Ask the Doctors: Jan. 7, 2011

Q: I get frequent numbness in my fingers. Is this normal, or should I get it checked out? What could it be?

A: Certainly anyone experiencing recurrent numbness or sensory changes in any part of the body should seek medical attention. Numbness in the hands or fingers could signify nerve compression, as one sees with carpal tunnel syndrome, or nerve compression in the neck, as with a herniated disc. These symptoms also could be caused by a peripheral neuropathy, which is sometimes caused by nutritional deficiencies or exposures to some chemicals or toxins. Stroke is another possibility, which must be excluded. Evaluating these symptoms requires a thorough physical exam by your physician and possibly lab work, x-rays or other tests.

MossJohn J. Moss, MD
Medical Director,
Northside Hospital Spine Center

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One Response to Ask the Doctors: Jan. 7, 2011

  1. There are several types of nerve compression issues for the arm and hand. The pain pattern is very helpful in determining the nerve which is injured. But each nerve has several ‘choke points’ which can cause the symptom set. Carpal Tunnel is a common disease of the median nerve. But there is also pronator teres, interosseous membrane, and Struthers which can also compress the median nerve. Don’t be fooled into thinking that all median nerve injury is CTS.

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