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left hand pinky and ring finger numbness
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left hand pinky and ring finger numbness

I have been suffering with the numbness in my left hand pinky and ring finger numbness for the past 7 months. I have worked on my computer with chin resting on my left hand for 20 hours. During this time i could not take proper food and rest. After this next day I travelled by air for another 20 hours where i slept in the aircraft on three adjascent seats resting my neck on uneven seats.  Numbness developed after completing my travel.

can you pl advise me, it is because of my elbow stress or due to my travel sleep. Also advise me the required medical actions.  with regards.. hari
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

Tingling sensation in the hands and fingers has a large differential. It really depends on the location of the sensory changes. Since the sensation occurs on the medial fingers (pinky and half of the ring finger), it may be a neuropathy from the ulnar nerve. This nerve is also known as your “funny bone” when tapped or hit. It has several sites of compression along its course – one site being at the elbow and another being slightly distal to the elbow (to name a few). Classically, it occurs in a truck driver who rests elbow on window/door. It should also be mentioned that with rapid weight gain or weight loss, the ulnar nerve can be compressed and cause their neuropathies. Whether the cause is from the airplane or computer use or both is difficult to say. It is likely a combination of years of damage.

I recommend that you follow up with your local neurologist. He/she will perform a specific neurological examination focused on the ulnar nerve. The neurologist may also elect to perform an EMG/NCS to evaluate the motor and sensory components of the median and ulnar nerves as they travel to the wrist. An MRI of the neck may be necessary to examine the discs in your back more closely to ensure no herniation of the discs and also ensure that there is no dilatation of the central canal of the spinal cord, which can cause numbness of the arms. Other labs, such as vitamins and autoimmune panels, may be ordered based on the history that the neurologist may obtain.

Treatment options for the ulnar include surgical release/correction. However, less invasive procedure such as splinting and lifestyle modifications should be tried first, as you have done. Medications are usually directed at the underlying cause and include NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.

2 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
thank you for your answer...regards   hari
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