Date:Jun / 2011
Thank you for your question.
You describe a 3 week history of intermittent 'pins and needles' affecting the arm / fingers as well as numbness, acheyness and left shoulder / neck pain. The intensity of your pain also appears to vary between mild and severe.
Your symptoms may well be the result of a 'trapped nerve' as you suspect. The other possibility is 'peripheral neuropathy', a condition that results from damage to nerves that come out of the spine to supply various parts of the body (e.g., neck, shoulder, arm, hand etc.). Again, this condition can result from various causes such as diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, trauma or injury to the nerve such as from irritation of 'impingement' when coming out from between vertebrae due to degenerative conditions or osteoarthritis such as in 'cervical spondylosis', various toxins including alcohol or drugs / medication, or more serious conditions. You can find more detailed information from this web-link: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Peripheral-Neuropathy.htm and http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Cervical-Spondylosis.htm
Given the history and symptoms you describe, I would recommend that you arrange to see your GP for a more detailed history and clinical examination where your doctor is likely to perform neurological examination including distribution of any abnormal or diminished sensation. Based upon direct clinical examination, your doctor may choose to send you for tests (e.g., fasting Glucose, Vit. B12 levels; or X-ray of your cervical spine and/or a chest x-ray). Sometimes, it may be necessary to carry out more specialised investigations such as 'nerve conduction tests' to identify the presence and nature of neuropathy. Depending upon the results of investigations, a referral to hospital specialist such as a neurologist may be considered by your doctor.
I do hope above information is useful to you and would like to wish you good health.
Thank you for using Thanks Doctor. I do hope this information is of use to you.
The Thanks Doctor Team