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Stiff neck, numbness in arm with no help from CHIROPRACTER.

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First let me say that I am currently in the Philippines. I'm a 52 YO Male in generally good health.

I woke up two weeks ago with a bit of a stiff neck. Expect I slept wrong. It gradually got worse and it migrated lower right neck area and near my right shoulder blade. I went to a doctor that just prescribed me a muscle relaxer and anti-inflammatory, that did nothing for me. Now it is affecting my right shoulder (it feels like a deep bone bruise) and I have numbness in my right arm and right thumb.

I went to a chiropractor to see if that would help. He did a right back muscle treatment with heat, a ultrasound in the effected area and a spine adjustment. No joy with that either.

I even tried acupuncture to try and get some relief, no joy with that either.

A week and a half in I went to a local hospital. They did x-rays of my upper and mid spine as well as my shoulder. The only negative impression was in the cervical spine and it said "Straightening of the cervical lordosis suggestive of muscle spasm" The doctor gave me more pain killers and muscle relaxers and sent me on my way with a couple of suggestions to see a bone doctor or a pain specialist.

This has been going on for almost two weeks. The pain has subsided a bit but usually after a few hours of sleep I'm woken up by the pain in my shoulder and arm. I'm just looking for some course of action to take since I am in a foreign country and they may not be so familiar dealing with someone from the US. Any assistance or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

GK Scott

Category: Internal Medicine Specialist

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Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian is online now

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.

Hello Mr. Scott,
Thank You for your query at DoctorSpring.com
Do you have a habit of sleeping prone? Or with your arm under your head? That is one of the commonest reasons of what you're experiencing right now. The muscles go into chronic spasm, there is a lot of pain around the affected shoulder joint and it takes a long time to resolve.
From my own experience, i had the same habit, until i woke up one day with the same kind of muscle spasm you described, severe pain around my shoulder joint, and some persistent numbness mostly around my elbow and forearm. And it did take a long time to recover, nearly a month.
You have already tried most of the basic measures like anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxants. If they don't work, chiropractic treatment and acupuncture are the only alternatives. If they don't work too, you need to sleep supine and straight for the time being, and it will gradually resolve. The best way to resolve this spasm is acupuncture, you can go for hydrotherapy ( where epsom salt is added to warm water ) and you can sit in the tub with the mixture, it slowly releases the tension, and is considered one of the better ways of relieving spasm in the neck area. The acupuncture specialist will be able to arrange that for you, and if he has not mentioned, you can suggest hydrotherapy for yourself to him.
I feel hydrotherapy is the best way to go about it, since all other methods have failed.
From my own experience, and having tried similar techniques like yours, it takes close to a month for the pain to subside.
Hope this was helpful,

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
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MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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