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  1. #1
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    my left pinky and ringer finger is numb

    So everything was fine, i went to sleep one night (about 1.5 months ago) and woke up with a numb pinky and ring finger. It is constant, and has been for the duration. Also, its spread to half of my palm (just under my numb fingers).

    I went to the doctor, had a shock test done on my ulnary nerve and some other nerves along the way up to my hand. The doctor said that my left ulnary nerve is slow and another nerve in my wrist is slow, maybe causing the numbness. Then he also tells me that i have similar problems with my right arm/hand (this hand isn't numb). He has had me on neurotin, (i think this is how its spelled), for the past 1.5 months and its not helping. My third visit to him, he says he can do surgery and it may or may not fix the problem. This is not a random doctor either, its cambells clinic, supposedly world known.

    This morning i woke up and my right pinky and ring finger is numb, very scary to me, as obviously i don't want anymore numbness. Thank God it went away after a minute or so.

    I have my elbos rested on my desk at work, then at home, all the time, which i think may have caused this whole thing... i dunno though, so i put pillows on my desks to rest my arms, along with splints on my wrists and a arm sock with a pad in it to protect my ulnary nerve and wrist.

    I haven't done anything damaging that i know of to any part of my arm/wrist.

    please tell me what you think and maybe something to prevent the rest of me from going numb! i'm stressed!

    I haven't been lifting during this time either. just fyi
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  2. #2
    Registered User ben3133's Avatar
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    The two nerves that the doctor will be referring to are your median and ulnar nerves.

    The slowing of the median nerve in both hands is obviously subclinical, so at this stage there is no reason to operate to fix that.

    Did your doctor tell you where the ulnar nerve is slowed? It is most likely slowed at the elbow based on how the numbness in your hand initially started - you probably slept in a position that put pressure on your funnybone. If you had a lot of pressure on it that night and have continued to apply pressure unknowingly, it can take up to 12 weeks for it to recover fully. Not sure why neurontin would be used if you don't have any pain - I've never heard of it being used for numbness.

    There are definitely non-surgical options to explore first.
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  3. #3
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    maybe some kind of impingement or damage to the nerve if you put pressure on it for a long time.
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    You already alluded to the cause; most likely it's Ulnar nerve compression from the elbow positioning. The referred numbness is the exact innervation pattern of the Ulnar nerve on the palmar surface. The pillow idea will aid in relieving the compression, but you are also going to have to be consciously aware of your elbow position while at work/home. Try to get used to moving/changing positions of your arms every 30 mins or so to relieve the pressure on the nerve. Also if this applies, position your laptop closer to you and see if your elbow can remain off of the surface.
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    Anti-Catabolic HighRevinSi's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ben3133 View Post
    The two nerves that the doctor will be referring to are your median and ulnar nerves.

    The slowing of the median nerve in both hands is obviously subclinical, so at this stage there is no reason to operate to fix that.

    Did your doctor tell you where the ulnar nerve is slowed? It is most likely slowed at the elbow based on how the numbness in your hand initially started - you probably slept in a position that put pressure on your funnybone. If you had a lot of pressure on it that night and have continued to apply pressure unknowingly, it can take up to 12 weeks for it to recover fully. Not sure why neurontin would be used if you don't have any pain - I've never heard of it being used for numbness.

    There are definitely non-surgical options to explore first.
    Yeah I don't know why the OP is being treated with Neurontin/Gabapentin, unless it's just for the Neuralgia. Still though, seems to aggressive because there is likely no existing nerve damage/trauma besides the compression.
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  6. #6
    Registered User ben3133's Avatar
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    Compression could be considered damage seeing as it causes degredation of the myelin sheath. I don't think the OP even described neuralgia? I haven't heard of gabapentin treating paraesthesia!
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    Originally Posted by ben3133 View Post
    Compression could be considered damage seeing as it causes degredation of the myelin sheath. I don't think the OP even described neuralgia? I haven't heard of gabapentin treating paraesthesia!
    Lesser compression merely interferes with the axoplasmic flow and does not cause myelin problems.

    You still not have read Butler have you.
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  8. #8
    Registered User ben3133's Avatar
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    I never said that in the case of the OP there was myelin damage. Also, how do we know the extent of compression the OP has? Sure, he has intermittent numbness, but it is complete numbness when present as far as I can tell from his description.

    And no, I have not read Butler. For the moment, my lectures, anatomy textbooks, physiology textbooks, neurology textbooks, neurophysiology textbooks, work as an electromyography technician, and discussion with a neurologist will suffice. If there is a summary of what Butler believes, by all means link me to it and I will read it. I understand that Butler has an opinion that differs from previous thought regarding the pathophysiology of neuropathy, but for now I am following previous mainstream beliefs until I have been educated and convinced otherwise.
    Last edited by ben3133; 12-25-2008 at 05:45 AM.
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  9. #9
    Registered User ben3133's Avatar
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    Maybe I should also point out that I am well aware that axoplasmic flow gets interrupted with compression (if that was the point you were making re reading Butler). For example, the visual changes experienced in intracranial hypertension.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by ben3133 View Post
    I never said that in the case of the OP there was myelin damage. Also, how do we know the extent of compression the OP has? Sure, he has intermittent numbness, but it is complete numbness when present as far as I can tell from his description.

    And no, I have not read Butler. For the moment, my lectures, anatomy textbooks, physiology textbooks, neurology textbooks, neurophysiology textbooks, work as an electromyography technician, and discussion with a neurologist will suffice. If there is a summary of what Butler believes, by all means link me to it and I will read it. I understand that Butler has an opinion that differs from previous thought regarding the pathophysiology of neuropathy, but for now I am following previous mainstream beliefs until I have been educated and convinced otherwise.
    And with that closed mind, sadly, you never will be.
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  11. #11
    Registered User ben3133's Avatar
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    Huh? Maybe you misread what I said...
    Originally Posted by ben3133 View Post
    I understand that Butler has an opinion that differs from previous thought regarding the pathophysiology of neuropathy, but for now I am following previous mainstream beliefs until I have been educated and convinced otherwise.
    ie. until I have read published material showing otherwise
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    Well guys, I logged on tonight just to look up this very same problem. I used to deadlift with straps all the time, and a couple of months ago I didn't have access to heavy weights so I decided it was a good time to ditch the straps to build up my grip. Of course I never got as many reps as usual, and on the last few I was struggling and really pushed it to the limit. The next morning my pinky and ring finger were numb on both hands, the left a little worse than the right. It radiated past my wrist on both sides. Doctors said it was a pinched nerve in my neck because it was both hands at once.

    I went back to straps and lighter weights and then took a short vacation without any lifting, and the right hand felt normal and the left one just tingled a bit at times. So this afternoon (two months later) I went back to the strapless deads and tonight the outer halves of both my hands are numb again. What gives? I don't want to stop lifting again so I think I will try to work through it to see what happens...

    Any ideas?
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  13. #13
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    If it's bilateral numbness on the same sets of digits and your Doc thinks your are compressing nerves in your neck, then you are compressing a division of the Brachial plexus (Ulnar Branch off Medial Cord). Are you breathing properly during the exercises??? You may be performing a Valsalva maneuver and forcing air against a closed airway; this will increase the pressure in the throat/thorax and may cause the surrounding neck muscles to constrict the nerve bundle (likely the Scalenes mm.) and refer the numbness.
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    Originally Posted by Cappybye View Post
    Well guys, I logged on tonight just to look up this very same problem. I used to deadlift with straps all the time, and a couple of months ago I didn't have access to heavy weights so I decided it was a good time to ditch the straps to build up my grip. Of course I never got as many reps as usual, and on the last few I was struggling and really pushed it to the limit. The next morning my pinky and ring finger were numb on both hands, the left a little worse than the right. It radiated past my wrist on both sides. Doctors said it was a pinched nerve in my neck because it was both hands at once.

    I went back to straps and lighter weights and then took a short vacation without any lifting, and the right hand felt normal and the left one just tingled a bit at times. So this afternoon (two months later) I went back to the strapless deads and tonight the outer halves of both my hands are numb again. What gives? I don't want to stop lifting again so I think I will try to work through it to see what happens...

    Any ideas?

    So there is a delay of a few hours between the exercise and the onset of symptoms?
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    Not really much of a delay, I suppose I could start feeling it right after the workout. It's the Ulnar nerve not much doubt about that. But I have been doing heavy deads regularly for years and it's only when I dropped the straps that it happened, so breathing and neck problems seem unlikely to me.

    But I think I have figured it out. It was a mystery because I have always done heavy deads with straps and now here I am doing lighter ones and having problems. Just the extra stress on the hands isn't supposed to pinch the Ulnar nerve, not usually anyway. But when I use straps I use an overhand grip and without them I use an opposed grip. This time I did two sets with my left hand under and it's my left hand that is the more numb of the two. I think the nerve is getting pinched somewhere in my arm when it's rotated that way and causing the problem.

    So I guess it's back to straps and overhand for now and we'll see how it works out.
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    Originally Posted by Cappybye View Post
    Not really much of a delay, I suppose I could start feeling it right after the workout. It's the Ulnar nerve not much doubt about that. But I have been doing heavy deads regularly for years and it's only when I dropped the straps that it happened, so breathing and neck problems seem unlikely to me.

    But I think I have figured it out. It was a mystery because I have always done heavy deads with straps and now here I am doing lighter ones and having problems. Just the extra stress on the hands isn't supposed to pinch the Ulnar nerve, not usually anyway. But when I use straps I use an overhand grip and without them I use an opposed grip. This time I did two sets with my left hand under and it's my left hand that is the more numb of the two. I think the nerve is getting pinched somewhere in my arm when it's rotated that way and causing the problem.

    So I guess it's back to straps and overhand for now and we'll see how it works out.

    yes, remember that the weight of the bar pulling down on the arms can also traction the nerve. Turning the hand inwards or outwards does effect which nerve is placed on tension more.
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    wow very good responses.

    I appreciate the time and thought of your posts. My pinky/ring finger and palm is not totally numb. I can move them, and i can feel hot and cold well. I'm having to look at the keyboard all the time now though, cause i keep pressing the wrong buttons on the left side of they keyboard ( caps, shift, ctrl, qwaszx, alt) Its alright though, hopefully this will get better, as long as it doesn't get worse!

    is there anything i can take that might help? I've heard, and am taking a ibufrofren, its suppose to take the pressure off. I'm still on the Neurontin/Gabapentin. Maybe taking some sort of b complex etc?

    ty
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    Lightbulb

    Maybe this post I just made will help someone with similar problems:
    --
    For me, once this problem started it didn't go away or get any better for more than 2 months. I started to think that I had actually caused some real nerve damage lifting, like maybe from the bar pinching something when I was doing heavy weight squats (like a user here on bb suggested). I tried using those silly pad things on the bar, but that didn't help at all... Seemed like the issue wasn't going to go away. I was just about to visit my doctor and request an MRI or something to find out the deal... but then I discovered the real source of the problem - now 3 days later, problem totally gone; health/grip fully restored in my pinky and adjacent fingers on the left hand (no more numbness/weakness).

    It was super simple:

    I was wearing LIFTING GLOVES, and I guess the left glove was kinda slipping into an unfavorable position when I was lifting, cutting off some circulation to those fingers. Since I lift about 6-days a week, I was just re-injuring it all the time.. hence the reason it never got any better.

    Tossed the gloves, and it instantly started feeling better. After 3-days, problem is completely GONE.

    No more lifting gloves for me.. I guess technically I could go get better fitting ones.. like maybe bike gloves or something, but its really not needed. I am totally cool with a few calluses - just happy that this problem is over.

    Cheers.
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