Pain, numbness, tingling in hands and arms

by Mike
(Phoenix, AZ)

Uncovertebral = joint of Luschka

Uncovertebral = joint of Luschka


»Pain, numbness, tingling in hands and arms

Hi, I am currently experiencing moderate to severe pain, numbness, and tingling in my hands and arms, primarily in those areas innervated by the ulnar nerve. My pinkie and ring fingers are numb off and on throughout the day, mostly when I use the computer (which I do all day 5 days a week at my job).

I also have numbness that comes and goes along the backs of my arms (triceps area), and aching sensations in my shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands. Driving also aggravates the pain.

The treatments that give me the most relief are heavy sedatives or hypnotics(such as Ambien), prescription muscle relaxants, and cervical traction. Lying down on my back on a hard surface also usually gives me some temporary respite from the pain.

Until recently, I have been self-manipulating my neck for approximately 10 years. I have Tourette Syndrome, and one of my tics involved violently cracking my neck. I don't remember how I initially picked up this tic, and I've known for a long time that it was risky, but due to the nature of Tourette Syndrome it has been extremely difficult to stop performing these motions.

I have finally overcome this habit through therapy and medication, but the pain persists. I recently had an MRI, which shows degenerative uncovertebral joint disease. Here is the MRI report:

FINDINGS: Cervical spinal cord is intact with no abnormal signal identified.

C2-3: Mild left neural foraminal encroachment due to uncovertebral joint degenerative disease. Minimal right encroachment as well.

C3-4: Moderate bilateral neural foraminal encroachment due to degenerative uncovertebral joint disease.

C4-5: Bilateral degenerative uncovertebral joint disease causing mild right greater than left neural foraminal encroachment. Broad-based disc bulge causes
mild canal narrowing.

C5-6: Degenerative uncovertebral joint disease and anterior osteophytic lipping. Mild left neural foraminal encroachment. Mild canal narrowing.

C6-7: Mild canal narrowing due to posterior osteophyte/disc complex and degenerative uncovertebral joint disease.

C7-T1: No significant canal or neural foraminal narrowing.

I have recently started seeing a chiropractic who is manipulating me 3x a week, with a massage beforehand. I am trying to determine what my chances are for recovery without surgery. I have only been seeing the chiropractic for a week so far, and have felt little or no relief so far. He is recommending aggressive cervical traction and pain management.

I'd appreciate your input, since your website contains more information pertinent to my specific situation than any other I've found so far. My chiropractor doesn't seem confident about whether my condition will improve under his care.

Hello Mike,
When chiropractic manipulation is done, the spine is distracted drawing the uncovertebral and facet joints apart; self manipulation means the hyaline cartilage lining these joints is graunched.

Also we recommend no more than perhaps 25 manipulations in a year, but you probably did that in a week.

It's worth giving your chiropractor a solid chance; don't expect miracles because usually this is a slow improvement. If you go on clicking your own neck, he definitely won't succeed. Nor will the surgeon.

You said traction helped, and I would go on with that. Have you got a home traction unit? I would recommend, they aren't expensive.

Good luck, let me know in a month or two how you are getting on. The upper limb tension test is a good objective measure of your progress.

Dr B


»Pain, numbness, tingling in hands and arms

Comments for Pain, numbness, tingling in hands and arms

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 23, 2020
Cervical spinal stenosis
by: Anonymous

can you recommend a good home traction unit for the neck? I have Cervical spinal stenosis of the neck, severe left sided intervertebral foraminal stenosis.

I'm sorry but I can't, not least because I have no idea where you live. In general I prefer those used lying down.

I would hire one first from an orthotist and try it; the height of the pillow is important and the weight. Be prepared to slowly go to greater weight than is generally recommended.

Dr B. R. Lewis DC

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Chiropractic help Questions (Neck pain).

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Then forward it to a friend. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.