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Shoulder Pain, Tingly Arm, Pinched Nerve?
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Shoulder Pain, Tingly Arm, Pinched Nerve?

Hello, for over a month now I've been having tingling and numbness in the L hand and some in the L arm.  Its not exactly the pins-and-needles feeling i get from sleeping on the hand sometimes, but it is similar.  About last week I began having a burning pain in my shoulder and shooting pains in my L forearm.  I saw a doctor (physicians assistant, actually) who said that it was probably a pinched nerve.

He also said that my left hand was much weaker than my right.  This bothered me because I'm left handed and thought that at work I used my left for most of the lifting.  I could be wrong, in retrospect.  There is actually a visual difference in my left and right biceps.

I was given tylenol 3 for the pain (1 every 4 hours).  I had been taking aspiren w/ codeine (200mg/8mg) before i was given this prescription (they were purchased OTC when I was in canada).  I think they might have cut down in the effectiveness of it because now when I take it, I only get pain relief for 30 minutes at the most (and really only if i chew it).  The pain keeps getting worse and I'm beggining to think it isn't a pinched nerve.  Surely if it were, it would have been better within a month especially with NSAID + narcotic treatment I had been using.

Is it possible its some peripheral neuropathy?
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Avatar_n_tn
The symptoms you describe are consistent with a pinched nerve (which really is one form of peripheral neuropathy anyway)

The NSAIDs and narcotics will only disguise the pain, they will not do anything to what is underlying the cause of the pinchd nerve.

You may have carpal tunnel syndrome, a pinched median nerve at the wrist causing weakness in the hand and pain in the hand and forearm. Pain and weakness in the biceps may mean a pinched nerve higher up, for instance in the brachial plexus or neck.

An EMG and nerve conduction studies of the left arm are indicated and may disclose the site and severity of the nerve involvement. An imaging study, MRI, of the neck or brachial plexus (in teh armpit area) may be indicated, depending what your neurologists opinion is.

Good luck
22 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
It is with these aforementioned symptomologies that your possible pathologies are as follows: median nerve mononeuropathy at the wrist (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), ulnar neuropathy at the elbow, brachial plexopathy, or cervical radiculopathy at the level of C6, C7, or C8. Keep in mind that it is difficult to have a proper diagnosis without a full physical examination by the qualified neurologist accompanied with electrodiagnostic procedures (i.e NCV/EMG).

However, with your first array of symptoms without "burning pain in the shoulder that radiate to the arm," I am more likely to suspect Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Good luck.
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Thanks, I saw the neuro yesterday.  He said it was a ulnar neuropathy and that if the EMG supported that conclusion, I'd have to have surgery.  How effective is the surgery?  I have a friend with cubital tunnel syndrome who refuses to have the surgery because he says it is too risky.   Is that true or does he just like his constant script of lortabs?
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Avatar_n_tn
Have the NCV/EMG first and then decide. It is not a good idea to have axonal injury from entrapment ulnar neuropathy. If your case is mild, conservative therapy is often warranted. However, if it is severe, surgery is an option.
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I guess the doc decided that the pain in my shoulder wasn't important and they didn't even look at it on the EMG.  All the doc said after it was done was that my nerves in the area were slow all around and that there was some inflammation but didn't say what that meant or what they'd do about it.
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About two years ago I had burning pain in my neck shoulder and arm.  Went to an Orthopedic and a neurologist.  It was determined that I had a pinched nerve in my neck area.  I went for therapy for two months and was given exercises and a device to hang in if I had problems.  About a month ago the burning started again in the shoulder and upper arm area.  I have been exercising and using my hanging device, but the burning and pain continues.  It is intermittant at the presence and Extra Strength Tylenol does relieve it a bit. My main problem is when I use my hanging apperatice, for around 10 minutes and then take it off my neck and face burns like fire.  Could I have another problem instead of the pinched nerve?
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Hi, I have had a stiff neck like feeling for about a month now. It started one morning while pulling bundles of newspapers over the front seat of my car from the back seat, it was a saturday when I have 22 bundles in all.
This was on my right side and the pain is kinda pin pointed half way between the outside of my shoulder and my spine. Last weekend I noticed that my right arm and a couple fingers in my right hand were falling asleep. I figured it was time to get something looked at but without insurance I didn't want to go the doctor route, so on Tuesday I decided to go get a massage.
The LMT I went to see did some arm tests and proceeded to massage the area of pain. She said I was all tight and stuff all over the neck and back areas. After all was said and done I made another appointment for Thursday and went back again. She worked the area over again but we were kinda thinking it was more than just a muscle problem.
Then last night sitting here at my computer I noticed something that never dawned on me before. When I slouch forward even a little, thats when my arm and fingers start to go numb, and as soon as I sit up straight it comes back. My conclusion is its time for an MRI (UGH!)
I have always been a sloucher, even way back in school(I'm 42 now) the teachers were always telling me to "sit up straight".
Trying to get to sleep has been the worst, especially after waking up way before its time to get up. From sleeping and not moving the pain and throbbing in my shoulder, arm and back is unbelievable. As I am a person that can not sleep on my back this created an even bigger problem for sleeping. I have to have my arms under my head and pillow, and with this problem I can not put them there. Last night I came up with an idea, I put a camera box that is the same height as my arm off the bed, next to my arm under the pillow. This allowed me to have my arm under my head and pillow but the weight was resting on the box, there was no pressure at all on my arm or shoulder. I have built a proto type device today to market for this purpose. Try the box idea, it will work for you too, it only has to be like 8x8 or so.
I will update you on my next move when it happens, its looks like it will be a trip to the doctors for an MRI.
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Avatar_n_tn
I've had a pain at the top of my shoulder now for about a week.  It's travel's at times from there to that little knot that connects the back of your neck to your shoulder blade, and then to my bicep (if I had one)down to the elbow area (the front part actually). the arm part doesnt really hurt, though at time I feel pain and a need to reach back and squeeze that knot or the top part of my shoulder.  but it is such a big dull ache that I can barely concentrate at times.  When the pain does come I feel like I have to move it to get relief but no kind of movement help.  The whole area at differnet spots at times get's rely tingly to the point of thinking it's itchy and just the slight pressure of a warm squeeze or light rubbing very temporarily helps (meaning feels okay only while being rubbed or squeezed).  I've been told by friends that I am favoring my right side.  I have been told by a doctor that I do indeed have a pinched nerve and was prescribed Skelaxin 800mgs to be taken twice a day and Naproxen 500 mgs to be taken 3 times a day.  I started taking the meds  two day ago and have no relief.  How long does it take this medicine to start working?  What can I do to help it?  Thx
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Avatar_n_tn
Along with my last message please note, that the tingly feeling is closer to the way your skin feels after pulling open the oven rack and the oven mit fell.  Kinda like a singed feeling.  Does anyone know what I mean?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am female, 48  yr. old, recently diagnosed with Osteoporosis. On top of that I have had what I considered stiff neck most of my life. Although stiff, not debilitating nor have my activities been restricted. Approx. 6 weeks ago, the stiffness and stabbing pains in the upper right shoulder blade area were intense to the point of driving me for relief. I scheduled a massage specific to this area to try and gain relief; but to no avail. Soon after the massage I began with the tingling down my right arm. I visited my primary care physician for the routine x-ray, 6 pk of steroids and muscle relaxers. The x-ray showed C5, C6 and C7 with little disc space; the steroids gave no relief and the muscle relaxers only knocked me out. The tingling became more intense and more frequent and no relief of back pain. An MRI was scheduled, the report was taken to a Spine specialist. Unfortunately the quality of the MRI was too poor to obtain a clear reading (per the specialist comment). What he could see was a limited amount of spinal fluid around the C5,6,7 area and possibly some abnormality. He has prescribed Neurontin (300mg) to settle the nerve ending pains/discomforts until we can get more tests scheduled (Mylogram and EMG). I wait anxiously to get the results of the two new tests and to understand the next steps. The neurontin is a very strong medicine to be taken at night only...with my body size, they have started me on 100mg for first week, 200mg next week, 300 mg third week; I have been on the 100mg dose for 6 days and can see some relief in the intensity of the tingling sensations. However the numbness is still present in my right hand and has not diminished. The pains in my neck/back area are still present and are more bothersome as the days drag on.
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Hi,  I'm a 42 year old female and I've been suffering with shoulder pain on my left side since last fall.  I slipped on a ceramic floor and landed on outstretched hands.  I landed with such force and bruised both palms of my hands immediately.  The pain I felt at the time was in my hands and felt no immediate pain in the shoulder area.  A couple of days later my shoulder began to pain and worsened as the days went on.  I went to my GP and he sent me for xrays of my shoulder.  He said that I had sprained my shoulder and sent me for physio.  I attended physio every week for four and a half months.  I was treated with electric muscle stimulation, ultrasound, infrared and accupuncture.
It is now a year later and I am still suffering with constant pain.  I cannot sleep at night, I wake every couple of hours due to pain.  I can't lift my arm above my head making it very difficult to get dressed or brush my hair.  When I attempt to move my arm above my head or to the side, I get a severe pain that radiates down my arm and up to my ear.  It actually almost feels as if my shoulder may be slipping out of joint at times.  
Any advice you could give me would be appreciated.  Any exercises that may help, or any ideas on why this won't go away.  Any suggestions that I may pass along to my GP of what may be causing all the pain or a remedy for it would be appreciated.
Thanks so much, Bri
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Avatar_n_tn
Im 47 and I think Ive pinched a nerve at the top of my arm/shoulder,its really painfull and I have a little trouble lifting it at a cetain angle,but I think its from lying on it whilst I sleep,Im trying different cushions.Im just about sure its from lying on it?anybody care to comment please?
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Avatar_n_tn
For about 3 weeks now I have had a dull ache in the back area of my shoulder and my right arm tingles everytime I sit or crouch down.  Does anybody have any idea what might be causing this?  I don't know whether to go to a masseuse, chiropractor or what?  Any suggestions.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am seeking knowledge.  I started experiencing the symptoms of a pinched nerve at C6 in mid-July of this year.  It is not readily improving, and I would like to learn what treatment solutions have worked for others.  My symptoms are: parasthesia, tingling from the left upper shoulder, down the tricep, across the forearm and down to the end of the left thumb.  The parasthesia intensifies into a dull ache, and then into a sharp ache, if I persist in testing it.  The movement that produces the problem is extension of the neck (tilting head back past upright).  Since onset 90 days ago, the problem is getting worse, not better.  This is ruining my life, thanks.  Largest Olgars.
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Which doctor should I see first---my neuro or primary care physician or ????  

For almost seven weeks, I've experienced 'numbness' in my left hand/fingers including pain/tightness in the left arm/shoulder.  This has been 24X7; sometimes the numbness or burning pain is more intense than other times, but always there.  I already have a neurologist due to M.S. diagnosis in 1990....  however, I had a problem about two years ago that appeared to be M.S. related, but according to the MRIs, it was not.  (See what I posted two years ago below.)  

After all the diagnostics (including brain & cervical spine MRI, lumbar MRI, pelvic MRI, plus nerve/muscle test), there was no diagnosis; I'm happy to say that everything eventually resolved, but it took several months.  My right knee reflex returned also.  :-)

My neuro's assistant suggests either that I can schedule with them or go see my primary care......  I know the neurologist is an MS Clinic (UT Southwestern) and maybe they would rather not mess with me given my last episode when it was NOT the M.S.....  (I fooled everybody -OR- the MRI didn't show something -OR- something didn't show on the MRI.)

I have been putting this off in hopes the problem would disappear or begin to subside, but it has not.  Some people suggest massage, and others suggest chiropractor....(which I've never been to one and not too sure about that type of treatment).  

What do you advise?

Thank you!
Joni

------------------------

HERE'S WHAT I POSTED 9/22/03 (ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO)
Here's a brief summary of what has brought me here, besides my impatience in hearing back from my neuro on last week's c- and t-spine MRI (!):

- Foot drop started 8/29, but disappeared by 9/5.
- Knee pain/ache/numbness/burning started soon after 9/5 and has not gone away. (I have self-administered a previous prescription of neurontin, so maybe that's helping.)

I could not understand why an l-spine was not
ordered--so was the MRI tech--but as my neuro asst said--because of my M.S. (multiple sclerosis), they have to look at what's 'most likely.'

I do have the MRI summaries, but they don't make a lot of sense to me, though it looks like the t-spine is normal. However, it looks like there are issues with the c-spine. Specifically, the findings say:

Disk desiccation and mild disk space narrowing at C5-C6.

... blah-blah-blah ... (this is probably the part that tells the story, but it doesn't look like it to me.)

There are also, however, degenerative changes. Evaluation of the individual levels demonstrates at C4-C5, minimal central disk ridge complex without central canal or neural foraminal stenosis.

At C5-C6, there is a diffuse disk osteophyte complex eccentric toward the left, associated with mild flattening of the ventral thecal sac and mild to moderate central canal stenosis. Left greater than right uncovertebral hypertrophy is also present associated with mild to moderate left and mild right-sided neural foraminal stenosis.
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So can someone have the kind of symptoms I've experienced with the short-lived foot drop and now the knee 'pain' with cervical spine issues?? Or do they need to look at the lumbar, too? I just hate to blame everything on the M.S.! I was involved with a challenging strength training class when all this started......
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I am a 37 year old female whom has been going through extreme pain for almost six months now. Pain starts at the back of my head, goes down my neck across my shoulders and down my right arm, giving me very limited use of my right arm, and very bad headaches. My GP thinks it is fibromylgia (fibromyalgia) but I don't think it is.  Having an MRI on Oct30/05 of my neck and shoulder hopefully that will tell us what is going on.  I think it might be a pinched nerve. Also was in car accident 5yrs ago about 10wks pregnant at the time of the accident. Does anyone have any suggestions? confused?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am on crutches and think I may have pinched a nerve under my arm.  I have tingling below my elbow and in my hand.  I have lost strength in my fingers.  What is the treatment for this?
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Avatar_n_tn
OK I need help! For about a week now, on and off, I experience numbness in my left arm, shoulder, neck and left side of my face. My PCM told me to go straight to the ER where a Physician said I had Bell's Palsy. Im totally confused at this diagnosis because how would that effect my arm, neck, shoulder?

Anyways, the more I read and research the more I strongly feel that I have a pinched nerve. Can that effect my face as well?

I have no drooping, etc... and my CT scan came back normal.
Should I demand an MRI? Any help is greatly appreciated. They have me on Predisone and ibuprofen. The numbness is still coming and going and now my muscles in my left arm are sore.

Any help appreciated!!
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The pain I feel is stiffness, acheyness in my lower back, also sharp and dull pains in the upper back. My neck is so stiff, that it becomes extremely painfull moving it up or down, side to side. I get the popping and throbbing feeling when I lift my arms up to take a shirt off. I feel like  its dislocating back and forth. My hands are knumb and it hurts to open and close a fist. Please help me, tell me what to do for pain.
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My wife started having pain in between the spine and upper left shoulderblade about a week ago. She has been observing it and she noticed that the pain is worst when she is sitting down and less lying down. The pain radiates to her left uppet arm to almost the wrist? It is not relieve by motrin 800 mg and minimal relief with hot/cold packs. I would very very much appreciate any advice from MDs or anyone who has experinced these symptoms. She is 45 yrs old. Help please.

James A.
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