shoulder pain and numbness

by nicky
(kent england)

One week ago I started to get excruciating pain in the back of my neck and shoulders, I was given pain relief by the doctor and told to return if it worsens. I now have numbness and aches in my right arm predominantly but also slight numbness in my left arm.

I also have numbness in my upper left leg and under my ribs on the right side. I find my breathing quite laboured and feel week and tired most of the time. My doctor has referred me for an mri scan but they can take weeks to come through; should I be panicking?

It's so painful and I can't work while like this which is also frustrating as I can't give a time as to when I will be back to work. I hope you can help me, many thanks, Nicky.

Hello Nicky,
Does it hurt in your ribs if you take in a deep breath? You say "under my ribs". Is that at the back or under your breast, and around the sternum?

See what provokes the pain and numbness. Does turning your head hurt, especially if you look up at the same time, or your whole torso?

Do you have no lower back pain, just numbness in your upper leg? Can you provoke that numbness?

If you raise your arms, or move them behind your back, what happens?

It seems you're in good hands; panicking will just add to the confusion, so keep your emotions under control. Just be kind to yourself right now; only very basic housework, short walks. If anything else develops over the weekend be sure to let your doctor know immediately.

It could be a pinched nerve in the neck, but that's unlikely to affect your leg. Do the "upper limb tension test" and let me know the result.

If you raise your arm above your head, does it relieve the numbness in your arm, or make it worse? Precisely where in your arm is the numbness?

Lots of questions. Print these out and take the answers to your doctor; it will help him figure this out.

Dr B



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