Tingle In Bicep, Forearm, and Hand

by Tim Ellifriz
(Johnsburg, NY, USA)

In 2008 I had c4/c5 disc removed, and vertebra fused after trying PT etc.. MRI and xrays showed disc was ruptured and bone spurring on the vertebra. I had lost much of the strength and use of my right arm, nerve tests reported it at 85% loss I believe from comparing the nerve conductivity to the left side.

The surgery gave me immediate relief from the persistent pain in my shoulder and upper arm. I have done PT since and have regained much use but have yet been able regain full strength in my upper arm and shoulder. I have always had tense muscles there and in my right upper back and neck and sometimes in my forearm. Sometimes my lower bicep gets a sharp pain when in a position like when doing a curl or when you have your hands on your head washing your hair.

I get recurring tendinitis in the back of my right hand, I am an IT person, use computers everyday and I'm a guitarist so this may be unrelated.

I feel the PT usually aggravates the tense muscles and I stop doing it. Maybe I'm not pushing through it but I've been told if it hurts to stop. I would say I might have recovered 2/3 strength/usage of my arm.

Within the past week I have started getting tingling in the area of the bicep, forearm and hand that the top figure in the c5 dermatome image on this page shows. I did take a slip on the ice one week ago and my feet went right out from under me and I landed on my back and right shoulder. Could this have anything to do with it?

I did not use a chiropractor for this before and I'm wondering what might be going on and what steps should be taken for diagnosis and treatment?

Thank You.

Hello Tim,
The fact that the tingling is now in the hand (which fingers by the way?) points to a lower root than C5. After fusion of the C4-C5 joint, the joints above and below have to move more, and hence now the likelihood of a C5-C6 lesion.

The slip on the ice may well have been what provoked it.

Two little tests: Place your hand on your head when the tingling is bad. Does it increase or decrease the tingling?

Secondly, go to Search this site … and type in Upper Limb Tension Test. Do the test, and let me know the result. Keep this link.

Another possibility is that a fall on the shoulder or arm can disturb the first rib-collarbone-scalene muscle complex known as the Inter Scalene Triangle and cause tingling and weakness in the arm. Then raising your arm will often INCREASE the tingling.

Dr B

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Jan 21, 2013
by: Tim Ellifritz

Thank you for answering my question.

The tingle goes from bicep to the inside of my right forearm and into the area of the hand behind the thumb and index finger. I notice it in the thumb but not much in the index finger. When placing my hand on my head the tingling pretty much stops. I can't really do the other test you mentioned my self.

Is it safe to have adjustments after having the fusion that I've had?

Hello Tim,
You have a fairly classic C6 neuralgia. Plus the Shoulder Abduction Relief sign is positive.

Having had a fusion, frankly I would start with the medical world. See your surgeon again, perhaps another MRI.

But when they start talking about another op, consider an experienced and thorough chiro. There are increased risks having had a cervical fusion, but probably not nearly as great as another surgery.

Consider a home traction unit. The kind done lying down.

Dr B

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