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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes severe radiating pain in upper back of chest, arm and fingers?

Answered by
Dr. Praveen Tayal

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :1994

Answered : 12022 Questions

Posted on Wed, 24 Aug 2016 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: Hi Sir,
My wife is experiencing pain at the back of chest and it is either on the left side or on the right side. The pain will be from shoulder to the tip of the finger on left or right. When we met a doctor, he asked us to take an X-ray for cervical spine AP and LAT. After evaluation. He said that the pain is because of something like Cervical Spine Prolapse and radiating pain from left to right is causing the issue. He suggested an MRI scan to check how bad is the problem. Before that, I would like to evaluate if is this really the problem. He gave a muscle relaxant and vitamins, but the pain increased after starting to use them.

Pain is severe at the left/right upper back of the chest.

Please suggest what is the exact problem and what is the treatment for this.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 53 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Cervical spondylosis likely.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for posting your query.
The pain in the upper back radiating to the arm till the fingers 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/ibuprofen 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. She can avoid using a pillow.

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.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Praveen Tayal 5 minutes later
Hi Sir,
Thanks for your reply. I have attached the X-ray of neck lateral view in the query. Can you please confirm if you have reviewed the report and suggest?

Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 8 hours later
Brief Answer:
I have seen attached reports.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing again.
I have seen the attached X-rays. The lateral view of cervical spine shows mild spondylottic changes. It is likely to cause the nerve root compression.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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