upper side back pain with numbness in index finger after painting a room


This happened suddenly. I was painting a room and got upper back pain on the right side. A couple of days later I also got numbness in my right index finger. Also had, but not anymore, tingling in my right arm with minor discomfort in my right elbow.

The back pain is not as bad as originally but varies in intensity usually worse later in the day. No change in the numbness.

I should also mention I had breast cancer in my right breast but over 6 years ago. I've completed my painting so thought I would wait and see after resting for a couple of days. Concerned about whether I shouldn't wait to see a doctor. I am 66.

Hello,
It sounds like things are improving, so perhaps you could wait a little longer. Having said that, I usually recommend that if it goes down your arm that it's better to get a professional opinion sooner rather than later.

The index finger belongs to the C6 dermatome; anything in the thumb?

If turning your head to the right, and then looking up, provokes any symptoms in your arm, then I would not delay; that's called Spurling's sign and a cause for concern.

If you prick your index finger, how does it compare with the other hand.

This is unlikely related to your breast cancer. Looking up for a prolonged period narrows the foramena where the nerve roots emerge often provoking this type of tingling and pain.

What's important is that you get over this; once it's chronic, you have it for life. Perhaps give it a few more weeks, but not longer.

Everyone who has had breast cancer should make sure you have plenty of lignins in the diet; google it. Freshly ground flax seed is probably the best source; you need a coffee grinder. I would make homemade bread using 100 percent wholemeal flour, if you can find it. We have a lot of pages on the subject at our other site; type bread into the site search function at chiropractic help.

Let me know how you get on.

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.

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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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