Arm Numbness, Tingling Hands and Fingers


Numbness means decreased, and tingling  unusual skin sensation. In this article, numbness and tingling in the arm, shoulder, hand or fingers are described. Read about numbness in both arms (hands) AND legs (feet).

Picture 1. Arm dermatomes
(A dermatome is a skin area, innervated by a single spinal nerve)
(Source: Wikimedia)


Pressure Upon the Arm

Pressure upon the arm nerves or vessels causing numbness, tingling or temporary paralysis of the arm may result from:

  • Sleeping with the hand under the head
  • Sitting with the arm hanging over the back of a chair
  • Wearing straps or carrying a bag or rucksack
  • Inflated cuff during measuring blood pressure

Raising the Arms Above the Level of the Heart

Keeping the hand(s) above the level of the heart during work or sleep can prevent appropriate blood perfusion of the hands, and cause numbness, tingling or partial paralysis of the hand(s) within few minutes.


In cold weather, narrowing of the arteries in the hands and fingers can prevent appropriate blood supply and thus numbness, tingling, pain or temporary paralysis of the hands and fingers.


Cervical Disk Syndrome

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) or injury, like hyper-extension injury in car accidents (head moves rapidly toward the back), can result in bulging or herniated disc(s) pressing upon the cervical (neck) spinal nerves, thus causing symptoms of cervical disc syndrome:

  • Position/movement dependent pain, tingling or numbness in the neck, shoulders, upper back, arm, hand or fingers (when the roots of cervical spinal nerves are compressed)
  • Stumbling gait, difficulty with fine hand moves, tingling in the body or legs (when the cervical spinal cord is compressed)

Symptoms can appear immediately after the injury, or develop slowly over the weeks or months. Diagnosis is made by a CT or MRI of the neck spine. Therapy includes immobilization, cold therapy followed by heat therapy, cervical traction, analgesics, muscle relaxants, physical therapy or surgical decompression of the nerve roots or spinal cord.

Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is an age-related deformation of the cervical spine; deformed vertebra or discs can press upon the spinal cord or nerve roots in the neck and cause chronic symptoms, like in the cervical disc syndrome (see above).


Disorders of the Brachial Plexus

The brachial plexus is formed by the cervical nerves C5-C8 and thoracic nerve Th1. The plexus extends from the lower part of the neck to the armpit. From brachial plexus all main nerves to the arm (axillary, musculocutaneus, ulnar, radial, and median nerve) arise.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

Most of brachial plexus injuries usually occur in car, motorcycle and sport accidents, during birth, or in bullet or knife injuries. Symptoms and prognosis depend on the nerves involved and extent of an injury: nerve stretching, scar tissue (neuroma), partial or complete nerve rupture or tearing of the nerve from the spinal cord. A limp or paralyzed arm, severe pain and numbness, especially in the neck and shoulders, and weak arterial pulses in the arm are main symptoms.

Some brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment. Many children who are injured during birth improve or recover by 3 to 4 months of age. Treatment of brachial plexus injuries includes physical therapy and, if necessary, surgery.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet is the space between the collar bone (clavicle), first rib and corresponding ligaments through which nerves and vessels travel from the base of the neck toward the armpit. Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) results from a compression or extension of the subclavian artery or vein, or brachial plexus (nerves), commonly occurring in motorbike accidents, athletes, swimmers, weight lifters, etc. Symptoms include:

  • Muscle wasting at the base of the thumb, numbness, feeling of pins and needles, or pain in the shoulder, armpit, arm or hand (when nerves are compressed)
  • Pale, cool arm with weakened arterial pulse in the arm, numbness and pain (when vessels are compressed)

Radiation-Induced Brachial Plexopathy

Radiation-induced damage of the brachial plexus can follow radiotherapy of the chest, axillary region, thoracic outlet or neck. Symptoms may appear months to years after radiation therapy and include numbness, swelling, weakness or pain in the arm.

Broken Shoulder Blade

Shoulder blade (scapula) is the bone in the upper back that connects the collar bone (clavicle) and arm bone (humerus). Broken shoulder blade, usually from a car or motorbike accident, can result in pain,  swelling, bruising or deformation of the shoulder blade area, and weakness, numbness or tingling in the shoulder or arm.

Broken Arm, Wrist, Hand or Finger

Symptoms of broken arm (the arm bone – humerus, elbow, and bones of the forearm – radius and ulna) include:

  • Severe pain increasing with arm movement
  • Obvious deformity, swelling, tenderness and bruising over the site of bone fracture
  • Stiffness or inability to move your arm, hand or finger
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling in the arm, hand or fingers

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome or Ulnar Neuropathy

The ulnar nerve arises from the brachial plexus in the neck and travels under the collar bone, downside along the inner side of the upper arm, behind the inner part of the elbow (Latin cubitus), where it can be felt as a “funny bone” and then down to the wrist, hand and little and ring finger. Ulnar nerve entrapment usually results from an elbow injury or constant pressure upon the elbow, like in cyclists or typists.  Symptoms, known as cubital tunnel syndrome, include:

  • Pain on the inner side of the elbow or electric shock sensation after touching the elbow
  • The hand, ring and little finger are numb and falling asleep, especially after bending the elbow
  • Limited movements of the ring and little finger (“handlebar palsy” in cyclists)
  • Hand (on the little finger side) sensitivity to cold

Prevention of ulnar nerve entrapment is by avoiding excessive elbow use. Treatment includes special arm exercises, anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, and wearing an elbow splint.


Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of an uncertain cause affecting the nerve tissue of the spinal cord, brainstem or brain. Symptoms can appear suddenly or gradually, “travel” among various body parts and include: numbness or tingling in one or both arms (or any other body part), blurred or double vision or blindness, weak or paralysed limbs, problems with urinating or defecating, difficulty maintaining balance, tiredness, etc. Symptoms can last from few weeks to several months, disappear completely and appear again, and, in general, worsen with time.

Diagnosis is with MRI of the brain and spinal cord, and examination of cerebrospinal fluid obtained by lumbar punction. Apart from treating symptoms, there is no treatment for multiple sclerosis at the time.


Acute brachial neuritis is a rare, supposedly autoimmune inflammation of brachial plexus, occurring at any age, but primarily in young men. Symptoms include severe pain in the upper arms and shoulders, followed by numbness and weak reflexes; the disorder resolves in few months on its own.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal tunnel syndrome (Latin carpus = wrist) is a painful condition of the wrist, hand and fingers, caused by repetitive use of the wrist, or swelling of the tissues in the wrist, resulting in a pressure upon the median nerve. CTS is a common problem in assembly line workers, computer workers, musicians, mechanics, tennis players, etc. Bone spurs in rheumatoid arthritis, or fluid in hypothyroidism, kidney disease or menopause may also press on the median nerve. Symptoms usually start gradually and include:

  • Tingling or numbness in the  thumb, index, middle and ring finger and related part of the hand
  • Pain in the wrist, palm or forearm
  • Difficulty grasping small objects or gripping
  • Hand pain at night

Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion cyst (Greek ganglion = tumor, cyst = fluid filled sac) is a soft lump, usually appearing on the back of the hand in some people between 20-40 years of age. It is a noncancerous fluid filled sack arising from the tendon sheets or capsule of the joint from an unknown reason. Ganglion cysts may not be always seen from the outside. Gymnasts often have them. Symptoms include:

  • A soft lump or lumps of various size (may exceed an inch), on the back of the hand, inner side of the wrist, base of the finger, or on the last finger joint.
  • Pain or numbness in the wrist, hand or finger(s)


Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a painful finger condition due to spasms in the finger arteries. Disease may also affect toes or, rarely, nose, ears, lips and nipples. The cause is not known. Symptoms are triggered by cold (even short term cold like taking something from a freezer) or strong emotions, and appear in the following sequence:

  • Fingers (one, more or all in one or both hands) become pale, numb or cold due to lack of blood flow, then bluish due to a lack of oxygen, then red, with throbbing pain and tingling as blood returns to the affected area.
  • Attacks can occur daily, weekly or occasionally and can last from less than a minute to several hours, usually about 15 minutes. Different areas can be affected at different times. Severe, although rare, attacks can result in finger sores or tissue death (gangrene).

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a term used for the same finger symptoms as in Raynaud’s disease, when the cause is known. Causes include: connective tissue diseases, like scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren’s syndrome, dermatomyositis, and polymyositis, carpal tunnel syndrome, obstructive arterial disease, anti-hypertensive drugs, ergotamine (used for treating migraine), chemotherapeutic medications, etc.

In workers exposed to vinyl chloride, using vibrating tools, typists and pianists, Raynaud’s phenomenon also commonly occurs.


History of arm numbness. Knowing an exact time course of tingling or numbness, and eventual arm weakness, head or legs involvement, history of arm or neck injuries, repetitive elbow or wrist use, reactions to cold, hypothyroidism, diabetes, menopause may give a strong evidence about the cause.

Neurological examination. Testing of sensitivity of a particular arm dermatome can reveal which nerves are involved.

Imaging. X-ray may reveal arthritis in the neck spine, or a broken arm bone. Myelography can reveal herniated disc or narrowed spinal canal. MRI and CT show soft tissues like tumors.

Electromiography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies can show the nature of the nerve damage. Together with imaging they are important to evaluate the extent of brachial plexus injury.

Blood tests can reveal diabetes, abnormalities in serum levels of sugar (diabetes), calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, vitamins B6 or B12, thyroxine (hypothyroidism), sex hormones (menopause).

Cold simulation test can reveal Raynaud’s disease or phenomenon.


Firstly, the cause of numbness should be treated if possible.

Non-steroid anti-rheumatic drugs like ibuprofen, or antidepressants, may relieve pain and numbness.

Rest and immobilization of the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or the whole arm is sometimes necessary after an injury, or when joint movements contribute to nerve irritation, like in ulnar nerve entrapment or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Physical therapy may help when bones, articles and muscle tendons are involved. Physiotherapist may show you special exercises for each type of nerve disorder.

Effect of acupuncture, acupressure, TENS (Trans Cutaneous Nerve Stimulation) may be debatable. Certain ointments like capsaicin may temporarily relieve tingling, burning sensations.


The following may help to prevent arm and hand numbness:

  • Avoid putting the arm over the chair back to prevent permanent injury of brachial plexus
  • Avoid sleeping with the hand under the head, or with arms on the pillow
  • Avoid using mechanical screwdrivers
  • Do not rest your elbows on the desk for long periods of time, while working with a computer
  • Wear warm gloves at low temperatures

Related Articles:


  1. Brachial plexus  (
  2. Anatomy of the arm  (
About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
Health writer

Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. By using this website and the comment service you agree to abide by the comment terms and conditions as outlined on this page

  • Jan Modric


    I’m not sure if costochondritis can “spread” to ward the arm. It’s possible you (additionally) have some disorder of the supraspinatus tendon in the shoulder.

  • clina

    I combined carrot, spinach, onion, celery to make a detox juice. Upon drinking, I noticed my face itched so badly. Then, hives appeared on my neck and redness and rash on my chest and shoulders. A couple of days later, I had a celery curry soup. A few hours later, I had tingling on the center of my chest then spread throughout my chest, arms, shoulders,neck, face, and tightness on the jaw. Was seen @ the emergency room and Dr. ruled out cardiac. Saw my primary Dr. and I was told that all tests showed negative for cardiac. She concluded that it was an allergic reaction and that I must watch what I eat. No prescription was given but, a stress test was ordered (?). An acquaintance that I may have had an anaphalactic shock. What did I just experienced? Dr.s say it’s not cardiac, but one orders a stress test. Is there a name for this symptom? Thanks in advance!

  • Jan Modric


    what you have experienced sounds like an allergic reaction to one or more foods you have taken. It is a skin test performed by a allergist, which can show to which exact foods you are allergic. Anaphylactic shock is a severe form of an allergic reaction with difficulty breathing, pounding heart, dizziness, weakness and eventual fainting. If you have not experienced these symptoms, it is not likely you had an anaphylactic shock. Allergic reactions can be prevented by avoiding triggering foods. When the reaction occurs, OTC or prescribed antihistamines or steroids may reduce the reaction.

    Stress test can show if any heart symptoms (like chest pain) appear during certain extent of physical effort. What you had does not sound to be related with any heart disorder, so I recommend you to speak with your doctors about necessity of the stress test.

  • MsRody

    I already have been tested and know that I DO HAVE CARPAL TUNNEL in both arms. Mild to Moderate on the left and severe (surgery needed)on the right. It’s weird though…cuz my left hand is the one that gives me more probs!!! I have not had ANY feeling in my left pinky finger in months!! The left outter side of my left wrist has the same numbness to touch. This pain just seems like it’s just too much to be just carpal tunnel. I’m worried!!!

  • Jan Modric


    in a carpal tunnel syndrome usually the first three fingers (thumb to middle) are affected. Pinky finger and the outer part of the hand can be affected in a cubital tunnel syndrome (overuse or a disorder of the elbow). Any part of the arm and hand can be affected in the disorders of the cervical spine, resulting in pinched nerves.

  • saffronv

    Hello, Im a 27 year old female and i have been experiencing tingling with no numbness in both of my hands all my fingers are affected and the best way i can describe the sensation is the feeling you get when your arm falls asleep and then starts waking up but they don’t get the falling asleep part just sudden pins and needles. It makes it very difficult to do even simple tasks that require my hands. It started about 2 months ago and has been happening more and more frequently usually about 3-4 times a week now and lasts for up to 3 hours. I have not had any recent surgeries or accidents the only health issue i have had is migraines since i was a teenager. Any advise would be appreciated. thank you.

  • Jan Modric


    I recommend you to visit a neurologist or orthopedist soon. One likely cause is a carpal tunnel syndrome (due to inflammation or overuse of the wrists, for example), or some other disorders. If you think the overuse of the wrists could be the cause, a wrist rest could help. You can also ask about carpal tunnel syndrome exercises.

  • Sonnie

    For about 2 weeks I have been having a tingling (like right before your arm/fingers fall asleep) in my lateral antebrachial cutan. and the tips of my proper palmar digital (skips over dorsal digital area) on my right side. This happens when I have my elbows bent at a 90 degree or more angle. It doesn’t matter if I’m resting it on something like a table or if it’s bent free in the air. It all goes away once I straighten my arm out again.

  • Jan Modric


    in a cubital tunnel syndrome, something (inflamed tendons, swelling, injury…) pressing upon the ulnar nerve (that runs behind the elbow) may cause pain/tingling in the lateral side of the forearm, hand and 4th and 5th finger.

  • Faraz

    I believe I have got none of the symtoms described above. Infact, physically and health wise, I believe I am and have always been in superb condition. However my hands start swating excessively at times for no reason at all .. even at times when i am fully relaxed and calm, it starts to swat. However, when I am carefully focusing on anything, such as giving interviews or examinations, it starts to swat/numb at a much greater rate. I am 26 right now (in perfect health) but have been facing such excessive numbness for almost 10 years or so. Would really like to have your advice.

  • Jan Modric


    you can ask the doctor who has some knowledge about excessive hand sweating under his article.

  • Dee

    I received a flu shot in my left deltoid on 10-02-10. Four days later, I awoke with a stiff neck on the left side and my left upper eyelid twitching off and on. The next day, it had moved to my left shoulder. The whole shoulder joint was achy, with pain going down to the elbow. Another week later, my index and middle fingers have a numbness and the left hand will get tingly at different times. Sometimes the muscles of my forearm feel like they are cramping up and I have to stretch it out. I have been to a general practioner physician and she’s just taking a wait and watch approach, but I’m wondering if I should go to a neuro or ortho. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you for your time :)

  • Jan Modric


    regarding the time that already passed, I would see a neurologist.

  • Annyingrid

    I have for the past couple of weeks started to feel a tingling sensation on mostly my legs, but also my arms before I go to bed (sometimes a tiny bit during the day too). It feels like a tiny bug is crawling on me. I have had some weight problems but lately managed to gain 10 pounds. Greatly appreciative for any information on this!!

  • Jan Modric


    have you ever had any problems with the spine, arthritis or any other chronic disorder? Do you take any medications and have you changed your diet lately?

  • olhao1971

    I have been taking Carbatrol ER 200mg at bedtime since 9/14/10. Shortly after starting the medication I started having really dry mouth and lips and a metal kind of taste in my mouth. I could not tolerate drinking sodas specially anything citrus flavor. That got better however over the last week both of my hands started to feel numb, pin and needle sensation and I started noticing changes in my vision like difficulty focusing on the computer which I use at work all day long. Wearing my glasses did not help. I am also feeling a kind of numbing pin and needle sensation on my tongue along with warm burning sensation. I called my doctor and he told me it could be from the Carbatrol to go ahead and take it every other day and see if it got better. It has now been 72 hours since I have taken any Carbatrol, left hand remains the same, and tongue sensation the same, eyesight better and right hand has resolved. If it’s from the medication when should I expect the symptoms to go away completely. Iam on the medication for mood disorder and not seizures. Unfortunately I seem to have weird kind of reactions to these medications. I did not want to stop it because I feel much better and I have lost 11 lbs since starting on it. I also have high blood pressure and Iam on Metropolol 50mg. I guess my questions is if you think this could be related to the meds or something else.

  • olhao1971

    My other questions is that Iam Western European and a carrier of the HLA-B27 gene, Iam wondering if this as any relation to the HLA-B1502 gene and if this could be the reason that I keep having adverse reaction to medications such as Lamictal, Lithium etc..If so sould I get tested? I was tested for this HLA-B27 because my mom was found to be a carrier.

  • Jan Modric


    if you check the Carbatrol information leaflet, you can find most of symptoms you’ve mentioned as possible side effects of the drug. I personally have a lot of doubts, if this drug will help you maintain good mood on the long term. If any of side effects persist, I would not recommend you to take this drug. Some of your symptoms (weight loss, blurred vision, pins and needles…) could be from dehydration also possibly caused by Carbatrol or its combination with Metroprolol.

    It’s possible you have some genetic predisposition to react on various drugs. I’m not sure if HLA-B27 is commonly related to HLA-B1502, anyway, it’s possible you have both of them. And even if not, there could be some other (genetic) reason for overreaction to the drugs you’ve mentioned. Before eventual testing, it would be good to ask an appropriate specialist what exactly should be tested.

  • sidorak

    my arm has been going numb from time to time for the past 3 days. ive not had an injury to it and its beggining to worry me.

  • Jan Modric


    How old are you, man or woman? Do you have a sitting work or you lift heavy objects often? Have you recently had chest pain or any problems with the heart? Any pain in the neck or shoulders? Is your entire arm, and hand affected?

  • sidorak

    18 yrs old, male, unemployed and yes my left arm hurts from time to time.about a yea ago i went to hospital with pains in my chest and aparrently everything was fine i just had skeletalmusculur pains.

  • sidorak

    my whole arm and hand just go weak and i feel as if its not part of my body if tht makes sense

  • Jan Modric


    the arm and hand going weak and numb at random times could speak for something pressing upon a nerve(s) that innervate your arm. A spine (a bulging/herniated disc) and the part between the clavicle and the armpit are two common places where nerves can be compressed. Symptoms arising from the spine are often worse in the morning or after prolonged sitting or carrying heavy objects. If there was a problem with vessels, your arm or part of it would be likely swollen. In a brain problem symptoms would be likely more constant. If it is a part of “musculoskeletal pains” symptoms would be likely obviously related to trunk/arm movements.

    It’s important you find out eventual triggers or relievers of the symptoms, since this can narrow down the possible causes. A simple examination performed by a neurologist could reveal what’s going on.

  • nida

    I have been experiencing shoulder pain for few months now, after I had a muscular tear. after a few months rest I though it was better and started using it more, however now the pain is geting more constant whenever I move it ever the slaties movement. Heat helps with the pain. Im not sure what to do to get my shoulder back to normal.

  • Jan Modric


    an orthopedist should be able to find out what’s wrong and what to do.

  • Jay

    My father is 70, has been a diabetic patient for almost 10yrs but under very good control. For the last 6 months he has been complaining about a slight swelling in the left cheek and he says the swelling started spreading from the left upper chest area to arm pits to collar bone to left side of the neck and now to left cheek. He also suffers from spondylitis and hypo thryodism. We have been to couple of neurologists they said no problems there. My father got CT scan for the neck that didn’t show any problems. He was prescribed to take carbamazepine which gives temporary relief. My father is concerned about the spreading (light)swelling may be to brain. We are also not sure where to go. Any guidance or help is greatly appreciated.

  • Jan Modric


    is it visible swelling or just a sense of swelling? Swelling could be due to an obstruction of the vein that drains blood from the affected areas (from the inside of the vein, like from thrombosis, or compressed from the outside by the clavicle or enlarged thyroid gland or lymph nodes or tumor in the chest). I’m talking about the veins in the upper chest (and the area around them), and it’s possible these veins were not included in a CT of the neck. A specialist that deals with vessels should be able to tell more. Before continuing with further investigations, the doctor should check the existing CT and tell if eventual enlarged thyroid can be excluded as a possible cause.

  • Jay

    Thank you very much and i really appreciate the timely response. My father said the swelling is not really visible from outside but he feels it and Dr’s said it wass minor. We will go back and ask for information from the Dr and will try to find a blood vessels specialist.

  • Jan Modric


    if it is a real swelling, it can be caused by a compression of a vein or a lymphatic vessel that drain blood and lymph from the affected area. It is not necessary that a vein or lymph vessel themselves are affected, but there could be something pressing upon them, for example, eventually enlarged thyroid or inflammation of tissues near the clavicle. So your doctor may know better which exact specialist would be appropriate.

  • Felicia

    My fingers go numb with a variety of things; holding the phone while talking, holding a book to read, braiding hair and driving a stick shift truck. Should I be concerned or just keep switching hands to relieve the numbness?

  • Jan Modric


    this sounds like a carpal tunnel syndrome, where nerves that supply the fingers are compressed in the wrist. Common causes are repeated wrist use, arthritis, hypothyroidism, injury. Wrist rest or treatment of the underlying cause may help. I recommend you to try to find the cause and treat it to prevent permanent damage of the nerves.

  • Simon

    Hi, so glad I found this site and I am really hoping you might be able to help. About 7 weeks ago I woke with tingling left hand and elbow (ulnar nerve/funny bone). It persisted on and off for a few weeks with all fingers in my hand affected and tingling or going numb at times. 3 weeks ago my right arm has now also become affected, same sensations of pins and needles in all fingers that comes and goes.

    In the last week I have been feeling discomfort under the bicep where it meets the armpit in both arms with the discomfort and tingling shooting down my arm to elbow and also forearm and continued tingling fingers.

    I cannot understand what is causing this however I was thinking back to the night before I first experienced the left arm problem. I was at a bar that evening and this particular bar had an assistant in the mens room who massaged you as you are washing your hands. This guy grabbed my head and twisted it forcefully left and then right (it really cracked loud) in a similar fashion to how you see people break peoples necks in movies.

    I am just wondering is it possible this might have caused some nerve damage in my neck leading to these nerve symptoms ? Occasionally I have also had shooting tingling from buttocks down to my feet. Hope you can help, thanks.

  • Simon

    I forgot to mention some details about myself.. 35 year old male in otherwise good health. Have experienced headaches, tense neck/shoulders and occasional days of feeling ‘spaced out’ or drunk (without drinking) also during this time.

  • Jay

    sorry i didn’t see your last response. My has made appointments. I will update you soon.
    It is really great of you. You take the time to answer the questions on this topic.

  • Jan Modric


    I recommend you to see a neurologist. It’s possible that the head/neck manipulation has caused or worsened some preexisting disorder in your cervical spine, such as a bulging or herniated disc or spinal arthritis resulting in pinched spinal nerves. This would explain symptoms in your neck, shoulders and arms, and possibly headache. The same kind of damage could (from some reason) occur in your lumbar spine thus causing symptoms from the buttocks to feet (sciatic pain). The spaced out feeling could theoretically arise from deranged brain blood perfusion due to a compressed vertebral or basilar arteries that run in the upper neck and supply the blood for one part of the brain. Such a feeling would be likely triggered or worsened by tilting or turning the head toward the left or right.

    Please, visit a neurologist. You can expect the doctor will recommend a CT or MRI of the neck.

  • Izzy


    I have a minor surgery today to remove a plate and 5 screws from my ankle. Was feeling nausea post-op. So they gave me some anti nausea through IV. Now that I am discharged and resting at home. I have a feeling of numbeness in both my arm. Is there something I should be worried about?


  • Jan Modric


    numbness in the arms, but not in legs (?) could arise from eventual pre-existing disorder in your neck spine (bulging/herniated disc, spinal arthritis..) aggravated by (I guess) spending more time in bed as usual…Numbness could also originate from eventual low blood pressure after operation, or side effect of either anesthetic injection (?) or the drug for nausea (should be mentioned in the medication information leaflet). With usual meals and drinking enough water (just to prevent dehydration) and with effects of the IV drug weaning off you might feel better. If any other symptoms, like swelling, appear, call the doctor.

  • anand


    I have a problem in sleeping habit, i keep my either left or right hand under my head while sleeping, which i am finding it difficult to avoid. this is causing severe pain in fingers. How to over this. Thanks in advance

  • Jan Modric


    I don’t know. Maybe you can try to get a smaller pillow and put hands besides it, not under the head.

  • Claire

    I’m twenty three years old and have been experiencing pain and numbness in my right arm for over a year now. It started in my lowar arm, and has spread up to my shoulder and neck. I’m a self-employed artist/ painter, and it all started after stretching canvases last year. I’ve been undergoing physio-therapy since April, doing excersises for an hour every morning, getting acupuncture and ultrasound treatment, and although my symptoms occasionally alleviate, they always come back worse than ever. I’ve also undergone intensive massage, but this hasn’t helped either. I haven’t painted for two months now. I tried painting with my left hand for a few days last week (only for an hour or two a day – and my work day until all this started consisted of 7 hours a day) – and now my left hand is numb and sore too. Even writing an email means I’m in pain and discomfort often for days afterwards. I’m on the waiting list on the nhs to see an orthepedic specialist, but I’ve been told it could take up to four months before I see them. Do you have any advice about what to do until then?

  • Jan Modric


    it’s possible that symptoms in your both arms arise from a cervical spine disorder, like a bulging or herniated disc or spinal arthritis. It is a neurologist or orthopedist who can confirm diagnosis by ordering a CT or MRI of the neck spine. Avoiding prolonged sitting, carrying heavy objects and lifting or other prolonged use of the arms may help. You can also try to use a shallow pillow at night. Other than that, I don’t know – spinal disorders can be often successfully treated with a surgery.

  • Claire

    Thanks Jan,

    I really appreciate your advice, thanks for getting back to me.


  • anand

    thanks jan, for ur advice, some how now i am able to avoid keeping my palm(specially my finger would be under more pressure)under my pillow. But the pain in my index lower joint(close to palm) towards facing the palm is still there(it is bit severe when i especially bend it down towards the palm) & all other joints are also in pain but very less, past few days, i am getting pain even in my foot joints. what could be the reason for this.
    i dont have sugar(but i had checked 6 months back), i am 40 yrs old.
    thanks again in advance for ur kind response

  • Jan Modric


    pain in several joints in fingers and feet could be from arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis or other type of arthritis). In arthritis, you would probably notice some joint stiffness, swelling or even redness. I recommend you to visit a rheumatologist or orthopedist.

  • Raghavendra kumar

    I feel numbness in my arms and near the shoulder position. Normally i drive alot and carry a bag will this result in some serious disease.

  • Dr. Chris

    Hi Raghavendra

    No this should not result in any serious disease unless there is some other underlying condition that you may have or may be at the risk of developing. This could be related to muscle strain (neck and shoulder) and could also be inflammation of the shoulder muscle tendons. It is common in students who carry heavy bags. Nevertheless you should get it checked up by a doctor to exclude other underlying problems or involvement of the shoulder joint.

  • Tara

    About 3 days ago I started having some neck/shoulder pain near the base of my left neck side. It has since spread down my entire arm and hurts most at the shoulder, elbow and last two digits of my left hand. It seems to hurt less with heat pad on shoulder but more at night. i assumed just muscular but continues to cause pain and I’m having trouble sleeping. I do not have insurance. Will this get better with time or should I see a doctor? If they can’t do anything for me I’d rather not waste the money I don’t have. Any ideas? At first I assumed I’d kinked my neck but now it hurts to do almost anything with my left shoulder/hand. Advice? And thank you.

  • Dr. Chris

    Hi Tara

    It is likely to be muscular from what you describe as this is the more common cause of neck/shoulder pain. Spasm can ultimately cause the vertebral column to “shift” in a manner that impinges on the nerve giving the symptoms you are experiencing as well as irritating the nerve along its course. This may explain some of yoru other symptoms. However it is worth having it assessed by your doctor and possibly seeing a physical therapist for treatment to ease the muscle spasm (if it is muscular). Avoid massaging and so on as you can aggravate the condition further. Neck exercises, as prescribed by your physical therapist, will help to prevent further recurrences after treatment.

  • Paree


    I am 31 year old male and have a computer based job of 7-8hours a day. I have been suffering from neck and shoulder pain on my right side for over a week now. I am unsure how I got it in the first place but it may be due to some jerk in the neck or improper sleeping posture.

    The pain was intense in the beginning but was gone in 2days leaving only stiffness behind. However I feel its affecting my right arm/hand movement a great deal as I am not able to move arm freely.

    The biggest worry is I am feeling the weakness in palm and fingers. As a result I am not able to grip or hold or lift anything heavy(like a half full kettle). Another example, I can lift the tennis racket easily but not able to hit a shot with any power at all.

    Please could you advice what exactly I need to do.

    Many Thanks.