Tingling in hands and arms as well as chest ache

by shane
(London, U.K)

Dear Doctor, I would very much appreciate some advice for an issue that has really concerned me for a few years now.

More recent symptoms have been tingling and numbness in my left hand (ring finger and little pinkie finger only), along with a generalized aching in the upper left arm, intermittently while at rest.

These symptoms are predated by intermittent dull aching and pain on the left side of the chest, roughly where the heart/breastbone is I would say. This pain/aching in chest area regularly comes and goes and is unrelated to exertion, and normally occurs when I am at rest. It has occurred for a few years now. Sometimes the chest pain/ache is relatively strong and uncomfortable and at other times it is mild and barely noticeable.

My doctor in the past has guessed at a possible gastro/reflux related cause. GP examinations, resting ecg testing by the doc, as well as at my local hospital, have not uncovered anything abnormal. Chest Xray, examination and blood test at hospital also showed no abnormalities. I am a 42 year old male, light smoker (3-5 per day). Thank you for your time doctor and I look forward to hearing from you.

Dear Shane,
Run your fingers down your chest just on either side of the sternum; are one or more of the costo-sternal joints on the left signficantly more tender that those on the right? Is there a palpable lump? I suspect a condition called costochondritis, which if it worsens can turn into Tietze's syndrome. Use the Site Search function at Chiropractic Help to understand these terms.

There is often associated mid back, near the shoulder blade, discomfort or pain.

The pinkie and ring finger belong very specifically to the C8 dermatome; do you have any lower neck pain; any weakness in the hand such as in removing a tight bottle lid? If you turn your head to the left, and simultaneously look up, what happens?

This can also be caused by what is known as a 'thoracic outlet syndrome.' Then, when you get tingling and numbness in your hand, if you raise your hand above your head, it will usually get worse.

Conversely, from a pinched nerve in the neck, raising your arm brings relief.

Get help from a friend to do the 'upper limb tension test.' See below.

I'm simply throwing out thoughts; if you want useful help, then give me very specific answers to the questions above.

Dr B



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