yesterday morning (about 20 hrs ago) I woke up with a numb left index finger- all of the top joint and partly the middle is numb. It has not improved and I'm getting worried. My history: 24 y.o. female. In 7/95 I developed repetitive strain injuries from keyboarding- mostly in right hand, arm- no numbness, just achy feelings. Then I had a car accident in 12/95 with minor whiplash. About 3 months after accident I began having neck and upper back pain. The forearm/wrist/hand pain varied, as did my neck and back pain. A few times my right thumb has gone numb for several days, but with lots of stretching (forearm and neck), it has always gone away. I have seen many specialists and the only diagnosis I've received is "myofascial pain syndrome". I've had all the nerve tests, xrays, tendonitis has been ruled out, as has carpal tunnel. Actually, my hand/forearm pain has decreased in the past year, although neck and back always bother me. My former chiropractor said I have a decreased curvature in my upper spine (neck). I did not do anything specific that would have caused the finger to go numb. While I know a little about the ulnar nerve, I don't know which nerve connects to index finger, and which neck muscles can compress that nerve. I have very tight scalenes, and I stretch my neck often. I have had no luck with anything doctors have recommended, except that I do feel better if I stretch, de-stress myself however I can, and get a lot of aerobic exercise. But the numb finger worries me. Can you shed any light on it or recommend which tight muscles may be causing this? Also, is there any way to help bring the curve back to my neck, or will I always suffer from neck and back pain?
Thanks for your question. The first three digits (thumb, index, middle fingers)
are innervated by the median nerve; the fifth digit is innervated by the
ulnar nerve; there is some variation between median/ulnar for the fourth
digit. Because of your past history of "stress related injuries" and
particularly if you have continued to use keyboards extensively, it is
possible that your current symptoms are related to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
As you probably know, this clinical situation results from a compression
of the median nerve around the wrist area, where the nerve passes underneath
a fibrous tissue band. This "tunnel" space is decrease during flexion
of the wrist - such as during the relaxation of sleep - thus triggering
the symptoms of numbness and/or tingling (pin & needles). I realize you
had a "negative" EMG study in the past, but if your symptoms persist, an
medical evaluation might be helpful.
I hope this information is helpful. Best of luck.
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only.
Please consult your doctor regarding diagnostic and treatment options.
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