Tingling sensations and numbness in my thumb and forefinger lead me to try a lot of things. Some helped, some didn't....
...very informative and thanks for sharing, good info. I now have a direction to go in trying to figure out what my issues are with this numbing and tingling firing up on my arm.
Posted by J Miller on 11/18/2008 at 2:35:PM
... sorry for the delay, I got busy with work stuff. I'm planning on cranking these out now, I just posted the Correct Diagnosis blog, hopefully the next one is only a few days out. Thanks for your patience. Rich
Posted by Rich Leach on 01/28/2009 at 8:22:PM
Art- You are correct, when I mention traction without downward pressure I'm referring to traction applied with a device like the over the door traction unit or if you're on the table with a massage therapist sometimes they'll use a towel around your head and slowly lift and pull at the same time, literally pulling your head away from your body. A device like the Pronex unit applies its force by forcing pressure against your shoulders to force your head and spine up, which may aggravate certain conditions. I'm almost done with my next blog entry which just happens to cover traction devices; stay tuned!
Posted by Rich Leach on 02/28/2009 at 9:02:AM
Hi Rich: Thanks for taking the time to write these articles. I'm in my early 40s and have cervical radiculopathy. Started 4 months ago. I've been doing chiropractic, some acupuncture, even medical laser therapy. Still having major problems. Anti-inflammatory drugs don't seem to do anything. I'm wearing a soft cervical collar which helps a bit, in terms of taking some pressure off. I look forward to your next installments in the series. Thanks again.
Posted by Andrew Starling on 03/02/2009 at 4:03:PM
Hi Andrew -- I'm in the same boat. It started with a hugh pain in my arm, then had heaviness in my shoulder, then tingling in my thumb and forefinger. Then the tingles went away, but had lots of pain radiating down the arm, now 4 month later, I get some pain off and on, no tingling, but overall weakness in the arm. I've been going to PT, but not really sure than is working. I'm wondering -- what are the signs that it's gettting better? How long do people have this?
Posted by Art CR on 03/02/2009 at 6:20:PM
Hey Rich: This is actually the 3rd time I've had these symptoms. They started in 2007. I would have trouble for about 4 months, then the problem goes away for 4 months, then returns. I was doing chiropractic and a bit of acupuncture before. Cannot say if the symptoms disappeared naturally over time, or if the chiropractic and acupuncture helped. If anyone has a magic bullet that will get rid of this let me know. Currently, I am waiting to have a nerve conduction study done at the hospital. I've had a CT scan which indicated bulging discs at the base of my neck and some osteophyte issues. Maybe some disc degeneration also. Sounds like I'm in my 80s, but as I mentioned I'm early 40s. If anyone has some good exercises or any suggestions please let me know. I would rather be proactive about this problem rather than sitting around. I have similar problems with numbness radiating down my right forearm and into my thumb and index finger. Pain around the right shoulder, pectoral region. Soreness running down the right side of my cervical spine. I'm right-handed and it makes work difficult. If I find anything that really helps I will post here. Best wishes to everyone.
Posted by Andrew Starling on 03/02/2009 at 8:24:PM
@Andrew- You're welcome, sorry to hear you're dealing with this problem too. My next few series are definitely going to be of value to you, will try to get them out by this weekend. @Art- Have you had x-rays? If your discs have completely deteriorated you may be into something different. When I saw my x-rays we (the doc and I) still saw some disc left, so our plan was to work on bring fluid into the area (traction) and strengthening the surrounding muscles (isometrics) and wow, after about a week I really noticed a difference. Again, I've got another blog entry coming out discussing all of that. So sorry it's taken me so long! I've been busy with work, and with the economy the way it is I've been trying to stay focused. Hang in there! Rich
Posted by Rich Leach on 03/03/2009 at 8:53:AM
Hi Rich --I initially had a big pain in the arm, like you, a knock your socks off pain. Then that subsided, and what remained was pain/heaviness in the shoulder blade. Then that subsided in a few days and I was left with buzzing/tingles in the forefinger and thumb. I had a MRI that showed the disk hitting the nerve at C6. Then I started PT and the numbness pretty much stopped around that time. Had some nerve tests and they were ok. After two weeks of PT, I had tremendous pain in the forearm. That went away after about one month and a new therapist who took a different approach with my neck and gave me stretches and exercises, which the initial therapist did not do. Now in what is my 4th month of this, what appears to remain is a general feeling of fatigue in the arm and some heaviness and maybe tingling in the back of the shoulder. I only have a few sessions of PT left, and am starting acupuncture on Saturday to see if that helps...everyone says it can't hurt. Then I'm headed back to the doctor mid-month to report on where I am to see what is next, which he said would be a cortisone shot in the neck which would reduce inflammation. I am hoping the doctor will prescribe more PT, rather than a shot, but I was told the insurance company would have to review my case beyond 24 sessions of PT, which I am almost at now.
Posted by Art CR on 03/03/2009 at 7:50:PM
@Art- Have you visited with a qualified massage therapist? Not that a physical therapist won't help you, but my biggest success with nailing down this thing is described here: http://cfsnap.com/cfsnap.cfm?webtool=8-Steps-to-Beating-Cervical-Radiculopathy-Correct-Diagnosis Hope this helps! Rich
Posted by Rich Leach on 03/04/2009 at 9:33:AM
Rich, I started with a crick in my neck, within a week I experienced and still do excruciating pain in my right shoulder under the blade up around under my arm and shoots to my right elbow. That continues and then thumb, index and middle finger tingling. Now numbness and tingling in my right arm. I've seen my GP and see an orthopedist this week. Xray appears to indicate a possible disc problem. None of the meds rx'd have helped. Your thoughts?
Posted by Mary Mosby on 03/08/2009 at 2:45:PM
@Mary- Sorry to hear about your pains. Remember, I'm not a doctor, but make sure you continue to tell whomever you're working with (doctor, ortho, massage, etc) about your specifics, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers. The first few fingers usually indicate an impingement of the ulnar nerve, and when the outside fingers are affected it's usually the radial nerve (or vice versa.... I told you I wasn't a doctor ;-)) What I'm saying is those symptoms sound very specific. I know they can also do nerve conduction tests as well, so see what the experts tell you and hang in there. BTW, I'm also done with my cervical traction blog, will be posting it shortly....
Posted by Rich Leach on 03/08/2009 at 10:21:PM
I went back to my doctor and basically he told me that the next step after the two months of PT that I already had would be a cortisone shot in the neck. At this point, I have to say that I think I'll do this because the arm is simply not the same as it was -- it doesn't appear that the pressure has been removed after traction and PT. I feel for everyone, as this is very difficult to deal with.
Posted by Art CR on 04/05/2009 at 11:12:PM
@Art. If you do get the cortisone shot would you be so kind as to post about what is involved? That may be something I will have to have in the near future and I would like a first-hand account to make a judgement call. These days I'm having physiotherapy and acupuncture twice a week. Still waiting for an MRI. Had a nerve conduction study that indicated there is definitely a problem. I've had symptoms over 5 months now. Right arm. Mostly shoulder, forearm, wrist, top of hand, thumb and index finger. Been off work for over 3 months. Thanks for any insight you can provide.
Posted by Andrew Starling on 04/13/2009 at 3:11:PM
I've had the symptoms for about that same amount of time -- its very, very difficult, and has morphed and changed throughout. Lately, my arm just doesn't "feel right" any longer. Meaning the wrist feels odd, the forearm off, I have pain now in my shoulder. Overall tired arm. I beginning to wonder if its something like Lyme, even though the MRI showed a disk problem. There are a number of places on the internet that talk about the shot -- yif ou can do a search you'll find them.
Posted by Art CR on 04/13/2009 at 9:20:PM
Thank-you for the information. I have not been diagnosed yet but my symptoms started in my Rt shoulder blade and kink in my neck too. But then after the pain/knot in the shoulder was gone I began having pain where my shoulder and arm attach that radiated down my arm until it reached my thumb. My thumb is basically numb all the time and then I get shooting pain down my arm with irritation and for what ever reason it wants to start again. Coughing is horrid. To make things worse I have a long hx or non/rarely treated neck pain, plus in October I fractured my clavicle which may also be a factor, I had noted some of these symptoms while it healed but nothing to this extent. I have always done well with ignoring pain but when my thumb is numb all the time, something is wrong. My doctor did an MRI which shows a extrusion type herniation on the left at C5-6 and other various degenerative changes (could possibly be related to this) at every level except C-7 T-8. I had a Nerve Conduction Test which they say showed nothing but one nerve shows that there may be some future problem (I still need a copy of it). I was able to be into another doctor in my office who referred my to PT the herniation. Hmm.. She seemed to miss what side is bothering me. I have had luck in the past for other things with PT and I am hopeful. I thought that they recommend traction though. Although they are working on loosening up the neck with manual traction through massage.
Posted by Beth AW on 04/22/2009 at 8:51:PM
@Beth. Sorry to hear you have this problem also. If you read the above comments you will get a sense of my particular issues. My nerve conduction test indicated I had some issues. Lately I have been doing PT, with cervical spine traction and some acupuncture twice a week. I have to say (and my fingers are crossed while I say it) that the traction seems to be helping a little. Even if the vertebrae are opening up by a fraction of an inch, maybe some pressure is being taken of the nerve root (around C7 I think). Rich was mentioning on the section about home traction that he thought it helped him the most out of all the home devices he tried. Perhaps some form of traction would help you too? I hope so. I'm going to stick with my current PT, get an MRI, see what the doctor says about the results, and hope to avoid the surgeon.
Posted by Andrew Starling on 04/23/2009 at 11:27:AM
@Beth - Trust me, I've been where you are and I know how difficult it can be. I apologize as I've gotten busy recently and I was going to finish out these videos on traction devices, but I may jump ahead and actually shoot some of the isometric exercises that helped me a lot. Unless your docs have a specific reason to avoid them, isometrics are great for strengthening some of the smaller muscles in the neck as well as the primary muscles. Because I had a slight muscle imbalance isometrics helped me stabilize and even-out the tension on the vertebrae and probably lessened the nerve impingement. It probably didn't do much to directly benefit the health of that particular joint but it relieved the discomfort right away without causing any further joint deterioration. The traction may help more with the actual health of the joint, the discs and the natural fluids. And of course, only your doctor can accurately diagnose all of this, especially considering your fractured clavicle injury. I'll get to the next video as quickly as I can, hang in there!
Posted by Rich Leach on 04/23/2009 at 12:04:PM
@Art & Rich-Thanks for the encouragement. I did question traction at PT and they want to get the inflamation/tension in my neck & shoulders down and some strengthening in my neck/back/shoulder before I move to a traction device. She is changing the exercises as they have been aggrevating my problems. Too many issues complicating each other. Silly question, once the shooting pain is controlled does the numbness go away? @Rich I really appreciate this info. I truly understand the delays as it appears that you are working FT too. I would probably never be able to find the time to do something like this so you deserve a HUGE thanks!
Posted by Beth AW on 04/24/2009 at 4:08:PM
I had the cortisone shots. The first was like it never happened -- no problems at all, and maybe it helped slightly over a few week period. The second has not been good. I was sick due to the anesthesia, and then the overall discomfort actually increased in the arm, shoulder, wrist, forearm, scapula, fingers, after the shot. It's only day two, but this is something that was supposed to be a relief, very, very disappointing. Hope others are having more success.
Posted by Art CR on 05/23/2009 at 3:31:PM
Hi Rich, I have been reading through your's and everyone's postings and am pretty sure that I have CR as well. The doctor diagnosed rotator cuff tendonitis last Monday and PT for that. I went to him because of numbness and tingling that started Sunday. I had the pain in shoulder beginning mid May but just thought I had pulled something.. Had two adjustments that strengthened my arm resistance briefly. I will be printing off the info and giving to everyone this week. I don't think that the PT is helping and could be making matters worse. I am not in excruciating pain nor have I been which is a blessing compared to the many postings. I pray everyone finds relief and healing soon.
Posted by Ossie Brewer on 06/14/2009 at 8:46:AM
Hi Rich, I read your story with interest. I've been suffering from tingling and numbness in my right hand since 2005 (after a fall.) I had CTS release surgery in 2007 and the burning stopped, but I was really disappointed when the tingling and numbness returned. I've had pain in my neck and right shoulder radiating down to my thumb and fingers since. I finally went to the Dr to have it diagnosed. I got some exercises (which admittedly helped the pain, tho not the tingling & numbness) and Xrays which show no arthritis or degeneration so I now have to go get nerve conduction testing. The elbow pain and numbness are INCREDIBLY obnoxious and annoying. HOWEVER...I saw your post about massaging the neck through the front, and tada, it actually helped. I'll tell my doc about it and thank you for the info.
Posted by Metal Haid on 08/26/2009 at 11:45:PM
@ Metal- ... find yourself a massage therapist who knows "St. Johns". My understanding is that most massage therapists are trained in "Swedish" which is different and the few who know St.Johns really helped me the most. Specifically, you need to get those longissimus muscles on the front of your spine to relax and release, they should feel smooth and not like "roast beef" (which is how my massage guy described mine). Hope this helps, and I'm really trying to find some time to post the isometric exercises as they really help stabilize the neck and spine muscles, taking tension off of those longissimus muscles. Will shoot for the next few weeks.... Hang in there!
Posted by Rich Leach on 08/27/2009 at 10:05:AM
Hi Rich and thank you for your information. I was wondering how long did it take for you to get over your cervical radiculopathy or do you still suffer with it? I want to get over this as soon as possible and get on with my life. I do not have the pain part but I do have the tingling numb thing which is extremely aggravating. Thanks again.
Posted by terri ann on 04/08/2010 at 11:05:PM
Hi Terri Ann - Sorry to hear that you're dealing with this. I really believe that a combination of readjusting my workspace, isometrics resistance and massage therapy helped me get through my CR. Once I started the massage I noticed immediate relief, but it took a few weeks of the isometrics to stop the tingling. Your situation may be greater or less than what I was dealing with, but I still have and use the traction devices about once a week (especially that inversion table, I love that thing) and I'm one of the few folks who, not that I work out with weights 5-6 days a week but I stretch my entire body every day. I just don't know of any other person who stretches this consistently, and it's helped me with a whole bunch of issues so once you get your condition under control consider a daily stretching regimen (make sure you're well enough first, stretching an irritated joint path will actually make matters worse!) Good luck and keep the rest of us posted on your progress :-)
Posted by Rich Leach on 04/08/2010 at 11:13:PM
Hi Rich, was kind of massage therapy do you suggest? I am definitely considering this treatment. I have just started physical therapy as well. I do have a nerve compression at C7. No severe pain or tingling other than soreness and tightness in the right side of my neck, but the muscle atrophy in my right triceps is very tough to cope with. I have not worked out at the gym in approx 5 months since I started having the symptoms since I didn't want to make things worse and until I received a diagnosis. Did you or anyone else have any type of muscle loss? Did the strength come back? Your blog and the info it provides is great! I appreciate it. I wish you and everyone else the best of health and full recovery!
Posted by Michael M on 04/13/2010 at 6:52:PM
@Michael ~ Sorry to learn about your suffering. The massage therapist I was using was versed in "St. Johns", not quite sure if that's the name of the discipline or a style or what. My understanding is that the other, more mainstream style is known as "Swedish" (which I find more relaxing and comfortable; the St. Johns seemed to approach massage from a more clinical point of view). Ask around because I could be way off with this, but you could also try giving Bill and Sally a call (read my other posting: http://cfsnap.com/cfsnap.cfm?webtool=8-Steps-to-Beating-Cervical-Radiculopathy-Correct-Diagnosis ) and let us know how you progress.
Posted by Rich Leach on 04/14/2010 at 8:42:AM
I have worked 50 hours plus on the computer for about 12 years. Now only working about 18 a week, thank god.I have just been diagnoised through an MRI with 2 torn ligaments in my rotar cuff. Got a Cortizone shot in the shoulder it helped about 85%, except when I've fit my 18 hours into 3 days and then I will hurt for a few days. Went back to Dr. after 4 weeks and told him I have pain, he gave me another shot. I proceeded to get a pain in my upper arm,(an arm that tingles and radiates into my thumb) This arm got so bad after that 2nd shot I now cannot lift it as if it is locked up.Today had another MRI the tears are worse and with the 2nd MRI they see a spur that may be damaging the ligiments. Had a nerve induction done, have carpel and also have Cervical Radiculopathy, which explains the tingleing and burning in arm. My doctor who is a Physiatrist does not seem knowlegable that this damage cld of been cased from my computer use and I feel confident is is.I live in Cocoa Florida, does anyone know how I can track down a knowledgable Orthopedic Surgeon or any recommended Doctor?
Posted by Delores Rutherford on 05/03/2010 at 6:03:PM
So glad to find this information on the web! I have been suffering with cervical radiculopathy for just over three months now. I am 41. The MRI showed bulging discs at C5-6 and C6-7 and the EMG showed acute C7 radiculopathy. My problem is almost exactly as you described but mine is down my right arm and I have had permanent numbness in my index finger, thumb, and middle finger for just over 2 months. I have done PT, massage, 3 acupuncture visits so far, and am doing home traction. The neurosurgeon said I would have to have both discs removed. I want to try everything before I resort to surgery. I am wondering if you could share the isometric exercises. I was unable to find them on here. I also was interested in knowing what supplements you used. Thanks so much!!!!!!!! It feels good to know that others out there have suffered through the same thing!
Posted by Tammie Fraley on 06/13/2010 at 10:36:PM
Hi Tammie, sorry to hear about your condition but it sounds like you're giving it your all to avoid the surgery. Things have been rather busy for me lately but the good news is that I've not had any more symptoms either, so evidently something is working for me, which I'll be sharing on this blog in the next few days. Thanks for your patience and I'll try to address everything for you shortly. Hang in there!
Posted by Rich Leach on 06/14/2010 at 9:41:AM
Hello, I was just diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy C6 after being treated for several weeks for carpal tunnel syndrome without improvement. EMG today could not validate the carpal tunnel syndrome, but was definitive for CR. Was anyone else misdiagnosed with CTS? I don't have any shoulder pain but I do get pain in my forearms and numbness/tingling in my hands (palm, thumb, forefinger) which is consistent with CTS. I am to continue with Oc Therapy for Ergo evaluation and posture and am now prescribed PT for neuromuscular stretches, strengthening and traction.
Posted by Stephanie Alexander on 09/01/2010 at 6:05:PM
Hi Stephanie - Sorry to learn of your situation. It was my understanding that the 2 conditions you speak of are actually very definitive, even though they share a few symptoms. I'm a little surprised that your doc couldn't make the distinction.... I know that if your thumb and forefinger tingle vs. your other fingers it indicates trouble with your radial nerve, the other your ulnar nerve, or vice-versa. Regardless the traction helped me as did the strengthening with isometric contractions, which reminds me, I owe this blog my preso on isometrics... maybe this weekend. Anyway circle back with your doc, have you tried an orthopedist? Rich
Posted by Rich Leach on 09/02/2010 at 10:13:PM
September the 2nd i woke up to my right hand, thumb , and wrist numb, i went straight to my doctor who order a MRI on my Brain, neck, and spine,---4 week and 3 doctors and almost 3,ooo thousand dollars later, i just found out that i have CR, and the doctor was'nt the one that told me it was the Tech,she did a nerve study on me, i was treated for carpal tunnel syndrome, taking ant-flamatory drugs and Methylprenisolone tablets 4mg, this medicine maded me to want to craw out of my skin, I keep asking them for something for pain, i have got nothing!!!!i go back to the Doctor on Oct the 7th, i have no ideal what they are going to do to me????? I am a waitress with no insurance, have'nt worked in 4 weeks they are still holding my job for me[ thank god] but now i don't know what they will do?? I'm scared and very disappointed in theses doctors!!!!!! 10/2/2010
Posted by Lannie Crider on 10/02/2010 at 11:59:AM
Oklahoma City. 30 years old. 40 hours a week PC job. Weight lifting exercises 3 times a week. November 28,2010 - All of sudden I started feeling the exact syndromes listed above. Pain in the back, right back shoulder, underarm, and middle finger. This seems to be the exact description for cervical 7 nerve root damage (C7). I went to a doctor a week after this pain and he gave me muscle relaxants and anti inflammatory pain killer for 5 days. The MD spent literally 2 minutes with me (3 minutes before and after with the assistant)!!! I explained to him what are my concerns, but he just followed his routine. Since I am at the beginning of this painful journey I want to avoid the unnecessary expenses and doctor visits. This site will help me a lot! Next step X-ray, then probably massage. Thanks a lot Rich! This is the most comprehensive site for CR.
Posted by Nikolay Oklahomacity on 12/09/2010 at 8:17:PM