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Ask Dr. Abby Your Own Question
Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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Tingling in left back

Resolved Question:

My upper back and left arm are tingling and numb. It's been getting worse for about a week. Do you have any ideas?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.

Are you having any neck pain?
Do you have any history of neck injury?
Is the numbness/tingling constant?
Does your left arm feel weak?
Is it the entire arm or only a certain area?
Do you have any chest pain or shortness of breath?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No neck pain. No neck injury. I have tingling/numbness sensation intermittent but increasing. Arm doesn't feel week, but kind of feels "asleep". Back of my upper arm affected tingling in left side of left hand. No chest pain etc.

Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.

These are signs of nerve irritation or a pinched nerve.
The problem is most likely to be originating from the neck given the areas you are describing the numbness.

This could be due to a bulging disk in the neck or arthritis.
You do not have to have neck pain to have a pinched nerve that is originating from the neck area.

In order to determine what is going on, your doctor will likely order a test called an EMG/nerve conduction study. This test looks at the functioning of your nerves and muscles in the upper part of the body and can help to determine whether this looks like a pinched nerve and, if so, where the problem is occurring (wrist, elbow, neck).

An MRI of the neck would be the subsequent test if the problem is from that area.

Treatment, if a neck problem, depends on the underlying reason. Anti-inflammatory, physical therapy, steroid injections are all commonly used for disk problems.

I would try using an anti-inflammatory for now (ibuprofen or Aleve) as long as you do not have high blood pressure or ulcers/allergy to the medication to see if this helps until you can follow up with your physician.

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