Tingling and numbness from elbow to tips of fingers especially thumb and pointer

Thumb and pointer finger

Thumb and pointer finger

2 months ago I had a lot of pain in the right shoulder that went into my arm. I had one massage thinking if I could relax the muscles it might relieve the pressure on my nerve. I thought I had a pinched nerve in my shoulder.

Then we went on vacation and I found it very difficult sitting on a plane as my shoulder pain got quite severe. Then the pain, tingling and numbness moved into my hand, for a while it felt like the whole hand. In Mexico I picked up a box of prednisone tabs and after one 20mg tablet the pain lessened to a point where I could sleep and enjoy our cruise. I took 10 mg of prednisone the next two days and after that I had only tingling and numbness in my arm from the elbow down to the tip of my thumb and pointer finger.

Now at times I have it in my whole hand as well as my little finger. I have rheumatoid arthritis so am not sure this has something to do with that as well. The tingling and numbness gets severe enough that when I try to pick something up I nearly drop it. It does lessen when I put my arm up. Not sure what to do about this.

You make no mention of neck pain. Does turning your head to the right, and then simultaneously looking up provoke anything? This is called Spurling's sign; you can find out more by using the site search function at Chiropractic Help.

The thumb and pointer belong very specifically to the C6 nerve root, so there's a great likelihood this is coming from your neck. This is confirmed by the fact that putting your arm up relieves the pain; the 'shoulder abduction relief' sign. This is not likely to be primarily a shoulder problem.

However, if you have no neck pain and Spurling's test is negative, and because it seems to affect your whole hand, I'd also be looking at a 'thoracic outlet syndrome', but this is less likely.

This is where the rheumatoid arthritis comes in; generalised inflammation and swelling. It's an autoimmune disease that calls for a radical change of diet; my recommendation is you become a health food junkie because RA can be a crippling illness.

In particular look up the meaning of resistant starch and retrogradation of starch; this is vitally important as carbs then reach the colon instead of being digested producing glucose.

In the colon they instead are fermented forming healthy short chain fatty acids like butyrate that are strongly anti inflammatory.

Start getting used to the idea that refined carbohydrate, white rice, russet potatoes, anything but 100% wholemeal bread, are killers for you; they will and already are crippling your body. I'm making assumptions and if I'm totally off beam, my apologies.

It's hard making such a radical change in diet; but just consider the alternative. Pain, lots of it, and worse disability.

I would get an x-ray of your neck, including oblique views. Let me know what they show.

Dr B




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  2. Tingling in arms and hands
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  4. Tingling and numbness from elbow to tips of fingers especially thumb and pointer

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