Nerve damage due to injury or beginning of neuropathy?

For the past couple of months I have had bouts of tingling and shooting pain down my right arm into my thumb and sometimes my left side of my pointer finger. I was in a bicycle accident a couple of years ago and had somewhat similar muscle pain and some tingling on the left side at that time. I visited a chiropractor for a year and was in the maintenance phase when the right side started acting up around July. I returned to my chiro on a weekly basis for some deep tissue work and adjustment, but the pain and tingling do not seem to be getting much better, though my muscles are much less tight. The pain seems to start in my shoulder joint, which makes me think this is more of a brachial nerve injury versus neuropathy. I’ve had diabetes for over 26 years and am thinking should I be worried? Anyone in this group dealt with neuropathy?

Hi KiwiRox

I’m no doctor, but what you describe sounds a bit similar to frozen shoulder. You say that the pain seems to start in the shoulder and I assume that you then get this shooting pain travelling down your arm to your finger. Does this shooting pain subside fairly quickly as well?

I’d go and see your doctor.

Once the pain starts, it lasts for about a 1/2 hour or so. Once I take the ibuprofen, the pain fades, but the tingling and numbing stays. I’m just trying to figure out which doctor to go see.

Here in the UK we’d go and see our GP (General Practitioner) in the first instance and s/he would then refer us on to a specialist where necessary. I imagine the US system works in a similar way??

I don’t think it’s frozen shoulder you’ve got from what you’ve just said.

Thanks, Stephen. Yes, for most people it should, however, I usually treat my endo as my primary, but in situations like this it forces me to rethink this approach. I know I must have a primary somewhere in my contacts. Guess, no putting it off anymore.

Thanks for the information! This really helps.

This sounds exactly like the symptoms my dad had before his cervical fusion 15 years ago. He is not diabetic… I would suggest going more serious than a chiropractor (see a neurologist or a spinal orthopedist) and make sure there is nothing physically going on with your spine… there is specific testing that can be done to determine the amount of inpingement of the nerve if that is the problem, rather than “just” neuropathy. It’s also possible that physical therapy could offer some improvement over just chiro adjustments. I’m not suggesting that you necessarily need a surgical solution, but that type of work-up can definitely rule out neuropathy.

My gut feeling is that this is likely injury related and not neuropathy. I went through something similar about 5 years ago with my lower back. I have a spinal defect that contributes to some problems (my L5 vertebrae is in two pieces), and due to a fall I didn’t even think anything of at the time, I developed a pinched nerve that completely skipped the pain stage, and I went from being fine to having one-sided loss of sensation with weakness… it was like suddenly being paralyzed, but only specific areas/muscles were effected… it was very scary, and it took a LONG time to start feeling better again (even to be able to walk easily), but I am fine now, and all the testing I went through (a myelogram, and some kind of electrical testing on my leg) showed very clearly that my problems were not in any way D related.

What you describe could also be a shoulder injury like a rotator cuff tear. I’ve suffered rotator cuff problems and have experienced the same sorts of symptoms you describe. Rotator cuff injuries can lead to bursitis (inflammation of the shoulder capsule) and shoulder impingement (compression of the nerves). If you tore a rotator cuff that could have led to a cascade of injuries that have left you in this state. If you never visitid an orthopedic specialist, you might want to consider it. Did you have X-rays or an MRI after the accident?