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Numbness in my fingers

AD

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,781
Last week, my pinky and the side of my ring finger on my fretting hand went numb or "asleep" (same feeling of when you've slept on your hand or leg....). Depending on how i positioned my arm, the sensation will increase and my palm will also go asleep for a short period of time...

I've done some limited research on the net and planning to see a RMT and my MD next week....anyone experience this and have exercises or "home remedies" - thx
 

Papajuice

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,133
I have been having the same problem with my left hand and right one clawing up when I play. After a bunch of test they said the left is carpel tunnel syndrome and put a shot of steroids in my wrist. A month later I have had no problems, but the right one they said is a type of distonia or palsy they have not been able to figure out. Kind of sucks when you play for 40 minutes and then you can't hold a pick. Funny it really only gets bad when I play. Best of luck with what ever you find.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,132
Last week, my pinky and the side of my ring finger on my fretting hand went numb or "asleep" (same feeling of when you've slept on your hand or leg....). Depending on how i positioned my arm, the sensation will increase and my palm will also go asleep for a short period of time...

I've done some limited research on the net and planning to see a RMT and my MD next week....anyone experience this and have exercises or "home remedies" - thx
Hey AD, I've had a couple of problems.

Most of them are due, I believe to pinched nerves. Usually this happens in the neck area, and has to do with the angle of your head. What you can do is once it starts, see if you can keep your arms in position, and change the angle of your neck (your neck, not the guitar neck) and see if it goes away.

I had this problem in a Toe years ago. It finally went away. But I had this other problem a couple years back where my Tricep area of my right arm would have this dull, aching pain, and my thumb and index finger were "tingly". The pain is gone, but the "tingliness" of my fingers is still there - it's lessened to some degree where I don't think too much about it anymore, but I notice it now only if something lightly brushes across the surface of those fingers (and really, it's mostly in the area where you would hold the pick).

Lately, I've had this other problem where my left arm will "go to sleep". Same problem - I change the angle of my neck and it will start or stop. It's pretty freaky how quickly it comes on and goes away when I move - so basically if I get into a position where it starts, I can move to stop it pretty quickly.

I've been falling asleep in the living room chair lately (passing out from exhaustion is more like it) and that position is excerbating it. It was getting better over the summer, but now it's starting to get worse again, so I have to baby it.

Fortunately, it's not affected my playing yet, but I don't want it too.

A lot of time pinched nerves are caused by an inflammation, so steriods and anti-inflammatories can help that. Carpal Tunnel is of course another issue - and I fear more dangerous one for your hands.

I went through a time period when we were gigging four nights a week that my arms would be asleep when I woke up in the middle of night (you know, pins and needles, feel like they weigh a ton). Could have been that I was also sleeping more soundly because I was up late, and up early in those days, and just not moving them in my sleep as much to reposition, or it could have been a direct result of playing.

No issues with that since though (only play gigs around twice a month now).

So I'd get your hands (carpal tunnel) and your neck (pinched nerve) checked just to be safe.

Caveat - not a doctor, just play one on the internet.

Good Luck
Steve
 

Full Monty

Member
Messages
312
the right one they said is a type of distonia or palsy they have not been able to figure out.
Dystonia is very nasty because it sneaks up on you. One day you notice that the things you used to be able to do easily seem to have become difficult and it's only when you look back over a considerable period that you realise you've deteriorated gradually.
 
Messages
42
I had similar problems with the little and ring fingers of my right hand. My doctor thought it was Cubital Tunnel syndrome, where the nerve running round the back of the arm and through the elbow gets pinched. I went to physical therapy and the therapist thought that a lot of my problems stemmed from playing acoustic for long periods and resting my upper-arm on the guitar's sharp edge. I was teaching so I was doing it for many hours at a time and as tiredness crept in I'd maybe slouch a bit.

Anyway, I bought a shallow Ovation so I couldn't lean in the same way. I also did lots of stretching exercises, yoga, massage etc. Also, try submerging your forearm alternately in hot and cold water (30 secs cold, 1 min hot IIRC) for 10 minutes a day. Ibuprofen takes some of the inflammation away (I'm not a doctor). If you use a computer regularly, get a mouse like this or a decent rollerball type.

I'm not fully recovered, but 1000x better. I hope all goes well for you.
 

MacLoud

Member
Messages
111
AD I had the same thing, little and ring finger numb and tingling, five years ago. I went to my Doc and was referred immediately for nerve tests on my arm. The nerve was trapped in my elbow. It got so bad I could barely play. Surgery was the only answer and it was expensive.
Please go to see a doctor ASAP.

Best wishes

Delta MacLoud
 

townsend

Member
Messages
1,538
You need to be examined by a hand specialist/orthopedist and an EMG/NCV (= electromyelogram/nerve conduction velocity study) needs to be ordered. This is (as one poster suggested above) cubital tunnel syndrome. It is not carpal tunnel syndrome, judging in the the fingers involved (small and adjacent side of ring finger). Of course, without further evaluation, the neck can't entirely be ruled out, but it is less likely on the basis of your symptoms. In cubital tunnel syndrome, the ulnar nerve is compressed/impinged at the elbow.

See my post #8 in this thread:
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/530522&highlight=cubital+tunnel

See my post #2 in this thread:
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/555669&highlight=cubital+tunnel

This is treatable and very often curable. Don't despair. Just get to a hand orthopedist. Yes, a neurosurgeon can also help you, but the hand orthopedist see this more often, at least based on my experience. Best wishes for a full recovery.
 

diego

Member
Messages
3,040
Could also be thoracic outlet syndrome, which is often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. Physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, and most of all... stretching and strengthening all helped me. Some of these problems, as noted earlier, take a while to develop and can take some work to correct and maintain afterwards.

I had the best results from seeing a neurologist who specialized in RSI type injuries.
 
Last edited:

Julia343

Member
Messages
7,610
I've got it in my left hand. Pinky and outside of the ring finger. Ulnar nerve. I've had it for about 15 years. Four possible places: wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck. Mine is a combination of neck, shoulder and elbow. I can't do anything about the neck. Shoulder? rotator cuff exercises. Elbow? Tricep extensions.

Months of physical therapy. The set of exercises have helped. It's about keeping the ligaments tight in the elbow. Really helps. Rotator cuff? Yeah. You're not moving your shoulder much when you play. The little muscles get weak and tired, then the big muscles splint and pinch the nerve.

Lots of fun. Get some PT.

PS: You're not playing a heavy axe are you? Make sure you've got a soft wide leather strap, like a Franklin from MF.
 

tnvol

Ufologist
Messages
6,777
A couple years ago the knuckles on my left hand started to swell up and hurt one by one over the course of about two weeks. I just freaked out because it was painful to play. I went to the doc and he said "Welcome to middle age". lol. He gave me some naproxin and it cleared it right up. I take one every few days or whenever I feel like I need to.
 

Strat

Member
Messages
3,905
As a OccMed/Rehab Dr who treats many, many professional musicians I can offer the that the most common cause for upper extremity neurologic complaints is mechanical, either posture induced or technique induced.

Surgery and nerve tests are very rarely indicated or needed, either are xrays or MRI's until the patient has failed a comprehensive musculoskeletal assessment and rehabilitation of muscle imbalances ad correction of postural strain issues.

For more on this I recommend investigating the writings of Vladimir Janda, MD and Karl Lewitt Md. and learn to care for your body yourself.
 

Strat

Member
Messages
3,905
As an OccMed/Rehab Dr who treats many, many professional musicians I can offer the that the most common cause for upper extremity neurologic complaints is mechanical, either posture induced or technique induced.

Surgery and nerve tests are very rarely indicated or needed, either are xrays or MRI's until the patient has failed a comprehensive musculoskeletal assessment and rehabilitation of muscle imbalances ad correction of postural strain issues.

For more on this I recommend investigating the writings of Vladimir Janda, MD and Karl Lewitt Md. and learn to care for your body yourself.
 

Axemeister

Member
Messages
2,136
Plenty of good advice here. Over the past few years I have had a few issues with both hands/arms, and found differing causes.

My carpal and cubital issues were related to ergonomics and repetitive activities, but my other current issue is related to cervical (neck spinal area) pressure. This does not sound like this would be related to your case since the cervical nerve issues usually impact thumb through index finger rather than pinky, etc. I think it sounds like carpal tunnel if it is your pinky finger and adjacent areas...

Regardless of what others might say, if any of this has been severe or ongoing for any length of time a responsible doctor might want to do some nerve testing to make sure that you do not have any nerve damage. There are numerous treatments for carpal and or cubital issues so you should be able to come up with remedies and or treatments for your problems. Good luck.
 

mtndog

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,121
Not everyone is open to chiropractic treatment, but this was the fix for me when I had the very same symptoms you are describing. My chiropractor is a very cool guy, and quite good.

Whatever treatment you are open to is what you need to do, as this is not likely to fix itself. Best of luck.
 

coot tone

Member
Messages
1,756
For the past month I've been waking up with numbness in my pinky and ring finger of the left hand. Been to the doctor twice about it. Probably Cubital tunnel, he says, but it was possibly a side effect of a medication I was taking at the time. I quit taking the medication, but am still having problems with the numbness when I wake up. The last two nights I have worn a brace to bed on my left wrist and have had no numbness. Wearing the brace really doesn't bother me, since I already have a C-PAP mask strapped to my face. I'm going to see how the brace does for a few days and if it reoccurs go to an orthopedic doctor.

The good news for me is that it doesn't happen when I play, and I don't have any pain when I play....yet!
 

AD

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,781
Thx for all the comments. I saw a chiropractor today and will be getting xrays in the next hour. Have another appointment w. the Chiro tomorrow.....AD
 

bigdaddy

Member
Messages
6,485
I had a similar experience. Thought first of a pinched nerve. Saw a chiropractor 5-6 times and, bingo, problem solved.
 

Cottage

Member
Messages
1,491
I've been getting that for a couple of years now. I went to a physical therapist and she suggested lifting the shoulder on that side as high as you can and hold it bthere until the numbness goes away. Try it, it actually works. Frees up some of the tendons, apparently. If you are in the middle of the inevitable "shuffle in G", you can actually do it on stage and free up the numb fingers.
 

Strat

Member
Messages
3,905
Sorry to hear that. Your necessary expenses just tripled.

Thx for all the comments. I saw a chiropractor today and will be getting xrays in the next hour. Have another appointment w. the Chiro tomorrow.....AD
 






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