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Numb Fingers

  : : Hello  I was wondering if you could answer a question for me.  I am 30 years old and I am a teacher. I have been having some problems with my right hand.  At night my hand goes numb and often my ring finger and middle finger hurt.  The pain wakes me up.  There are also times during the day that my hand and fingers go numb.  I was told it was possibly carple tunnel ....Do these symptoms sound familar?  Thank you for your time and help.
  : : maureen
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  : Dear Maureen,
  : One of the earliest signs of carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness and pain in the hand at night.  The distribution is distinctively in the thumb, index and middle fingers of the hand.  
  : Carpal tunnel syndrome results from compression of the median nerve at the wrist.  It can present, as noted above, with nighttime findings which may progress to daytime pain, numbness and weakness of the thumb.  Carpal tunnel syndrome is often seen in patients who do repetitive tasks such as typing, writing or knitting, for example.
  : Try making a fist and then flexing your wrist to make a 90 degree angle with respect to the forearm.  Hold it there for a minute or so.  If this maneuver reproduces the pain, you likely have carpal tunnel.  This is known as Phalen's test.
  : Initial therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome is conservative with a wrist splint and avoidance of things that would aggravate matters.  Surgery for decompression of the nerve is indicated only after a period of conservative therapy has failed to improve the symptoms.
  : Speak to a physician about the diagnosis of carpal tunnel in you situation for an opinion.  Also, one should be wise to the possibility of a herniated cervical disc in this situation as well.
  : Good luck.
  I have some additional input for you as I have also been waking at night with both hands numb.  In my case, it was often just the ring and pinkie if I woke early enough.  The orthopedic doctor I saw diagnosed me with ulnar nerve compression.  This nerve runs through the elbow but affects the fingers, and is compressed and aggravated when the elbow is bent more than 90 degrees (such as when you write on a chalkboard...)  It helped me to wear an elbow brace at night to keep me from bending my elbows in my sleep.  Also avoid leaning on your elbows on a desktop or arm of a chair.  It is much improved.  I had aggravated it by completing 38 illustrations by hand at my drawing board with my arms bent all the time.  Good luck.
==========patient to patient message

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