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Numbness/tingling and loss of some motor accuracy

Hello all, this is my first post, after having scoured forums for ideas, I hope someone here can reply, here goes symptoms:

Day 1
Numbness/tingling left pinkie and ring finger, and palm area below pinkie, lasting 4 days, NO pain, NO motor difficulty.

Day 4

Day 5
Left hand fingers mostly OK now / symptoms diminished.  NOW numbness / tingling on RIGHT arm, beginning in a pie-plate size radius including outside of shoulder, upper shoulder blade, collar bone area.  Outside of upper arm, forearm, whole palm, though numbness/tingling strongest in area of palm below the thumb, and the thumb, index, and middle fingers worst in order of intensity.  Right thumb and index finger also swollen a bit, no change in color or temperature, so mybe not a circulation issue?

Motor difficulty day 5 as well, at onset of R side numbness/tingle.

I can move move my arm, and have micro motor ability, can type and write like almost like normal.  Extend to grasp, it is like my "guidance" is off, find  the R hand fumbles a bit before engaging target such as an apple or bottle.

Day 6 symptoms sustained, no change

Day 7 symptoms sustained, no change

38yo male
non-smoker, non-drinker, no drugs
basically healthy
good diet / quality multivitamins
no other known conditions

So this is pretty weird for me, scheduled to see a PT, curious about continuing accupuncture therapy as it seems to have moved syptoms from one side of body to other while making them worse.


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Avatar universal
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.

Was there ever pain associated with the numbness/weakness? Tingling sensation in the hands and fingers has a large differential. It really depends on the location of the sensory changes. If they occur more on the lateral fingers (i.e., thumb and first two digits), it may be carpal tunnel syndrome. However, if the sensation occurs on the medial fingers (pinky and half of the ring finger) and medial aspect of palm, 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. Classically, it may be 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 or median nerve (which causes carpal tunnel syndrome) can be compressed and cause their neuropathies.  

Neuropathies can be caused by many mechanisms including microtrauma (overuse), hypothyroidism, weight changes, amyloidsosis, and diabetes, to name a few.

Another possibility is a cervical disc herniation, esp since your symptoms are now on the right. The vertebrae (bones of the spine) have material between them to cushion and allow for mobility. This material may be squished out. This is called a herniated disc. It can be squished out centrally or laterally. In most people the pain associated with a herniated disc may resolve within 4-6 weeks. A minority of patients do not respond to medical/conservative management and require surgery.  Symptoms suggesting the need for urgent surgery include muscle weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, loss of sensation, and progressive pain.

There are other possibilities, but these are typically the most common ones. I highly recommend that you follow up with a local neurologist. He/she will need to perform a detail neurological examination. Additionally, he/she may order 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 cape-like numbness of the arms. Other labs, such as vitamins, minerals and autoimmune panels, may be ordered based on the history that the neurologist may obtain.

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

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