Upper Back Pain and Numbness in Hands Helped by Chiropractic – A Case Study

A study published in the August 29, 2014, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research documented the resolution of a case of a painful condition known as “T4” syndrome. The study authors report that T4 syndrome is a condition characterized by unilateral or bilateral upper extremity pain and numbness that originates from the upper thoracic spine.

The authors explained that, “The T4 Syndrome involves unilateral or bilateral upper extremity pain and paresthesia originating from the upper thoracic spine. Occasionally, headaches are experienced as well. The onset is usually gradual and non-traumatic.” They continue to describe the condition by saying, “Patients may experience paresthesia (numbness/tingling) in all digits of the hands, glove-like numbness of the hands and forearm, weakness (unable to open jars), hand clumsiness, upper extremity coldness, a sense of fullness, tightness, and deep aching pain.” This condition is four times more common in women than men.

In this case, a 62-year-old woman went to a chiropractor with complaints of upper mid-back pain and bilateral hand numbness and tingling, mostly involving the 4th and 5th fingers. The hand problems were the most severe in the morning. The woman’s symptoms began without warning about a week before seeking chiropractic care.

A physical and chiropractic examination was performed on the woman. These procedures included a range of motion exam, vital signs, neurological and orthopedic exams, and spinal palpation. Based on the examination, a determination was made that subluxations were present in the lower neck, and in the upper-mid back area of the spine. From these findings, chiropractic adjustments were started to address the subluxations.

The study reports that three days after the woman’s first chiropractic adjustment, the numbness in her hands had resolved, but the mid back pain was still present. On her third visit, the patient reported that she had fallen asleep on the couch while watching TV. Upon awakening, she experienced numbness in her hands again. By the fifth visit to the chiropractor, both her hand numbness and mid-back pain had been completely resolved.

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