I'm currently trying to get an appointment to see my GP but as ever struggling to get in. I play a lot of Rugby (full contact) and while playing a few weeks ago my head got pushed forward and depressed onto my chest, this caused some pain and tingling at the time but I carried on playing; rested for the week and played the following week. While playing the following week I made a tackle with my arm outstretched and my head on the wrong side which sent an instant push of pain and sensation down my arm, I came off the field and have been suffering with shoulder pain since.
The pain in my left shoulder has reduced to a constant ache but increases in intensity when I look up, I can't really turn my head fully to the left and there is some pain turning my head either side, as well as this it feels like it's is grating when I do this. I have pins and needles in the whole of my left hand intermittently and constant pins and needles in the right thumb and index finger which increases in intensity if I lift my hand above my head. There is also some ache and discomfort at the bottom of my shoulder blades, but this may be due to adoption of an awkward posture to alleviate shoulder pain.
I will hopefully see my GP ASAP, but would be interested if I should push/ask specific questions to ensure I get a good consultation.
Thanks in advance.
Thank you for taking the trouble to write an in depth history.
Firstly, when there are symptoms in both arms, you have to take it seriously. No more rugby for the present until your doctor agrees to it.
It's likely that you have both a shoulder injury, and a neck injury, but they may be one and the same. Certainly your cervical spine is involved. The fact that the pain in your left shoulder increases when you look up is very significant.
Normally, if you lift your arm above your head it brings relief to the tingling; the so-called shoulder abduction relief sign. The fact that it increases the tingling in your right hand suggests that the first rib and the thoracic outlet need to be carefully evaluated. The crunch examination is called Adson's test; does the pulse in your wrist stop when you turn your head to the right, look up and take in a deep breath?
Again, the rhomboid muscles between the shoulderblades are supplied with innervation via the dorsal scapular nerve which comes from the lower neck; it's very common that you have both arm, neck and an ache in the midback.
I fear your rugby days are over, Gareth. Go and find another sport that suits your temperament. I gave up squash for different reasons, moped for six months, and then found that gliding was far more interesting. You'll have a similar journey, I suspect.
At the very least a set of x-rays including obliques is indicated for your neck; an MRI would be better still, but expensive.
I would recommend a conusultation with either a neurologist, or a chiropractor with a strong neurological background. Fics trained chiropractors are well qualified to examine you and make recommendations. A call to the BCA would find a local DC.
Good luck, let us know how you get on.
Dr Barrie Lewis