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Neck Pain and Tingling in Arm and Hand

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,512
edited 05/13/2014 - 9:13 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical


I'm new here just hoping to get more advice on what's going on with my neck and arm.

This past February, I started feeling some tingling in my right hand (all fingers and thumb). Eight months later the problem has just gotten worse. Now I have tingling in my arm too. I also have constant aching on the lower right hand side of my neck right between where my shoulder is. It is very sore if you apply pressure to that area.

I've had X-rays taken and an MRI done. I've seen 2 spinal surgeons and 1 neurosurgeon. They all say that 6 out of the 8 discs in my neck are degenerative but don't recommend surgery because of my young age of 30. The neurosurgeon recommended that I have a nerve conduction study done. It showed mild carpel tunnel syndrome in my left hand and nothing in my right (which is the worst).

I have been going to a really good chiropractor now for the last 3 months. I saw some relief after about 6 weeks but now it's back again, no pun intended. My gut is telling me that the arm pain is definitely coming from the area between my neck and shoulder. My guess is inflammation but I can't seem to get rid of it. I actually was given a steroid injection this past July, but in my opinion they stuck me in the wrong spot. They put it right in the center of my back. I always thought they put these right into the problem area. All I know is that the muscles just feel so tight and it's really annoying now.

I have two small children that I can't hardly get down in the floor and play with any more because of the pain. It's very discouraging! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.





  • Welcome :H

    I have the EXACT same thing,but it's affecting my left side.Now is not a good time for me as I have dinner and things-but I'll come back later and post some more.If I had not said this much I was afraid I would never see the post again...lol. :)
  • drawingnigh said:
    I'm new here just hoping to get more advice on what's going on with my neck and arm.

    Hi Brent,
    First the disclaimer.......... :$ I am not a medical expert and the opinions expressed in this email are personal and should be considered just that opinions. That said.....

    30 is awfully young and they hesitate to operate because what ever gets fused causes stress on the discs above and below and most likely a fusion of some discs now will just be the beginning since you are so young although you could get a long time and lots of relief from surgery.

    Ok, about me and why I answered you. I had neck pain with some referred nerve pain in my arms over eight years ago. At that time I had and MRI and found that I had one herniated disc in my neck. Guess there was inflammatio and some nerve involvement that caused the arm issues but the arm issues subsided and I decided not the have surgery at that time. I did a lot of exercise to improve the muscles in my neck over the next eight years. In March of this year after having some on and off numbness in my arms for over a year, I developed permanent numbness in the finger tips of both hands with radiating numbness and pain in my right arm. My neck continued to cause some on and off pain and what I call spinal headaches. The numbness in my hands/arm did not go away at all so I sent to my doctor and then to a neurologist. The neurologist did an EMG and said I had carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand and borderline in my left. I told him I thought the problem was something else but he decided to have me wear splints on my hands for a month. This made the problem worse. Finally he sent me for an MRI which found 3 herniated discs, tons of arthritus, spinal cord compression, spinal stenosis, etc etc. I got 3 opinions from surgeons, two NS and one othopedic and all agreed that surgery was a must. So, here I am 6 weeks post surgery after having 3 discs removed and 3 vertabra grafted together. My left hand has improved greatly with just the tinist bit of numbness at the very end of a few fingers and thumb. The right hand has improved slightly with numbness continuing in the fingers and thumb and traveling up the arm as I use it. My neck still hurts but this is mostly surgery related. I am going for physical therapy and therapist thinks I will get a good result over time as the nerves get back to normal. I am very hopeful. So anyway, if you are having as big an issue as it sounds like and its effecting the quality of your life, you should talk to a NS and really stress this and talk about options. Maybe they could just do some of the worst discs (I had C3>C6 even though there is damage to C6/7 because the NS felt we could get a good result and C6/7 was not that bad and he did not want to have to fuse 4 levels.
    Good luck,
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  • I look forward to hearing more from you Robin.

  • Thank you for your comments.
  • Hello~I'm sorry that it took me so long to get back to you.

    Let me start by saying that you are my mirror image(lol).You sound almost exactly like me,the difference is that my left side is affected.

    I had a nerve conduction study when the tingling and numbness started in my hand(left)~they were checking for carple tunnel I believe,but nothing panned out from that.I let it go and dismissed it as annoying.A year later my X-Rays and MRI showed cervicle DDD.I was DX'ed in July 07.

    Now,it was only by accident that I found out because I was having the tests(x-rays&mri)as pre-op for surgery on my vocal chords.I have to see my PCP every 3 mos. for bloodwork because of my thyroid,otherwise I might never even go to the Dr.Well,that was before,now with the cervicle issues and pain well...

    Like you,I've had the steroid injections,or ESI's,and like you I felt they were putting it right in the middle and not exactly where my pain was.He(Dr)said that he was TRYING to get it right...but I had no relief,and after the last one(June I think)I've decided not to have any more in my neck.It was a very bad and scary experience and my pain has increased quite a bit since then..but probably(maybe,who knows?)not because of the injection.

    Neck movement or excercises are good,but I personally would never let a chiropractor manipulate my neck(spine)because of the DDD.It's degenerative and weaker than a 'normal' spine that might be able to withstand those types of manual manipulation.Please understand that this is only my opinion.I'm 48 yrs old,not that age has anything to do with it.I'm just thinking that my neck didn't start hurting until I was about 39 or 40.At that time I found out that I had arthritis in my neck.Now at 48 there are days that it hurts to even turn my head.Chiropractors can do other things though besides the old fashioned popping or cracking,and I've heard that they have all kinds of new machines in their offices now that I think would be better than the manipulation.(just my opinion again).I hope I didn't offend you by saying that..I have nothing against chiropractors,but my OS told me that popping or cracking the neck would cause more harm than good.

    We're going to use conservative measures as long as possible and hopefully I won't need surgery.
    Have you had any muscle 'jumping' in your bicep or tricep at all?Sometimes,but not often,mine will jump around and they can be a bit painful as well.

    Just because our problems sound so similar though doesn't mean that they are right..well,they sound an awful lot alike...oh yeah,my muscles are very tight and I have a lot of spasms in my neck/back area.I'm prescribed TIZANIDINE HCL 2mg 3 x's a day for that & it helps a lot!I was taking 4mg,and it helped more,but knocked me out cold.

    I could go on & on,but it took me forever to post this as I've had numerous interuptions(phone calls,etc,~lol),but please keep us posted :)
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  • Thank you for replying back with your information. You did offend me with the chiropractor comments. I know that some people approve and some do not. I think that you just have to find the right chiropractor for you. The one that I go to is very gentle but effective, not like some I've been to that run you through, crack, snap, pop and your on your way.

    I did go to see my regular doctor yesterday and he gave me a mild steroid shot in the side of my neck and also in the muscle part of my shoulder/neck. He said to give it about 3 days and hopefully I will see some results. The idea is to get the muscles to relax and quit pushing against my nerves. I must say this whole thing is really getting on my nerves...ha ha ha! At least I still have my sense of humor. Anyway I'll keep you posted on the shots. I will tell you one thing that has helped me some and that's exercise. I have just now started trying to walk on the treadmill and do some stretches. I can tell a difference. In my research I've found that exercise is the best thing for inflammation. Anyway, I'll keep you posted.

  • I am no doctor either...
    I had an accident at 15. I was racing my snowboard and hit the gate perpindicular and started flipping thru the air. I thought I was going to land on my backside and brought my head up. WHAM hit the ground on my head. Once I got an office job (used to run restaurants) I started having all kinds of problems. I went to the chiropractor for a while and that helped some. I had reduction surgery and that helped for about a year but always the pain, cold hand, tingling and numbness came back. I had to take care of my husband after he had acl replacement and they gave him a nerve block. He is 6'1 with really long legs and I had to move and lift that leg. That was in February and I slipped a disk and have a nerve root compression. I have been in physical therapy however I still have issues all the time. Any time they let me do more stuff (ride my bike for 20 minutes) it flairs right back up.
    I am meeting with my NS next week and getting a new MRI. I have stenosis etc. Being 35 they don't want to operate on me either.
    I am not 100% jazzed about getting fused but at the same time it would be nice to be able to go to the grocery by myself, be able to sew, ride my bike, just do anything.

    I would try PT if I were you. I also take 1800 MG ibuprofin a day along with Skelaxin. Ice packs are your friend. PT is not going to hurt you. Even though it is not working all that great for me I am still better than I was.
  • I am no doctor either, but I am married to an anesthesiologist who happens to be a chronic pain specialist. I am having weakness in my left arm and numbness in my baby and ring fingers in my left hand. Those nerves are coming from C7 T1. I visit a chiro for my blown disc L5... I am an active contractor... what can I say. My wife is Chinese and the last of the breed of true caring docs... she's good ! ! Always go the conservative route. I have beaten numbness in my right leg from the ruptured disc from exercise that has benefited my whole body. Have a couple of visits with a massage therapist and let that person relax all of your tight shoulder muscles etc. It might take a couple of sessions. I had my second one today and my improvement from the week prior is amazing. Muscles and connective tissue can put pressure on nerves just like inflamation does. Typing doesn't help either... I hope your keyboard is on your lap and your shoulders are fully dropped. Your chiro can give you some safe neck muscle exercises also. Chao for now.
  • My name is David, 47yr old male w/chronic back and neck pain, and referred arm pain.

    My story started 25 years ago w/construction accident and a Lamy at L4-L5. Lots of scarring but, decided to "live" with it. Spring 2000, Truck pulled out right in front of me on highway. Cracked ribs, concussion, whiplash, and resulted in herniation of C5-C6, C6-C7, L3-L4. Bulged at C3-C4, C4-C5, T7-T8, L5-S1. Arthritis, DDD, and oh yea........pain. I have had the injections - no help, 1+yrs. of accupuncture w/temp and mild relief. 1 1/2 yrs chiro w/some temp and mild relief. My GP finally convinced me to go on pain meds. I was reluctant because I was afraid of addiction but the constant pain gave me no choice. I have been taking oxycontin and percoset 5 times a day for 5 yrs now. It does not get rid of the pain but, allows me to have some basic function.

    The Pain in my arms sounds identical to yours however, I sometimes experience it in my left arm as well (usually just right). I have two suggestions that might give you some mild relief. First, I just started my fourth "winter" therapy. It involves 1 appt back and neck massage and 2 appts in the therapy pool. This pool has "flow control" and I do stretchs and exercises that involve various arm movements w and w/o paddles. (No swimming involved here). This decreases the numbness a little but not the pain. My therapist recently tried something new and it does give Great relief but only temporary (and if your like me - you'll take whatever relief you can get). While sitting, she stood behind me and applied pressure with her right hand (using the "heel" of her index finger where it connects to the palm) on that sweet spot on your shoulder (at the base of the neck about 1 inch away from a line drawn straight down from your ear). She oscillated the pressure and did this for about 30 seconds. I asked how I could do this myself and she gave me 2 hospital bed straps, connected together, slung over my right shoulder and under my left leg. Tighten accordingly then use your left leg to pull down on this "pressure point". The key is to make sure the pressure being applied whether by a person or yourself is "inward". Meaning that side of the neck towards the opposite thigh. Hope this helps. Look forward to being part of your blog as there are not many people out there that truly understand the daily stress we must deal with.

    Ps. My Chiropracter did help some and I too was warned by Doc'c not to use them. But, they can reall help with the DDD. Not all docs are the same and I am lucky to have the one that has served the 2004 and 2008 olympics. Anyways, chirpracters (good Ones) have a lot of modern equipment. Mine is well aware of all my issues and can "manipulate" the spine WITHOUT cracking or popping.
    My GP continually tells me to get "fuzed" and until I can't bend I won't.

    Hope I helped a little and look forward to hearing your responses. Merry Christmas, David
  • I would look for another pain management Dr. I had to get another Dr. to get a second opinion as I felt I wasn't being treated well. I feel I was getting too many injections so you may want to try another Dr. for steroid injections. Good luck with your nerve tests. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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