About 2 weeks ago I popped a rib out in my upper back, causing pain in my
scapula area and difficulty taking deep breaths. I saw a chiropractor, who
did some adjustments, which helped the breathing, but not the pain. My
doctor says I have a pinched ulnar nerve, and recommends physical therapy.
There is weakness of my left hand and occasional tingling in the pinky and
ring finger. Quite a bit of constant aching and pain in the scapula area
and under the upper arm. Can a physical therapist get a nerve out from
under? Or should I see a different kind of specialist? Should I apply
cold or heat to the area? What else can I do to correct the problem?
The symptoms you describe certainly sound like you have a nerve root lesion which is affecting the
upper thoracic nerve root (T1), this root gives most of the nerve fibers to the small muscles within the hand and also sensation to the pinky finger, via the ulnar nerve.
I do not know what exactly has happened to the nerve, an MRI scan of the area would be needed to visualize it and I cannot say what a physical therpist could achieve.
This is a serious condition, anything which compromises hand function should be taken seriously and
I would be more comfortable if you had further investigation, this would involve an MRI scan of the area and possible an EMG to prove at exactly which level the ulnar nerve is compromised.
I would suggest that you see an Neurologist who performs EMG to clarify this, I would not bother with heat or cold as they will not make any difference to the underlying problem.
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