Tingling and numbness in arms & fingers but not in thumbs

by Carol
(Ireland)

The little finger is always excluded in carpal tunnel.

The little finger is always excluded in carpal tunnel.

Tingling and numbness in arms & fingers but not in thumbs is never carpal tunnel syndrome.

HI. I was in a rear ending accident 6 months ago. I have had ongoing discomfort in a V shape to my upper back, ache in my shoulders, chest, arms, neck, headache, have developed really bad vertigo which has been an absolute nightmare. I am taking diclac for inflammation, serc for dizziness, and non stop paracetamol for headaches.

I attended my GP yesterday, upset, fed up & generally down in the dumps with all that is going on. Anyway he more or less told me that the numbness & pins and needles in my fingers and hands, arms etc... are not to do with whiplash ( after telling me last week that it was)he did an examination of bending my wrists back & forward & then turning my neck left& right and as I didn't bolt up out of my seat that it's not a nerve trapped behind the trapeze muscle etc...

I really feel that it is to do with the whiplash, but he is saying it's probably carpal tunnel syndrome.

Can carpal tunnel develop from a whiplash injury. I have shooting pain & pins & needles up & down my arms into mainly my little finger & finger beside it, but also at times in all fingers but never my thumbs.


I would really appreciate your suggestion / diagnosis & advice.

Hello Carol,
It's not for me to make a diagnosis, but clearly the accident has shaken you up. That's not uncommon. Most MVAs leave their mark on folk.

I'm afraid your GP's neurology was not one of his strong subjects in school. Carpal tunnel always includes the thumb, and never affects the pinkie. You don't have CTS.

There are two areas that are commonly affected in whiplash. One is in the upper neck causing headaches and the other at the junction between the neck and thoracic spine; that causes tingling and pain in the arms.

The fact that you are getting all this after six months means it must be taken seriously, or research shows you'll have this for the rest of your life. What route you choose is your decision.

If I was you, I'd take your husband with you, and demand to see a neurologist just for an examination and confirmation that you're not making this all up. He'll probably take some xrays of your neck, perhaps a scan. See if he'll include an "open mouth".

Research shows the treatment of choice in the first instance for vertigo is not medication, not chiropractic but the Epley manoeuvres. Ask the neurologist about them. You're right, it's horrible. If you have a positive "Hallpark Dix" test, then it will certainly respond to the Epleys.

The moment the vertigo starts ask your husband to look at your pupils and see if they are darting about; that's nystagmus, the classic sign of "benign positional paroxysmal vertigo" and the Epley's fix it. There's quite a lot of pages at chiropractic help on the subject. See the navigation bar under general health.

One small caution; chiropractic adjustments of the upper neck is probably the treatment of choice for your upper neck headaches, but it may upset the vertigo apple cart. Personally, as a chiropractor, I tread very carefully in the upper neck when a patient has vertigo. Oddly though, it's sometimes the very treatment that will help.

You're not going crazy, Carol. This is what whiplash does to you. If the accident wasn't your fault, I'd consider a legal opinion too. This accident is going to cost you a lot of money.

Good luck, and I hope this contributes.

Dr B



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