I am a 19-year-old female who has been struggling with pain in my right arm for the past four years. The pain began suddenly when I was standing in class in like my mid to upper back area. It was an odd ache that I had never experienced before. It was either behind my right shoulder blade or between that shoulder blade and my spine; I am not sure. But when I tried to straighten myself or breathe in, it would feel worse. So anyways, I brushed it off and continued my day. By the next days, the pain went from that area to my actual shoulder but stayed within that general area of both the shoulder blade and my shoulder. I just thought it was a pulled muscle, so I did not think much of it as the weeks passed. Since I was in school, it was finals week, and I am a student, so I had to continue working. But during the days, it eventually progressed to my forearm and hand, specifically the first three fingers and the wrist area of my thumb. I honestly began to panic, thinking it might be a carpal tunnel, but I had never ever had any chronic pain priorly while working, so this completely appeared out of nowhere. The amount of work I was doing was not anything new. When I went on break, my pain calmed down. The pain appeared again when my break ended and I started a new semester. It went from bad to lingering. At some points, the pain was not really that bad. But it was frustrating to think that I could not see a doctor about this, and I could not really put a halt to my school stuff, so I worried that as I had to continue working, I was making my arm worse. Currently, my pain has progressed from being primarily in my first three fingers to being primarily in my little and ring finger. It hurts when I bend my ring finger inwards at the base, and also, my little finger side of my hand feels tense and sore as if it wants to cramp up. My forearm and elbow also feel sore and burning (especially when I extend them) and sometimes become numb after I use my hand or arm for a while. My shoulder feels out of place as if it is unstable. It sounds crackly when I move and roll my arm back. Honestly, it has been so frustrating and saddening to deal with this as I am worried I might end up messing my arm so bad that I will never be able to work on my art comfortably again. And I am not able to see a doctor about this currently either, so that makes it worse. I am 5 feet tall, and I weigh 86 pounds. I have not tried anything except for stretches (which barely worked and did not really work much anymore). I worry that if I try all these treatments for the different types of arm issues, it might worsen it as I am not sure if I would be doing the right treatment for what I have. I hope I can get any insight as to what I might have and possible at-home treatment that might work.
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Thank you for providing the brief history. As the history indicates, there is nerve root entrapment, due to which there is a pain in the fingers as well. This might have occurred due to abnormal posture, which has led the muscles to become weak over a period of time. Muscles like the Trapezius, paraspinal muscles, and inter-scapular muscles have gone weak and landed into inflammation leading to an abnormal position in the spinal column and providing spasms and pain symptoms that are radiating in nature. I will advise you to first correct the posture. Next is to use hot water fermentation for the neck and upper back region. Slowly begin floor gravity eliminated exercises for the neck and upper limb. Post which, you can look forward to a gentle kneading massage for the Trapezius and the inter-scapular muscles. Also, as the pain level drops, doing exercises like - static neck exercises, Trapezitis stretching, shoulder stabilization exercises, and inter-scapular muscle strengthening exercises as well. Breathing exercises should be made as a part of the program so you can get enough relaxation in between the different types of exercises. If any more details are needed or a demo of exercises, then we can have another chat to understand the rehabilitation program better.
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