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Arms go numb?

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Old 01-31-2003, 06:33 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 972
Merrida HB User
Post Arms go numb?

Does this sound like a nerve thing, spine thing, or vascular thing?

My arms go numb. It's been going on for a year or two, maybe a little bit before that on and off, but this past year or two for sure.

Especially this past year, earlier in the year, it would be noticable when I drove, either arm up on the steering wheel, within just a few minutes it would go numb. I'd switch arms (because obviously two arms up there means they both go numb so I keep alternating with one on top one on the bottom)...and shake it out, and it's gone. Nothing residual.

Then more recently, past several months, it's when I use my mouse (I also spend more time on the computer this last year than I have in years)...typing, my arms will go numb, and/or my mouse hand/arm.

But again I shake it out, and it's fine.

I thought vascular because if I could "shake it out" it must be like it's falling asleep?

But, I also got whiplash from an accident many years ago, so I think maybe it's cervical. Except that I've not had it until recently and this accident was over a decade ago.

For a while my doc thought it might be carpel tunnel.

It means that I cannot do things with my arms, including holding up a book to read, drive, type, use the mouth, work with my hands, brush my dog, etc., for "extended" periods of time without them going numb. It goes "to sleep" like interrupted blood supply but it also tingles like a neurological issue, but I'll also occasionally get wrist pains and forearm pains. I also lift heavy weights in my work (briefly: ie: lifting several 45lb weight plates onto the racks) -- so nothing strenuous or extended.

It seems that if I can make it stop by shaking them out, the docs don't seem too concerned. But I'd still like to have some idea of what might be contributing to this.

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Old 01-31-2003, 07:32 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: stoughton WI USA
Posts: 4,069
mlgable HB User

Sounds like carpel tunnel syndrome to me. Ask your doc for a referal to a neurologist and get this checked out. If your doc won't refer you then see one on your own or consider changing to a doc who will take you medical problems seriously. Good Luck.

Old 01-31-2003, 08:28 AM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 972
Merrida HB User

I actually have an excellent doctor who (I am very fortunate here) does take me very seriously. I have several medical conditions going on, and comparatively, arms that occasionally go numb are a small thing to worry about. I've got greater issues. I have checked with my chiropractor as well, because I do go for adjustments.

There was a while where they both did agree that this sounded like carpel tunnel as I exhibited all of the symptoms, but it turned out that a medication I was on was causing such severe water retention that the fluid buildup was putting pressure on my ulnar and radial nerves, as well as spinal nerves (which made my back pain worse, but that's a separate issue).

With regards to this, I've been off that med for 1-1/2 years now. But oddly enough it seems that sort of was coincidentally the starting off point of this bizarre arm pain. I never had it before that I can recall.

So given we've been trying to rule things out (ie: to determine if it's fluid, if it's cervical nerve root compression, if it's cardiovascular),...and because tests are inconclusive and because it will go away, this is not a top-list priority.

I'm not bleeding and nothing is broken, and I can control it by altering what I do. But it doesn't lessen my curiosity about what is really causing this. It's so frustrating! Aagh.

Life isn't what happens to you -- it's how you react to it!

Thoughts don't make us who we are -- Actions do.

Old 01-31-2003, 09:49 AM   #4
Posts: n/a

If I keep my arm bent or above my heart for a certain period of time, my thumb and tips of my fingers go numb.

It could be a circulation thing. It could be a spine thing, especially because of your DDD.


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