numbness, pain and tingling in hands and arms

by Sam
(New Zealand)

Hi there,

I have just been in the emergency department for the last 8 hours with what started as tingling in my fingers; more so my middle fingers than any other, which then in turn increasingly caused my fingers and then my hands up to my wrists to become numb in the last four days.

Two weeks ago, I presented at the doctor with slight tingling in my fingers; more so my left than right. This tingling seemed to disappear.

However, three nights ago, the pain increased and throughout this time until now, got progressively worse. At this point of typing, I am considering going back into A&E and admitting due to the immense amount of pain I am in. This pain and numbness is worse in my left hand and feels as though it is moving down my ribs into my left leg also. The emergency doctors at this point do not know what is the cause of this.

The pain is more so in my middle finger and the finger next to my pinkie. Movement increases the pain as well as it getting worse throughout the night. Pain relief does unfortunately not relieve the pain, however warmth does ever so slightly from using a hot water bottle. I also had a neck xray which showed nothing, except a slightly angled vertebrae which looked normal. When raising my arms, this increases the tingling/electric shock feeling.

Would like to hear your opinion on this matter if you have enough information


Hello Sam,
Does it go into the pinkie? I need a yes no answer. If the answer is no, then top of the list would be a carpal tunnel syndrome. It's a so called double crush syndrome, where the median nerve is affected in various places along its course. It's often bilateral and worse at night. Look it up at C-H using the Site Search function.

The fact that raising your arms increases the tingling points strongly to a thoracic outlet syndrome. Both the artery to your arm and the nerve plexus is affecting giving a mixture of nerve and and too little blood symptoms. Less likely bilaterally. You could try doing Adson's test, but it's difficult.

I take it you have no neck pain, and turning your head doesn't provoke the tingling.

I too can't answer why it's going into your leg. Into the ribs is not uncommon as the C5 nerve supplies the rhomboid muscles between the shoulder blade.

I'm guessing you are not over 60. Cervical spinal stenosis can cause the pain to go into the leg.

Time to demand a consult with a neurologist in my opinion.

Dr B

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