Waves of pain in forearm

by Lucy

I had a scooter accident a week ago; nothing broken - phew! I hit my windshield (main point of impact neck/windpipe) but had bruising on my chest and biceps. Initially I had no symptoms from my left arm, but after five days, I started experiencing waves of deep pain in my forearm enough to wake me up or stop the conversation!

The pain is deep inside the forearm, sometimes below my bicep too and is sometimes accompanied by a slight tingling in my little and ring finger. The pain comes and goes randomly, even when resting. My neck is OK from the x-ray, just a bit achey, but I've been wearing a neck brace for 7 days as prescribed.

Putting my arm on my head doesn't do anything. I tried doing the Adson's test; nothing the first few times, but when I took a really big breath, I got another big wave of pain.

Should I go back to the emergency room to get it checked out or would it be better to get this seen by a physio / chiropractor?

Thank you!

Hello Lucy,
It's unfortunate but these things happen; I ride a motorcycle myself.

The first thing to watch out for is swelling in the arm; a clot is most unlikely, but serious. In which case see your doctor immediately.

More likely is an injury to the ulnar nerve in the elbow, or in the thoracic outlet, or in your neck.

You are unlikely to be able to do Adson's test yourself; it's difficult and subjective and requires a lot of experience to make a dianosis.

But when you turned your head and looked up, did you get any lower neck or arm pain and tingling? That would suggest an injury to your lower neck.

What you could do is the upper limb tension test for a pinched nerve in the arm; type the term into the search engine at Chiropractic help. If that's positive then I'd certainly see a local chiropractor; take the xrays of your neck with you.

Let me know how you get on, and whether the ULTT is positive.

Meantime, just be kind to yourself, and don't carry anything heavy in that arm.

Dr B

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