Swollen above left clavicle and tingling left hand

Inter scalene triangle

Inter scalene triangle

Swollen above left clavicle and tingling left hand

Lets start with my profession. I am a professional wedding photographer and when I'm not shooting, I am sitting at my computer working on files. I am also a very restless sleeper and tend to favor sleeping on my left side.

A month ago, I was really sick with a cold. Severely congested, horrible cough and fever. After the 3rd day, a fellow photog noticed that my neck / trap / collarbone area was very swollen. I thought it might have been the way I was sleeping.

For 4 months my left hand has been 'falling asleep'. Tingling more than numb. Usually constant yet sometimes will stop. If I exercise it is worse. I hike in the mountains and find that my hand goes severely numb and tingling and then I feel a bit dizzy. I thought the dizzy was because I am a bit out of shape. (I am 5'3" and 129)

I have Celiac Disease and Hypothyroid (100mg synthroid daily). I am osteopenic.

Since yesterday I have noticed that behind my left ear, it is also starting to tingle.

My family doctor seemed quite concerned since my chest is also tight. My husband keeps telling me it is because my muscles are super tight from being stressed. I am in the middle of my busy season and am also a mother and wife trying to juggle everything. I just had a bunch of blood work done and on tuesday I am going for xrays of my C7 area, neck and supraclavular area as well as an ultra sound.

I am tired.

I have also noticed that my left eye swells (gets puffy under my eye). Goes away near the afternoon.

I have medium high blood pressure. I have a heart murmur but a crazy high heart rate these days. ie/ 133 over 91 with 78 bpm or 124 over 93 with 96 bpm

My neck cracks alot on its own. I have scoliosis and wore a back brace in my teen years for 4 years.





Dear F,
Firstly thank you for a concise, clear history. I wish everyone could write like you!

Your doctor is following the right course. Any swelling around the collarbone needs to be examined carefully. The brachial plexus of nerves pass through the area, hence the tingling in your arm.

Take note of exactly which part of your arm and hand tingles. Try pricking with a needle, comparing right and left.

Note whether placing your hand on your head relieves or increases the tingling.

Ask your doctor to check Adson's test for the pulse in the arm. Both the nerves and the artery to the arm pass through the Inter Scalene Triangle and it's important to know whether one or both are affected.

Carry your camera bag over the other shoulder. Don't carry heavy shopping bags with your left arm. If your neck cracks of itself don't be too concerned but don't pop it deliberately, it will only aggravate the problem. See the newsletter sent separately.

I'm not too concerned about your weight, your BMI is perfect, nor about your BP. The fluctuating heart rate is to do with your thyroid condition.

Your thyroid and parathyroid glands sit right there in that area too, so a consult with that specialist should be part of the examination.

I hope this has contributed something. Tired? Which mother, wife, housewife, busy job isn't? But perhaps your thyroid levels need to be checked. When did you last have two, or preferably three consecutive week's holiday?



Dr Barrie Lewis


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