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Question
about 4 months ago i started having this left shoulder ache not really pain but a dull ache. after a few weeks that went away and almost instantly i started having pins and needles down my arm to my left thumb only. some times it was like being struck by lightning and it felt like my muscles were contracting down to my thumb.  about a week later the pins and needles started on the other side also and only into the thumb.  I went to a chiropractor who did xrays and gave me massage and ultrasound treatments and manipulated my neck.  the pins and needles left for a few days and then returned.  he thinks i should come in three times a week but this is difficult as i do anesthesia for a very busy short staffed anesthesia group.  
can i improve by getting treatment 1 or 2 times a week or should i be going to my doctor and get an mri ?....thanks  margaret

Answer
Hi Margaret,
The symptoms you describe are most likely originating from the nerve roots of the spine. The fact that the chiropractic physician alleviated the symptoms for a few days is a positive indication that symptoms may go away for a longer period.
Treatment on a schedule of 1-2 visits per week is certainly better than none. The chiropractic physician should be in agreement with that. I am always a fan of MRI when there is pain in the extremities. Your chiropractor can order an MRI unless your insurance company makes you jump through unnecessary hoops for medical authorization.  If you are feeling better over the course of two or three weeks an MRI may not be needed.
Let me know if the doctor has been helpful in accommodating to your schedule.

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Jerome M. True, DC, FIACN

Expertise

General musculoskeletal pain mechanisms, Evidence-based neuromusculoskeletal therapies, General chiropractic treatment options.

Experience

25 years of experience with back and neck disorders, Chiropractic neurologist, Success with non-surgical treatment of cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, Neurology textbook author.

Organizations
Florida Chiropractic Association, North American Association for Laser Therapy, American Association of Spine Physicians.

Publications
Myelopathy, Radiculopathy, and Peripheral Entrapment Syndromes, Journal of Athletic Training, Conservative Management of Sports Injuries,

Education/Credentials
Doctor of Chiropractic (Cleveland Chiropractic College), Diplomate of the American College of Chiropractic Neurology, Fellow International Academy of Chiropractic Neurology.

Past/Present Clients
Professional athletes, High net-worth patients, Physicians and Professionals.

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