upper right back pain with numbness and pain down to the pinkie

Relief, or worse?

Relief, or worse?

I have very severe upper back pain; way over 10 and way past many doses of ibuprofens/naproxen, heat/cold and tiger balms over the last week; in the middle and to the right.

It radiates down to my right arm and there is numbness and pain on the outer side of my arm to my little finger. It hurts to raise my arm but not so much while keeping my arm perpendicular to my body but not outstretched works to relieve. I cannot tilt my neck back without excruciating pain.

If I lean back on my chair, I need to be stiff and use my lower back muscles entirely or I will suffer. The pain is excruciating in the evening and night.
I just went to see a nurse urgently. I cried when trying to log roll down on my left side and lie down for her to examine; so she could not examine me lying down. I wake up several times at night if I even roll over a bit towards the middle or my right. So not very good sleep either. I also have nausea and am eating poorly but the nurse thinks it might be the level of pain. I dread evenings and sleeping, even if it's on a chair now because lying down is a painful procedure.

She prescribed a muscle relaxant to take at night because it's obvious that I am not sleeping well. She did not do x rays because she thinks its connected to a prior diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis that I have in both my hands and for which I take plaquenil and feels ok/no pain unless I use my thumbs but it's bearable. She had me bend over and that I can do, so no broken bones.

I am generally an active person, do martial arts regularly for many years and stretch to feel good. I am 42 yrs old female. Last week when the pain started suddenly in the night, I had not been active for a week due to work, so not an injury. Thank you for any advice. I am very afraid also because I have never had back ache or so much pain, something I am checked for a lot because of the hand issue.

The two big features here are pain on extending your neck and the tingling and pain radiating to the C8 dermatome.

Here are two particular tests I'd like you to do.

1. Look up, already painful, then rotate your head and neck to the right side. What EXACTLY do you feel. Do it gently.

2. Using the search function in the navigation bar at Chiropractic Help, type in upper limb tension test. Let me know what the result is.

This is one of the most painful and difficult conditions faced by any doctor. Don't feel you are being a baby; it's extremely sore.

Have you had any old injuries to your neck?

When the pain is bad, raise your arm above your head. Do you get relief, or is it worse?

Let me know.

Dr B

» upper right back pain with numbness and pain down to the pinkie

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