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Having horrible neck and shoulder pain. Fingertips goes numb. How to get relief?

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Posted on Wed, 10 Oct 2012
Question: I have been having horrible neck and shoulder pain and it seems to be causing migraines as well. I take tylenol but it doesn't seem to help. I am not able to take ibuprofen. The shoulder pain shoots down my arm and makes my fingertips go numb. I have tried hot and/ or cold compresses and those seem to make it worse. There are mornings I wake up an can not even lift my head. HELP
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Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal (26 minutes later)
Hello,
Thanks for posting your query.
Stiff neck with shoulder pain and tingling and numbness in the ring and little finger is suggestive of a nerve root compression at the cervical vertebral level due to degenerative disc changes or cervical spondylosis. It happens primarily due to degenerative changes secondary to age in the cervical spine. Past neck injury may also contribute to the degeneration.

X-ray of neck in lateral view or MRI will help in the diagnosis.

Treatment includes
1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilisation and brings relief.
2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen and muscle relaxants might be helpful.
3. Methylcobalamin supplements are also recommended for nerve compression symptoms.
4. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist.
5. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms.
6. You can avoid using a pillow.

As you try these measures, I also encourage you to consult an orthopedician for both evaluation and to avail stronger prescription medications (if over the counter medications are not helpful).
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Regards.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Praveen Tayal

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :1994

Answered : 12221 Questions

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Having horrible neck and shoulder pain. Fingertips goes numb. How to get relief?

Hello,
Thanks for posting your query.
Stiff neck with shoulder pain and tingling and numbness in the ring and little finger is suggestive of a nerve root compression at the cervical vertebral level due to degenerative disc changes or cervical spondylosis. It happens primarily due to degenerative changes secondary to age in the cervical spine. Past neck injury may also contribute to the degeneration.

X-ray of neck in lateral view or MRI will help in the diagnosis.

Treatment includes
1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilisation and brings relief.
2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen and muscle relaxants might be helpful.
3. Methylcobalamin supplements are also recommended for nerve compression symptoms.
4. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist.
5. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms.
6. You can avoid using a pillow.

As you try these measures, I also encourage you to consult an orthopedician for both evaluation and to avail stronger prescription medications (if over the counter medications are not helpful).
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Regards.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.