I have been kayaking for over 8 years. This year I have been paddling much more than anytime I have in the past. About a month ago I started feeling numbness in my right hand from the forefinger to the pinky finger. I would typically paddle 5 miles a night. At firet I ignored the numbness (it would go away momentarily when i opened my hand and put it in the water) but eventually that numbness combined itself with pain in my right scapula. I went to get a deep tissue massage from a reputable clinic. They focused on my right shoulder and pectoral muscle. This didn't alleviate the pain.
I took a couple of weeks off from paddling but it still hurts. The only other time my shoulder bothers me is when I'm mt. biking. Then the symptoms are the same so I know it's just not the repetitive motion of the paddling.
I don't believe that it's a torn rotator cuff because if it was my shoulder would hurt doing regular activities. What can i do to alleviate this problem? My guess is that it's a pinched nerve. I don't want to quit exercising my upper body altogether because I don't want to lose any more muscle gain.
No, you're quite right, this certainly isn't a rotator cuff problem.
What's interesting is that it covers two or more dermatomes. That suggests that it's not a pinched in the neck, but probably a problem in the Inter Scalene Triangle where the artery and nerve bundles to the arm pass.
Ask for Adson's test to be done, though it's a difficult and very sensitive test, unless one does it regularly.
The key sign is that raising your arms above your head is likely to increase the tingling, whereas a pinched nerve in the neck would usually lessen.
The fact that it affects your pinkie rules out Carpal tunnel syndrome.
I'm afraid only a thorough chiropractic examination is likely to plumb the mysteries of your pain. Look for an experience thorough local DC. Take this note with you.
I hope this has contributed.