Q: I have been working out regularly for six months. Lately, when I have been doing upper body exercises, I start to have pain and numbness that travels all the way down my right arm into my little and ring finger.
The symptoms go away after I stop working out. I rested for two weeks but as soon as I went back to my workouts, the pain and numbness returned. Advil does not seem to help. I really enjoy the workouts and do not want to stop. Is it safe to keep working out and what can I do to get better?
A: Pain and numbness are not normal and you should be checked out by a neurologist or a sports medicine specialist.
One possible cause of your symptoms is thoracic outlet syndrome. This is caused by compression of the nerves, arteries or veins as they go from the neck to the arm. These symptoms commonly result from overuse, trauma, an extra rib or vessel abnormalities.
Initial treatment usually is chest muscle strengthening and posture improvement exercises as well as modifying your work out program. Other possible causes for your symptoms include cervical nerve compression or a rotator cuff injury. Your physician may order nerve testing, MRI scans and X-rays to establish the correct diagnosis.
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