Sensation of heaviness/tingling on both arms/face cheeks and neck stiffness

by Crisol
(Lake worth, Florida, United States)

For two weeks now I've had a sensation of heaviness and tingling in both my arms. The sensation doesn't affect both arms at once. It started out only affecting my left arm and shoulder blade and trapezius muscle. Now I've had it on my right arm for 4 days now. The sensation/tingling affects my whole arm, shoulder blade, and all of my fingers except for my little finger.

When I don't have the sensation/tingling in either arm, I have a very stiff neck. My neck feels like it's going to break if I make a sudden movement. It hurts to look up or to turn my head sideways.

For two days the sensation /tingling in my right arm came all the way the right side of my neck and the right side of my face, up to my cheek. My left trapezius muscle was a little swollen compared to my right side but with massages the swelling has gone down, but it still is a little swollen. I don't know if that has to do with it. When I touch my neck and upper back bones along the spine, they feel very sensitive and almost bruised. I have no trouble sleeping at night nor does the pain wake me up at night. I wake up fine, but as soon as I start moving around the sensation/tingling starts. I have a hard time finding a comfortable position to sit it due to the pain in the back of my neck.

I've tried hot compresses and applying bio freeze. That helps only for a little. A doctor also prescribed me a muscle relaxer which does help relieve the pain but it's still there just less noticeable. I'm a 21 year old female who is very active. I haven't been running in 2 months due to mild pain behind the knee. But I used to run 4 miles a day five days a week. Now I take an hour walk once a week and haven't been able to start running again due to the neck pain/stiffness.

Taking a hot shower, being in the sun, and throwing the ball outside seems to make the symptoms go away. I've quit caffeine thinking it was effecting my nerves. I've set up an appointment with my primary for a general check up, but I was also going to ask them about my symptoms. I went to my primary for another symptom that involved mild chest pain that felt like a cramp. The doctor said it was musculoskeletal pain. Those symptoms subsided on their own, but then these other symptoms started.

Hello Crisol,
Whenever these sort of symptoms affect both arms, there's reason to be more cautious. I'd start by asking your doctor to have an x-ray taken of your cervical spine, doing a neurological exam and checking for enlarged lymph nodes and a breast examination; and your thyroid.

Run your fingers down the joints on either side of the breastbone; is there obvious tenderness on one of the joints? Is there a swelling?

When the tingling excludes the pinkie, carpal tunnel should be considered, but my gut feeling is that this is more complex.

When it affects the face, once thinks of jaw joint problems, and very rarely parathyroid gland conditions that affect calcium metabolism.

Frankly I'm really quite unsure, and just shooting off ideas that come to mind; initially, my gut feeling is that this may be a medical rather than chiropractic condition.

Let me know how you get on.

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.

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 painfree. 

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's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's 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 walk 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.

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. Xrays 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 year 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'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.

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 shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

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