Bilateral Arm Tingling: The Upper Thoracic Component

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June 4, 2020

We see a tremendous amount of patients who have upper extremity tingling, pain or numbness. This may originate from a cervical root impingement related to disc herniation or bulge, hypertonicity or spasming of muscles in the scapular (shoulder blade)/rotator cuff region with associated costovertebral (rib/spine articulation) joint fixation. These are all treatable issues, but what if the symptoms are bilateral? Spoiler alert, it's still treatable. 

We have seen numerous cases where individuals have bilateral arm numbness, and most commonly the issue is due to an upper thoracic fixation, or imbrication of facet joints, where the lower cervical and upper thoracic regions articulate, or conjoin, causing bilateral hypertonicity and inflammation of muscles. This forces the shoulders to internally rotate and can create impingement of the neurovascular bundle as it traverses the upper thoracic/shoulder complex into the arms. 

After ruling out cervical stenosis, syrinx, tumors and other pathological processes that could create this issue, we are left with a functional cause. This is treatable with specific Chiropractic Neurological therapy, specifically to the zygopophyseal joints of the upper thoracic, lower cervical and articulating regions of the ribs, clavicle and scapula. Cervical decompression therapy is also very helpful, as is cold lasery therapy, muscle stimulation, specialized stretching, percussor muscle therapy, strengthening, graston therapy that we utilize to rehabilitate the injured region. Portland Chiropractic Neurology is the premier Chiropractic Neurology practice in Maine, located at 959 Congress street in Portland, Maine.