tingling aching arm

by Wanda
(Bernice, LA, USA)

Tingling aching arm

This is my third week of the pain. First it was around my shoulder blade and if you rubbed around it, I would holler out in pain. The doctor gave me the pregnazone pac (5,4,3,2,1)and my shoulder did get some better.

All along my arm has been aching but over the last week, the pain of the aching is pretty bad. (if I were a child, I would be crying) The tingling will start and get so bad that it feels like my arm will explode and then it will ache.

Can only sleep on my back at night and move my arm a hundred times till my sleeping pill kicks in so I can sleep. Moving it trying to find a comfortable position.

The first week the pain around my shoulder blade was like and icepick sticking in my back and it was throbbing and aching. The back part is better and I can move my head to the right again. The pain definitely gets worse when I lay down.

As I am writing this my arm just had the tingling to almost exploding and now to a raging toothache hurt. Went to doctor the first week and have now seen a chiropractor for a week. The arm hurting is getting worse but the back shoulder blade pain is better. This pain is pretty bad. The aching is on the top right part of my forearm. Sometimes, it is under my arm right above the elbow. Sometimes, the whole arm is hurting.

Last night in bed, there was a throbbing on my forearm closer to the elbow on the inside part of my arm. I haven't had an x-ray yet because you can't x-ray nerves so I was told that wouldn't help.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hello Wanda,
You are experiencing one of the most painful conditions we face at the Chiropractic Coalface. So, don't feel you're being a baby, it hurts and usually hurts a lot. The night pain is a common feature, sometimes your hand under your head might help.

The rhomboid muscle in the shoulder blade region is supplied by a nerve from the lower neck so deep upper back pain is a common feature.

What's interesting though is that the pain is crossing several nerve roots. Which makes me wonder about a thoracic outlet syndrome in which a whole bundle of nerves, and the artery to the arm are pinched. The key sign: in a regular pinched nerve root raising the arm above the head will usually relieve the pain. The so-called Shoulder Abduction Relief sign. However in a TOS raising the arm as in hanging the washing will usually increase the symptoms as both the artery and the nerves are affected.

A cervical rib is another consideration, only detected on X-ray.

I'm afraid I disagree with the advice concerning X-rays. It's true you can't see the nerve root, but what you can see is if there is nerve root encroachment into the foramen by degenerative change of the Uncovertebral Joint Luschka, use this search funtion to find more info: Search this site … Also you can see old disc injury, whether there is a cervical rib... and much other stuff. But an MRI would be better still. But expensive.

Sometimes swinging your arm as in a windmill helps. Absolutely avoid carrying heavy objects in that arm. The definitive test is called the Upper Limb Tension Test which you can test at home. Use that Search function to find it.

Sorry, but you have a very painful, difficult condition. Both chiropractors and medical doctors find it difficult. The right diagnosis is at the heart of success and that means a proper, thorough examination of all these issues. Is your arm going lame, weak? The triceps is the most commonly affected. Try doing press ups. Does the arm tire much more quickly?

Get back to me with answers.

Dr B


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Jul 31, 2013
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reply to tingling aching arm
by: Wanad

My arm feels weaker but I think it is because of the aching. I did press ups and it started tingling under my upper arm and then instantly the hand started the tingle...not just a light tingle, it is like the pressure gets great inside and feels like it might explode???crazy I know.

When I rest my arm on my desk to type, it really starts to tingle like that again and aching. I got in the pool the weekend and the water was cool and I had to get out because of the pain and got in a hot tub and the pain slacked off.
When I move my head to the right, it feels like a toothpick sticking in my back between my shoulder blade and spine.

I have been to a chiropractor three times. Twice he popped my back and all three times we did the therapy on the muscles. I go back tomorrow. I can ask him to do an x-ray.

Hello Wanad,
It's not for me to interfere with your doctor. You must be guided by him. After all, he's the one who can examine you, I'm only surmising.

You might do the Upper Limb Tension Test which will define whether the pinched / irritated nerve is in your back or neck. Is the lower arm much tighter during this test?

The fact that turning your head causes the pain in the midback definitely points to nerve irritation somewhere.

You might suggest, but beware, doctors don't like being told what to do, particularly because you read this or that on the internet! that he test the strength of the triceps muscle, and to do Adson's test, the definitive test for a first rib syndrome.

Again, does raising your arm above your head increase or decrease the pain and tingling in your arm.

Working at the computer stretches out the tethered nerve and is indeed likely to increase the tingling in your arm.

Not a smoker? Sometimes, rarely, a lesion in the upper lung can affect the plexus of nerves passing from the neck to the arm. Unlikely, really quite rare.

In my book an X-ray is indicated, but there's more research coming out about the dangers of ionising radiation, hence his reluctance. Mine too. As I said, an MRI would be safer and give more info.

These days all doctors are used to patients scanning the web for solutions, frankly it's healthy, keeps us on our toes! so perhaps you might print this out and discuss things with him.

Let me know what the ULTT does, and whether raising your arm relieves the tingling in the arm.

Dr B

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