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weakness in right arm & hand

I am currently 32 years old, 5 ft 11 in, 175 lbs.

About 5 months ago, I started noticing that my hands would cramp up when working with small things, like threading a screw or a bolt. I didn't really think a whole lot about it at the time. The cramping may not have a thing to do with what you're about to read. I just thought that I would include that in case it is a symptom.
As time went on, I started noticing weakness in my right arm (only in a curling motion). As time went by, it got to the point that I was having a hard time buttoning my pants when getting ready for work & even turning the ignition in my truck. I don't have what I would call pain. It's kind of a numb feeling that starts from my shoulder & goes all the way down to my thumb (primarily in my bicep & hand). At this point (Oct. 23, 2007) I can barely curl a loaf of bread. I have noticed some atrophy in my right hand & in my bicep/forearm area. I do have fascilations, but have had them for as long as I can remember. I have been to an Orthopedic Doctor who looked at me for about 10 minutes & said that he thought it was nerve related. I went to a Neurologist & have had a nerve conduction study performed on my leg & both arms as well as an EMG. I have also had an MRI of my neck & spine. I have had blood work done. Nothing was found abnormal. And this past Friday, I had a myelogram & a catscan performed. I am awaiting the results of those tests, but I did speak with the Doctor who performed the myelogram & I asked him if he saw anything & he said that he looked at the xrays briefly & they looked okay, but that my Neurologist would have to give me the official results.
I am only having weakness in my right arm & hand. I fear that this test will come back okay (no pinched nerve, bone spur, etc.) & that I may be facing something like a motor neuron disease like ALS. ALS or any motor neuron disease does not run in my family.

A few questions:
1) Is it possible that all of these tests can come back okay, but there is in fact a pinched nerve or a bone spur that the Doctor is not seeing?
2) Can a Chiropractor fix something like what I am going through?
3) Is it possible that I have something going on in my arm itself? I have not had an MRI of my arm.
4) Do I fit the symptoms of someone with ALS?
5) Is ALS detectable through any kind of test or are you just diagnosed with it when nothing surfaces from other tests?
8 Responses
Avatar universal
Do you use a computer extensively? Reason I ask is I have the same symptoms as yours. They started when I landed a job using a computer nearly nonstop for seven hours a day. I'm right-handed. My left arm is not affected.
I have the same thing But my upper spine and disks are bad. I am 72 I just started med's to see if it will help.  My right hand is so bad I can no longer write or print...Bob
Avatar universal
I have the same symptoms. Except I don't have the numbness in my right arm I have sharp shooting pains. My right arm is the dominant one and yet the weak one. I failed the muscle test but past the nerve test. My neurologist keeps tripling the dose of neurontin but doesn't help. The physical therapist told me to start training my left arm to perform fine motor skills. To this day I have no answers, they just keep upping the meds which I do not want. It is very upsetting. My pointer finger can no longer can go straight and the knuckle close to palm of my hand is becoming deformed. I drop things a lot now.  I wish u the best in finding an answer.
Avatar universal
I would suggest you to go for MRI of the arm. It may give a conclusion. You have a problem in one arm so your symptoms do not fit in the criteria for ALS. Please do not consult a chiropractor. The symptoms may worsen. ALS is difficult to diagnose by a single test. Diagnosis may be made by a combination of tests like EMG and nerve conduction velocity( NCV), blood and urine tests, spinal tap, myelogram of spine, and muscle and /or nerve biopsy. You have had most of these tests and if you had ALS, some of these tests may have shown it. Please consult a neurologist. Hope this helps you. Take care and regards!  

I had the shock test and not much was found except to say there may be nerve damage in my spine but have to much going on there. If that is the cause how can I live with it and will it get worse
Avatar universal
I also suffer from some weakness and pain in my 'strong' right arm.  Again, I went for the testing for carpal tunnel where they shock you to see if you feel anything...I felt it all, and yet I am still suffering from the same symptoms...tingling in the fingers, weakness of the hand and pain from the underside of my arm from my elbow through my fingers depending on what I have been doing.  Sad when you have to rely on the internet to do a self diagnosis on yourself and the doc earns all the money for your research.  
Avatar universal
I work at an inbound call center taking calls and typing non stop 40hrs a week. Never had any injury to my arm or any health conditions that this could be blamed on. I started with hand weakness in 8/10 which was left untreated until late 1/11. From August 2010 to January 2011 the weakness turned into pain to my hand, wrist, forearm (under and upper), upper shoulder and lastly to my right shoulder. (I have horrible stiffness in my right shoulder which feels no relief or relaxing sensation from massage as my left shoulder does.) I applied for workers compensation thru my job. The Dr.'s I have been bounced to don't have an idea of what I may have. The last Dr. who saw me released me from work restrictions, so I suppose I should be majically fixed and fine, but I'm afraid of going back to work full time typing 8hrs a day non stop, because I know this is going to severely aggravate this condition. It's upsetting that a medical professional has no clue or solution to this. No suggestions for relief, no comments on possible causes, nothing....Does anyone out there have any suggestions that may help? It would help if I told you I have had therapy, nerve conduction study, mri on (r) shoulder, nerve block on my neck. None of which have proven anything. Please help.
Avatar universal
Just wanted to chime in.

I'm experiencing the same problem.. weakness in my dominant arm.. I say arm because it starts from the top and affects the rest of the hand/forearm/bicep etc.  I'm kind of a mad researcher on the internet.. and have come to a conclusion and some possible relief.  Alot of research has brought me to the conclusion of this: Overuse/shoulder impingement.  I had workout shoulder bursitis diagnosed by the doctor.. yet gave me rehab techniques.  To not overuse my right hand.. I switched my mouse to the left hand.. it *****, but gives my right hand some relief and rest.  There is also for ppl who have carpul like symptoms try laying on your stomach in bed and put your palm face down under your pillow where your head is resting on it's side.. depending on which way you turn your head.. it helps to turn it in the direction of the in question hand.  You should feel a light stretch in the tendons.

And a wonderful, yet should be mindful stretch is the sleeper stretch.. I say mindful due to the fact you may not need it.. however if you try it and feel a dull ache feel good kind of pain it is working.. you will feel so much relief.. but once again don't overdo it and be gentle.. if you don't feel any relief don't do it.
Avatar universal
Try not using a computer mouse for a complete week and see if it makes a difference, if it does then it eliminates worry about other causes and helps you target a solution accordingly, eg increased use of hotkeys instead of mouseclicks, or work that doesn't even need a computer.
Oftentimes work using the dominant hand is fine, but mouse work seems to be quite detrimental without proper forearm/wrist support or for extended periods of use even with support.
Avatar universal
Try not using a computer mouse for a complete week and see if it makes a difference, if it does then it eliminates worry about other causes and helps you target a solution accordingly, eg increased use of hotkeys instead of mouseclicks, or work that doesn't even need a computer.
Oftentimes work using the dominant hand is fine, but mouse work seems to be quite detrimental without proper forearm/wrist support or for extended periods of use even with support.
I have a muscle tare on my left upper shoulder, then there is damage done from carpal tunnel to my left shoulder as well, I already had all the same tests neurologist only did my left arm hand. Dr. says there's carpal tunnel, so I had XRays to MRIs. Shoulder needs surgery from the damage done from carpal tunnel, I had carpal tunnel surgery May 14th. 2017. I have more feeling,I can feel the strength though it still has work to be done I take the physical therapy classes so and I got recovery healing.
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