Upper Limb Tension test

by Chris

Uncovertebral = joint of Luschka

Uncovertebral = joint of Luschka


»Upper Limb Tension Test

For eight years I have battled with pain in my shoulder and radiating hand pain. No one found anything. I carried out this test http://youtu.be/ItDS1qJFKyo and the right side is totally different from the left; it doesn't replicate the pain but there is a deep right sensation down the arm; my pain kicks in when weight is applied.

I am a programmer by trade; could this be the cause?

Hello Chris,
I doubt programming is the cause of your troubles but it's certainly an aggravating factor. Make sure your mouse arm elbow is supported. Ideally have the keyboard and mouse on a tray that slides out just above your lap.

That test, the Upper Limb Tension Test, is for an irritated or frankly pinched nerve. Which fingers are affected?

The most commonly affected muscle is the triceps. Lie on your back and using first your left arm, then the right, how many times can you straighten your elbow with a brick in your hand? Is there a marked difference? Does your right arm tire more quickly?

Do you know if the reflexes were affected? Take a pin and prick your arms and hands. Is there a difference? As accurately as you can, describe where.

There are numerous possible causes. It's unlikely to be a slipped disc as it's gone on so long, but it may have started there. More likely is a degenerate uncovertebral joint after an old whiplash. Have you had xrays taken? Got a report for me? Or send jpegs to contact.

Do you have neck pain? If you turn to the right, and then look up, what happens?

If you raise your arms above your head as in using a screwdriver at ceiling height, does your right arm tire very quickly. What happens if you carry a computer case in your right arm?

A cervical rib is one of the possibilities, as is a thoracic outlet syndrome. What's needed is a careful and thorough examination. Has no one ever done the ULTT on you before? It's standard procedure. Another is Adson's test.

Let me have some answers, keeping to this thread.

Dr B


»Upper Limb Tension Test

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Aug 16, 2015
by: Chris

First of all thank you for your reply.

The test you sent is totally different from left to right.

Using a screwdriver above my head, pins and needles and just can't do it. Right shoulder sticks up when laying on my back and right shoulder is dropped when you look from behind. X-rays are clear; no extra rib.

Chris, I need answers to the other questions too. If you want answers, you have to give me more information.

Into google, type winged scapula. Is that what you mean by 'right shoulder is dropped?

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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