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Old 06-18-2008, 01:15 PM   #1
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Shoulder and Arm Pain with left pointer finger numbness

On the Saturday before Memorial Day my left shoulder blade began to hurt after I mowed the lawn. I'm 43 and have never had any back/neck problems. A few hours later the pain had spread to my left arm and hand, and my pointer finger was numb. The pain was intense, and I sought ER treatment, thinking it was a stroke. An EKG was normal. Still in severe pain, I saw a primary care doctor. An x-ray was normal, and he diagnosed thoracic outlet syndrome, told me to ice my shoulder blade, and prescribed PT. The physical therapist pinpointed the pain in my neck. I've iced my neck, which has helped, and had traction today, and I'm in no pain today, the first time in three weeks. BUT THE TIP OF MY FINGER IS TOTALLY NUMB! I'm going back to my doctor on friday....should I ask for an MRI or referral to a neurologist?

 
Old 06-20-2008, 08:14 PM   #2
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Re: Shoulder and Arm Pain with left pointer finger numbness

Yes, yes. yes. I would not doubt that your doctor may try to put it off, but hey not something to mess with at all. Better safe then sorry & even MRIs are not fool proof but at least they are more then likely to show something. Trust me you do not want any problems to be let go in that area. Alot of insurances can make it tough when trying to obtain MRIs but if you are worried be persistant. God forbid you have to go through what some of us have went through, trust me it can get worse then you would ever imagine. All doctors try PT first but there is no way they can be sure with out the proper tests what is going on & in my opinion they have no right taking chances with someones future. Look alot of people end up with chronic pain & problems due to misdiagnosises or things being let go & left alone, so be your own advocate & do some research on line to help educate yourself abit, get to know your symptoms & so forth.
Does not mean to self diagnosis but be informed about what could be going on. I hate to see anyone end up in my shoes, chronic pain every single day, I should have stayed on the doctors & been more persistent. Good luck

 
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:37 PM   #3
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Re: Shoulder and Arm Pain with left pointer finger numbness

Thank you very much for your comment. I saw my doctor again today and told him that my finger is still numb. He nixed the MRI idea, saying that the brain normally adjusts to the numbness feeling. Huh??? I think it's really strange my finger is still numb! I'm going to be switching doctors the beginning of next month, hopefully finding someone who takes this a little more seriously. Thanks again, and hang in there.

 
Old 06-20-2008, 11:42 PM   #4
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Re: Shoulder and Arm Pain with left pointer finger numbness

One more thing...I just spoke to my former neighbors who moved to Gilroy, CA. They had been seeing the same doctor for several years. The wife went to him reporting that she had stomach pain, with difficulty breathing. He suggested COUNSELING. After the visit she had an asthma attack and went to the ER. After three days in the ICU, she was diagnosed with pneumonia...and her stomach had herniated and moved up her chest, compressing her lungs! She needs surgery. They are switching doctors. The guy completely missed it, and basically said it was in her mind.

 
Old 06-25-2008, 03:55 AM   #5
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Re: Shoulder and Arm Pain with left pointer finger numbness

yikes, If thats not a sign to change doctors then I dont know what is.
Even when you see a new doctor go back to the orginal problem & make sure you cover it all. I have never heard the comment the doctor made about the finger being numb. the point is to catch if something is going on before it gets worse. Good luck, Sammy

 
Old 06-25-2008, 04:26 AM   #6
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Re: Shoulder and Arm Pain with left pointer finger numbness

Hey Demi,
Sorry to hear of your experience. I can't believe the doc discounted your concerns that way. Sometimes I feel like strangling some docs..lol Just kidding mods.
Here you have a future nurse saying that. It just surprises me when they discount someones complaints as nothing without the proper testing.

Sammy you are right on the money when you say to be your own advocate. The continuing numbness is for sure a concern. I believe either the medial or I think the radial nerve affects the thumb and index finger. I had an entrapped ulnor nerve which affects the pinky, ring and half of the middle finger.
Demi please do get to the new doc as soon as you can. Keep us posted on your progress. You just never know what might be going on.

Good luck
Chrissy

 
Old 07-22-2008, 09:14 AM   #7
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Re: Shoulder and Arm Pain with left pointer finger numbness

Quote:
Originally Posted by demichae View Post
On the Saturday before Memorial Day my left shoulder blade began to hurt after I mowed the lawn. I'm 43 and have never had any back/neck problems. A few hours later the pain had spread to my left arm and hand, and my pointer finger was numb. The pain was intense, and I sought ER treatment, thinking it was a stroke. An EKG was normal. Still in severe pain, I saw a primary care doctor. An x-ray was normal, and he diagnosed thoracic outlet syndrome, told me to ice my shoulder blade, and prescribed PT. The physical therapist pinpointed the pain in my neck. I've iced my neck, which has helped, and had traction today, and I'm in no pain today, the first time in three weeks. BUT THE TIP OF MY FINGER IS TOTALLY NUMB! I'm going back to my doctor on friday....should I ask for an MRI or referral to a neurologist?
Hi.. so, what was decided at the new doctor or MRI? MY coworker here is having exact same pain just liek you described..he just went to the doctor yesterday and his MRI is scheduled for tomorrow.. just wondering whether you had any diagnosis.. thanks.

 
Old 07-22-2008, 10:05 AM   #8
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Re: Shoulder and Arm Pain with left pointer finger numbness

I ended up not getting one. The traction that was done at physical therapy took the pain away almost immediately. (It was a device that goes around your neck and then gets inflated, pushing your head away from your body and stretching the neck). The numbness in my finger is almost gone. I still want to get an MRI, but I'm waiting to switch doctors. I hope your friend is okay, but please tell him/her about traction. It was like a miracle for me.

 
Old 07-28-2008, 11:22 AM   #9
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Re: Shoulder and Arm Pain with left pointer finger numbness

just an fyi .. My coworker had his MRI done and it came back as disc herniation and his primary care physician referred him to neurosurgeon.

 
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