upper back pain with numbness in the index finger and thumb


I have a knotted/pinched nerve pain toward my left upper back that extends down my arm and causing my index finger thumb to become numb at the tips only.

I have gone to the doctor who believes I have an ulnar compression and also to physical therapy. The arm and elbow pain seems less, only prominent when I bend forward (tying shoe), I can feel the tingling down from my elbow to my wrist.

The upper left back/shoulder pain is mostly felt when I sit.

The only relief I get is sleeping or lying on my back.

What types of exercises do you recommend and how long does this take to heal?

I have a problem with your doctor's diagnosis. The ulnar nerve supplies the other side of the hand; you would be feeling it in the pinkie.

The thumb and index finger belong very specifically to the C6 nerve root; this problem is in your neck, not your elbow.

You are fortunate that you have less pain at night; that's not the way it usually is.

If you turn your head to the left, and then look up, what happens? If it radiates down your arm it's called Spurling's sign, and is likely to be difficult.

Using the site search function in the navigation bar at Chiropractic Help, type in 'upper limb tension test'. Ask someone to help you do it; what do you find?

Watch out for weakness of elbow extension; the triceps muscle is often affected. Do you know if any of the reflexes have been affected?

This can be difficult; you give no time frame, but it's probably time for a cervical spine x-ray including obliques; the problem is often in the joints of Luschka.

Dr B

» upper back pain with numbness in the index finger and thumb

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