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Old 03-06-2011, 04:13 PM   #1
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Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Hi,

I've been waking up in the morning with 2 numb fingers in my left or right hand. I noticed this happens if I only sleep on my back. Is a nerve possibly being pinched in my cervical spine?

Could a MRI prove this theory?

Thank-you

 
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:54 PM   #2
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Possibly full lower and upper EMG. I have some nerve symptoms in my hands and through EMG testing found out much of it was related to undiagnosed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which has occurred since the last EMG 18 months ago. They also found some of my nerve symptoms were from cervical nerve impingement.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:43 AM   #3
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

An impinged ulnar nerve can also cause hand or finger numbness. I sometimes sleep with my elbow bent and wake up with numb fingers.

A MRI of the cervical spine would probably show if there is compression of one of the cervical spine nerves, or something else that is impinging on a nerve at the C- 7 or C-8 level.

Last edited by teteri66; 03-07-2011 at 10:46 AM.

 
Old 03-07-2011, 12:43 PM   #4
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Hi sometime if the hand is bent at a strange angle during sleep or if the circulation is compromised this may also cause it in my opinion. When a person wakes up pay attention to what position the hand was in and also one might think about how much water they had the day before. Raynaud's might also do it.

 
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:39 PM   #5
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Thanks so much everyone,

I'm pretty sure I'm not kinking my arm when I sleep as I wake up on my back and have it. Although maybe it is kinked abit still, I'll have to pay very close attention. I'm in Canada so I can request an MRI but it will take 6-8 months which I can get the ball rolling on.

Interesting on the dehydrated comment, as I was drinking heavily over the weekend. I'll have to keep an eye on that aswell.

 
Old 03-07-2011, 05:12 PM   #6
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Please please, no more MRIs or EMGs, increadibly expensive and in a case like this it is the history and examination which count. So if it is s 5th root no analgesia in the fingers. Sixth root thumb and index. Seventh root the index long and ring finger. The eighth root long, ring, and little, usually but not always. First thoracic root fingers retain sensation. If you finger sensation loss resolves its self when you are up and about you are probably not suffering anything else other than some stretching of the cervical spine. Get a bolster to stop yourself lying flat on your back. If it continues see a health professional to have a look at you cervical spine, posture, muscle power and reflexes.

 
Old 03-07-2011, 08:47 PM   #7
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Hi James,

I'm having a hard time interpreting your post. You are from BC, Canada? You are right, the MRI's are expensive but if it shows impinged nerves then I will know the cause. I loss sensation in the ring and pinky finger, which is a result of ulnar problems. I'm worried that one of the cervical disks is impinging this nerve but I've read it can come from the elbow and shoulder as well. It's not happening to me all the time so I guess I'm not overly concerned about it.

What is a bolster? What are these strethes you talk about with the cervical?

 
Old 03-07-2011, 10:42 PM   #8
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

crashdummie,

I have two herniated discs in my neck (C5/C6 & C6/C7), and when I lay on my back my arms go numb in my pinky/ring fingers going part way up my lower arm, and sometimes my middle finger area is also affected. For the last several months I also have this problem when I lay on my side. I got an epidural recently which has really helped the problem (prior to this I was waking up at least five times per night with partially numb arms). For me the discs are centrally herniated which causes both arms to partially go numb, sometimes both at the same time and sometimes one or the other depending on my position.

Regarding getting an MRI, I would say it only makes sense if the problem causes you major issues, like sleep disruption most nights. I was once told by my doctor that before you have any expensive test, you always ask if you are doing the test just to have the satisfaction of knowing the cause of the problem, or if you would really do anything differently or take any actions based on knowing the results. The question then to ask are if you would do anything different if you knew you had a herniated disc causing your arm numbness, and do you feel your condition is bad enough that you would consider surgery.

My mom recently saw her neurosurgeon who helped her with a different problem, and asked him to order an MRI of her lower back as it has bothered her for years. However, she started off by saying there was no way she would ever consider having back surgery, but wanted to find out if there was a problem in her lower back. He then proceeded to tell her that since she wasn't willing to ever consider back surgery he wouldn't order an MRI as it didn't make any sense to - lol! Boy was she ever mad at him! She just couldn't understand why he wasn't willing to order the MRI so she could ease her curiosity.

Keep in mind also that it's possible your arm numbness could be caused by problems other than a cervical issue, but how you describe it does fit with a cervical problem.

 
Old 03-08-2011, 12:38 AM   #9
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Yes, little and ring fingers sensory loss can come from the ulnar nerve usually if the groove at the elbow is not that deep, or if you sleep in a position which puts tension on the nerve. Normally no pain or irritation is felt at the elbow its self. In males the arm is almost straight with the arm extended. In females the angle is greater. If the angle is too great then nerve stretching can occur.
You may, when asleep have your elbows tucked under you or put your hands on the back of your head both of which can cause grief. So is it a 7th root from thecervical spine, a sleeping position , or too acute an angle at the elbow?
You should see a therapist who is qualified in manual therapy, see what he or she thinks.
Oh yes, the bolster, a very large pillow tied down so you can't roll onto your back, and see what happens, it may help immediately.
James

Last edited by james079; 03-08-2011 at 12:39 AM. Reason: spelling eror!!

 
Old 03-08-2011, 06:00 AM   #10
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Hi some of the prior poster comments about carpel tunnel or nerve impingements in bone joints of hand, elbow, axilla, spine or in fact anywhere along the nerve may also be valid. Is a lot of typing done? If an EMG is positive I would want to know the cause. An AMAS test might check for tumors in case a malignant tumor is making pressure. MRI's can be expensive so the less expensive tests could be tried first but then of course if one intends to get one in the first place then the other little tests merely add to expense. Some hand specialists and maybe neurologists might be able to help figure it out at less expense.

If the difficulty stems from a herniated disc more water, taken in, may absorb into the squished out disc and help lift it off the impinged nerve.

Last edited by sjb; 03-08-2011 at 06:05 AM. Reason: addition

 
Old 03-08-2011, 06:27 PM   #11
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Yes, compression in the cervical spine certainly can be one cause of your numbness. I used to have this happen to me on & off, then after some time, I would wake up with both arms completely numb. I was also having neck pain on & off. After a while of me really paying attention to when this was happening to me, it was usually after I woke up (on my back also with my arms just laying to each side). Then eventually I started getting finger pins & needles & numbness when I was sitting sometimes. One day I was playing with my cat, on the floor, and I fell asleep on the floor. My head was tilted back since I didn't have a pillow. Well, when I woke up, both arms were totally numb again. I couldn't even get up until the feeling came back. Then I thought maybe it was due to the position of my head. So I did a lot of trial & error with pillows and such and ended up finding complete relief of that problem while sleeping when I started using this small buckwheat filled u-shaped cervical pillow. I also put it on top of several other pillows that I layered so I wouldn't be flat. The way I sleep on this pillow, it keeps my head from tilting back at all. And wouldn't you know.....I don't get numb while sleeping anymore. I did find out this past October that I do have cervical stenosis along with a massive disc herniation in my neck. I have also gotten what I now know was nerve pain in my fingers on & off. (When this first started happening to me several yrs ago, it actually would wake me up from sleep from the pain. I told my Rheumatologist about it b/c I thought it was joint pain and he dismissed it. He said my fingers weren't swollen, so they were fine.) The worst thing was, I already had been diagnosed w/ lumbar spinal stenosis by him and MRI's which was severe, I could hardly walk anymore. So he knew of all my lower spine problems, but dismissed all my neck problems to fibromyalgia and never sent me for MRI's for my neck. Several months ago I went to a new Pain Management doc and he sent me for MRI's of everything and that's when all my cervical issues were diagnosed.

But again, like the other posters said, it could be due to many things. You can always try getting some pillows that will prevent your neck from bending back while you sleep and see if that helps at all. Or, you could even just sit and/or lay down any time to test it. Lay down and bend your head back and see what happens. If your fingers start going numb, then I bet you probably have cervical nerve compression.

 
Old 03-09-2011, 08:43 PM   #12
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

Great information everyone, thanks so much. Yea, I'm leaning towards it's a cervical problem, bummer. But it's not so bad yet as it happens rarly and I avoid sleeping on my back now. It has also happened to both hands. I'll tell yea, when the back goes, it all goes, like a jenga tower.

 
Old 03-10-2011, 12:18 AM   #13
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

[QUOTE=crashdummie;4702890]Great information everyone, thanks so much. Yea, I'm leaning towards it's a cervical problem, bummer. But it's not so bad yet as it happens rarly and I avoid sleeping on my back now. It has also happened to both hands. I'll tell yea, when the back goes, it all goes, like a jenga tower.[/QUOTE]

No Crash it's ulnar nerve, not cervical, read post 9. Cervical does not give the inner two fingers sensory changes.
James

 
Old 03-10-2011, 10:04 AM   #14
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

[QUOTE=james079;4701380]Yes, little and ring fingers sensory loss can come from the ulnar nerve usually if the groove at the elbow is not that deep, or if you sleep in a position which puts tension on the nerve. Normally no pain or irritation is felt at the elbow its self. In males the arm is almost straight with the arm extended. In females the angle is greater. If the angle is too great then nerve stretching can occur.
You may, when asleep have your elbows tucked under you or put your hands on the back of your head both of which can cause grief. [B]So is it a 7th root from thecervical spine[/B], a sleeping position , or too acute an angle at the elbow?
You should see a therapist who is qualified in manual therapy, see what he or she thinks.
Oh yes, the bolster, a very large pillow tied down so you can't roll onto your back, and see what happens, it may help immediately.
James[/QUOTE]

So this 7th root from the cervical spine can't compress the ulnar nerve alone? I've been getting a ton of cracking and popping my neck too lately, with sore muscles aswell. Is this signs of herniation?

Last edited by crashdummie; 03-10-2011 at 10:10 AM.

 
Old 03-10-2011, 10:16 AM   #15
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Re: Morning numbness in hand, spine problem?

[QUOTE=crashdummie;4703263]So this 7th root from the cervical spine can't compress the ulnar nerve alone? I've been getting a ton of cracking and popping my neck too lately, with sore muscles aswell. Is this signs of herniation?[/QUOTE]


If it were the 7th root you would have weak triceps and perhaps weak wrist extesors.
James

 
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