A friend of mine went in for an EMG today; she was looking for an explanation for why, over the last few weeks, she's been feeling some weakness in her left hand, particularly the third and fourth fingers. It hasn't been dramatic, but she noticed around Christmas that she was having some trouble gripping things with that hand, that it feels somewhat numb and weak, and that when exposed to cold the symptoms seemed to get worse, so that she had trouble unbuckling her seatbelt. She's about 50, by the way.
The EMG evidently wasn't promising; I don't know details but my friend said her neurologist immediately ruled out the thing we'd thought it might be via Google search, which was ulnar nerve entrapment, and said that, basically, two nerves in my friend's hand are dead and that it must have been coming on for a while and my friend just didn't notice. She also said the neurologist ruled out diabetic neuropathy because it usually presents on both sides simultaneously.
The neurologist, evidently, was frankly puzzled and said so. My friend felt she was leaning towards its being some sort of disease but she wasn't sure what. She's getting more tests on Friday to see what is happening in her feet, and then after that there will probably be more to try to nail down what's causing this.
So far my friend seems to be taking this calmly (though I know she's worried). I on the other hand am freaking out, because I was really hoping that it was the ulnar nerve thing because Google seems to think that the other likely option is ALS. It also says, however, that ALS mimics a whole bunch of other things (but is really quiet about what those might be) and that it often presents with other symptoms like twitching, speech impairment, difficulty swallowing, etc. So I'm sort of hopeful that it could be something less serious but I'm having trouble figuring out what we might be looking at here.
Anyone have any places I can look for resources on someone suffering from two inexplicably dead nerves in the left hand?
Welcome to the forum.
Nice of you to be concerned about your friend.
There are various possibilities, not yet obvious to
anyone, as further testing and specific imaging is required.
Nerve compression could be involved, anywhere from cervical disc
herniation or shoulder area and perhaps combined with diabetic neuropathy -the comment by the neuro puzzles me as he almost ruled it out,
without due investigation.(Again the neuro had the physical presence of the patient, not the same as reading this post, I guess, so I'm giving the neuro the benefit of doubt.)
Does your friend have any metabolic issues that you know of?
Diabetic neuropathy is known to affect only one extremity when there are other factors present. One has to look at the entire picture.
One possible causative factor cannot be ruled out for lack of symmetrical symptomology unless the entire pathway (spine,shoulder,elbow,hand) is thoroughly examined.
I wouldn't be too concerned with the ALS result from your google search.
It is a bit premature at this point to draw any conclusions.
It would be good to rule out any deficiencies-B12 in particular- in connection to this, as a lesser co-factor.
All this will take some time to sort out.
Take care and keep us posted.
Thanks very much for the detailed response. Really helps ease my mind. I'm somewhat interested by the fact that you (and a couple other people and sites I've inquired with) say that diabetic neuropathy doesn't have to present on both sides; makes me wonder too why this neuro just dismissed it out of hand (no pun intended).
I've suggested to my friend that she look into asking the doctor about the possibility of a herniated C8 cervical disc, because that seems fairly likely based on what you and a couple other people have said and what the symptoms of that are, as well as the B12 idea.
Thanks again, a lot. :) Will probably post again depending on how things develop.
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