problems, but very often an irritation of the dorsal scapular nerve from the lower neck is at the root of it.

I would recommend you start with an x-ray of your neck, including "obliques". From there it's for you to decide what treatment fits best with your philosophy of health care. Certainly this is the sort of problem most chiropractors would treat on a daily basis, but I can't promise you that a few clicks of the neck will fix it. It's one of the more problematic conditions we treat.

Dr B

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