Sunday, September 5, 2010


We worked an armbar escape on both Thursday and Friday that involves stacking your opponent, keeping pressure on their hips, turning their legs to the side and freeing your arm.

On Friday night, after I got home, I noticed that my right arm from my shoulder to my fingers felt a little weird. While I was going to sleep it felt tingly. It's been a little tingly ever since. I had no pain Friday night and have had none since, but it's still worrisome.

I talked to a friend of mine who is a physical therapist and he said it sound like I have a pinched nerve either in my neck or shoulder, probably from inflamed tendons. Only way to be sure is to get an MRI, but he said I should probably just take off a few classes, do some stretches and see if it gets better in a few days. If not, I need to go in and have it looked at.

Either way, I am bummed. I don't want to miss any classes, but this kind of freaked me out so I think I will. Have any of you guys ever had anything like this happen?


leslie said...

That sounds exactly like my left arm. It feels like it's just on the verge of going to sleep. Mine used to flare up sometimes during or after class, and I always just assumed it was related to what we'd just done because it would go away for a while -- months, even. It even did actually fall asleep a few times during class, and there's this one spot in my shoulder that would sometimes ache so badly I thought I might cry. When the tingling and aching started happening almost every day -- and even while I was just typing at work -- I realized I might have a real problem.

I talked to Tom, one of our blue belts, who's a chiropractor, and he said he was pretty sure he knew what it was and how to fix it. He said he thinks it's a pinched blood nerve or even pinched blood vessel and that it's from inflamed muscles in my neck. I never had an MRI or had anyone else look at it, though.

I've been going in to see Tom now for a few months, and he does a combination of chiropractic adjustments and massage, mostly targeted to my neck. And it is getting better. When I went in, I was having pain almost constantly (yeah, I'm stubborn and resist going to see doctors for as long as possible); now, I'm down to minor flares during class, and they're so sporadic and so brief that I hardly remember them. Sometimes, if I sleep strangely on my left arm, I'll wake up with some ache or tingling.

Bonus is that I can turn my neck again now! And he's working to slow the unaligning of my back...

Dev said...

I don't want to freak you out, but I had neck surgery in 2004 (fused C6-7) for similar symptoms (albeit worse). It started well before that, but I would reinjure it every couple months. Usually I would get a stinging, electric pain down my arm, then my neck would hurt just under my shoulder blade, and my left arm would be abnormally weak for a couple weeks, then no problem for months or even years. It was diagnosed as a pinched nerve, and whenever someone mentioned surgery, I shrugged them off (with my good shoulder) :).

I finally injured it seriously in a training exercise (non-jits), and my entire left arm went numb. I couldn't move it or feel it, and it scared the shit out of me. I had to do some PT, and went through the progression from family doc to ortho to orthopedic surgeon. Got it fused and the next DAY it was better. I've had some mild tingling since I started jits, but I am EXTREMELY conscious of it.

My ortho surgeon buddy suggests mild neck traction, and making sure you stretch your neck well. I advocate neck strength exercises as well to prevent over-movement in any direction.

I don't know about chiropractic whatnot, but I wouldn't discount anything if it feels better. Stay safe, and don't push it.

SkinnyD said...

Tingling is always a scary thing to experience. I had tingling sensations and numbness that would travel from my fingertips, up my arm and into my mouth and tongue. These were before I started training BJJ. I found that the tingling was the precursor to a migraine headache. Every time I'd have that tingling, numbing sensation, within an hour I'd have a migraine.

Thankfully I haven't felt it in a while.

Point is, tingling can mean lots of different things. Hope you can get it resolved quickly :)

A.D. McClish said...

Thanks for the tips, guys. There is a guy in my class that sounds kind of like yours, Leslie, and I think I'm going to give that a shot and see how it goes.

Dev, that story does scare the heck out of me. lol I am fairly certain I have pinched a nerve. But I hope it doesn't lead to surgery! We will see, I guess.

Skinny D, I have heard about that happening. My Aunt gets migraines and she said the same thing. In my case, though, I don't have any headaches.

Do you guys roll when your arms are tingly? Or do you take classes off? Or just roll light?

Dev said...

Honestly, I'd go see someone if it's more than just a stinger. If it's persistent, it's something you want to address now. You can still workout with it - for me, it's just a matter of having a weak arm. But having gone through the entire sequence, it's not something I'd wish on anyone. Better safe than sorry. You have a long jiu jitsu career ahead of you, and it'd be great to be able to use both arms 100% for it. :)

leslie said...

I'm with Dev -- see someone about it. We can only guess. What Tom's doing for my arm seems to be working and addressing the issue before it gets any worse.

Mine used to happen in the middle of a roll. Usually I'd just stop and say, "My arm fell asleep!" and beat it on the ground a few times; then it would come back and I'd resume rolling. I never took time off from class or rolled any differently, even when it ached rather than tingled. Um, no sense of self-preservation here... :/